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2008 Alaska Park Science Symposium in conjunction with
Beringia Days 2008 International Conference


Poster and Presentation Abstracts for the 2008 Alaska Park Science Symposium

10/14/08 - 10/16/08

Abstracts are listed in alphabetical order by first author's last name. Presenters are listed in parentheses if they are other than the first author.

List of Abstracts

Long-Term Monitoring of Vegetation Change Following Tundra Fires in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska

Jennifer L. Allen1, Charles Racine2, John Dennis3
1National Park Service - Alaska Region, Fire Management, 4175 Geist Rd, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0652, Fax 907-455-0601,
2219 E. King St, Edenton, NC, 27932, USA, Phone 252-482-0244,
3National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W (3130), Washington, DC, 20240, USA, Phone 202-513-7174

Fire is an important driver of change at the local and landscape levels in the tundra ecosystems of Noatak National Preserve. In July 2005, with support from the National Park Service Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring program, we relocated and remeasured fire plots established in 1981–82 at eight sites in Noatak National Preserve to evaluate the long-term (25 to 30 years) effects of tundra wildfire on vegetation and permafrost. At all four 1977 and one 1982 burned site (but not the 1972 burn) there has been an increase in vascular plant cover during the past 23 years from 1981–82 to 2005. This increase was mostly due to increases in shrub cover by as much as 65% on a shrub tundra site and 15 to 30% in tussock-shrub tundra. The shrub species involved in this increase were mostly deciduous shrubs of birch and willow. Grass and forb (mainly fireweed) cover has declined or disappeared. At two lightly burned shrub tundra sites there has been a net decrease in the number of forb species (from 21–24 species in 1981 to 14 species in 2005) during the past 24 years. Thaw depths in 2005 were similar to those measured in 1981–82 except for a site burned in 1972 and possibly again in 1984.
This analysis of change from 1981 to 2005 following tundra fire has occurred during a remarkable period of warming in the North American Arctic, with evidence for the expansion of shrubs in tundra similar to that observed at our sites. It is difficult to partition the effects of fire from the effects of climate warming because they are linked and both can result in warmer soils and associated nutrient increase.

Facilitating Science and Education in Arctic Parks: Murie Science and Learning Center

Christie D. Anastasia1
1National Park Service, Murie Science and Learning Center, PO Box 9, Denali National Park, AK, 99755, USA, Phone 907-683-6440,

The Murie Science and Learning Center has a mission of providing research, discovery, and learning opportunities within northern National Parks to promote appreciation and caring for our national and cultural heritage.

Managing Degraded OHV Trails in the Arctic Parklands

Blain C. Anderson1, Kevin G. Meyer2
1National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, 240 W. 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-644-3577,
2National Park Service, 240 W. 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-644-3575,

Alaska's National Parklands in the arctic have struggled for decades with Off-Highway-Vehicle (OHV) use for subsistence and recreational use. The ubiquitous and all-terrain characteristics of these vehicles challenge managers tasked with limiting resource degradation but also allowing legal use for access to subsistence resources. The National Park Service has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of OHV trails across the parks and has described the physical impact of vehicle use on over 540 miles of trails state-wide. These Condition Assessments are a tool for identifying impacted areas and trail degradation, but are also being applied to guide NEPA decision-making, as parks seek management alternatives to closing motorized access. Additionally, recent research into appropriate trail improvement techniques for OHVs in the arctic environment, have been applied in and around communities adjoining NPS lands, and show great promise for reducing environmental degradation while allowing traditional motorized access.

Cultural Vulnerability and Resilience in the Arctic: Preliminary Report on Archaeological Fieldwork at Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Northwest Alaska

Shelby L. Anderson1, Adam Freeburg2, Ben Fitzhugh3
1Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Box 353100, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA, Phone 206-619-1899,
2Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Box 353100, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA
3Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Box 353100, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA

The University of Washington and the National Park Service are currently engaged in a multi-year research project at Cape Krusenstern in Northwest Alaska. The broad goals of this interdisciplinary project are to refine our understanding of human and environmental dynamics over the last 4,000+ years of human occupation at Cape Krusenstern, building on the pioneering work of J.L. Giddings and D. Anderson who worked at the Cape in the late 1950s and 60s. In this talk, we will compare archival data with newly collected dates and information on settlement density and distribution at Cape Krusenstern. We will outline the current state of knowledge of archaeology at the Cape in the context of previous work and highlight areas of potential for significantly refining our understanding of this archaeological complex and its significance to western arctic prehistory.

Public Outreach: Using Interpretation and Technology to Reach Further

Nichole Andler1
1National Park Service, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, PO Box 220, Nome, AK, 99762, USA, Phone 907-443-6116, Fax 907-443-6139,

The American public is fascinated by their National Parks, the scenic grandeur, the dynamic histories, wildlife, water, recreation and the list goes on and on. This fascination is fed by education and interpretation and education and interpretation are fed by research.
Working together researchers and interpreters can increase our audiences through the use of technology. Weather stations, podcasts, short films, public service announcements and other technology provide an avenue to those audiences. These technologies are being used by the public in all age groups and opens up the arctic parks to a worldwide audience. Charismatic wildlife like grizzlies, muskox, Dall sheep, and others are of great interest to the American public. They are literally interested in the health and well-being of these animals. They want to know how healthy their oceans are. They are interested in how climate change is impacting the Arctic and more importantly their National Park lands.
Researchers and interpreters can easily work together to determine the methods that work best for each park site. It may be audio and video captured in the field while the work is happening, a question and answer session with students in schools via video conference or working on materials to include in a podcast or PowerPoint to be made available on-line.
Technology is a popular new way of reaching out and letting people into the remote and wild parks of the Arctic, generating a passionate audience of park stewards and potential future researchers and interpreters.

Investigating the validity of the Angayukaksurak charr (Salvelinus anaktuvukensis)

Scott D. Ayers1
1School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757220, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7220, USA, Phone 907-474-2486,

Originally described in 1973, the Angayukaksurak charr (Salvelinus anaktuvukensis), or 'old man charr' is the only described species that is endemic to Alaska and has received mixed reviews as to its status as a species. The relatively small range of the old man charr is restricted to the central Brooks Range of Alaska, about half of which lies within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The purpose of this graduate project was to seek clarification of validity for species designation for this dwarf, freshwater resident salmonid. Molecular (mitochondrial and microsatellite) methodologies were employed to examine placement of these fish within the genus Salvelinus. Meristic characters and morphometric measurements (geometric morphometrics) were also employed to provide further information for this enquiry. This presentation will cover the most up-to-date information gleaned from this data.

Thermokarst Distribution in the Noatak Basin, Alaska: Increased Frequency and Correlations with Local and Regional Landscape Variables

Andrew Balser1, Breck Bowden2, Jeremy Jones3, Michael Gooseff4, Diane Sanzone5, Aurora Bouchier6, Tara Whitesell7, Kumi Rattenbury8
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1332 Virginia Ct. #1, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-947-7612,
2Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 304 George D. Alken Center, 81 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA, Phone 802-656-2513, Fax 802-656-8683,
3Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
4Pennsylvania State University, USA
5Environmental Studies Group, BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc., 900 East Benson Boulevard, Anchorage, AK, 99519-6612, USA, Phone 907-564-4857
6Department of Geology and Geologic Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, USA
7National Park Service, USA
8National Park Service, USA

In arctic regions, climate warming is leading to permafrost melting and wide-scale ecosystem alteration. A prominent pathway of permafrost loss is through thermokarst processes, which includes the catastrophic loss of soil structure and rapid subsidence. Regional-scale distribution of thermokarst features is poorly documented throughout the Arctic, and correlations with landscape variables are not well understood. The Noatak Basin in northwestern Alaska's Brooks Range mountains harbors a transitional landscape from arctic and alpine tundra to boreal forest within a 7,000,000 acre watershed. Field investigations augmented by photogrammetric measurements from 2005 to 2007 revealed patterns in the distribution of classifiable thermokarst failure types in the Noatak Basin, and provided data on the physical and chemical impacts these features have on aquatic systems. Distinct thermokarst classes show significant relationships with local site variables such as slope and vegetation, and with regional variables including lithology, glacial geology and landcover. Frequency of thermokarst features has increased markedly in several core study areas in the Noatak Basin within the past 30 years. Analysis of current and historical aerial photographs shows two to three fold increases in number of features present, and in total surface area of landscape affected. The core study areas are spread along a gradient from the upper to lower Noatak Basin covering a number of major land cover types. The majority of these features occur in headwaters of Noatak tributaries and can have marked impacts on small headwater streams, which have less capacity to buffer the effects of disturbance. These studies show that thermokarst processes and effects, especially in headwater regions, have been vastly under-reported in the Noatak Basin. These findings suggest that similar phenomena may be under-reported in other permafrost regions as well, due in part to the logistical difficulty of conducting quantitative surveys in remote areas with rugged topography.

Timing of Birth and the Allocation of Body Protein to Calves in Arctic Caribou and Reindeer

Perry S. Barboza1
1Inst. Arctic Biology, Dept. Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA, Phone 907-474-7142, Fax 907-474-6967,

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and caribou (R.t. granti) use body stores (capital) and food intake (income) for survival and reproduction. Intakes of low-nitrogen (N) food declined in winter and increased in spring (51 to 83 g DM•kg-0.75•d-1). Reindeer calved before regaining food intake whereas caribou calved 28 days later. Body N was conserved by minimizing oxidization of amino acid N to urea. Maternal protein stored from early winter was used for 96% of fetal growth in reindeer but only 84% of fetal growth in later-birthing caribou. Both subspecies rely on maternal body protein for 91% of the protein deposited in the neonate via milk over the first 4 weeks. All females lost body protein over winter, but lactating females continued to lose protein while nonreproductive females regained protein. Net costs of lactation above maintenance were greater for N (110-130%) than for energy (40-59%). Large fat stores in reindeer spare body protein from oxidation in winter, whereas less fat with the same body protein favors migration in caribou when food is inadequate. The resilience of Rangifer populations to variable patterns of food supply and metabolic demand may be related to their ability to alter the timing and allocation of body protein to reproduction.

The Lost Fleets of the Western Arctic: Preserving a Significant Element of the Maritime and Cultural Heritage of Alaska and the United States

Bradley W. Barr1
1Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, c/o USGS, 384 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USA, Phone 240-460-5012,

In 1848, Yankee whalers first entered the Chukchi Sea. The ensuing 66 years of commercial whaling in the western Arctic had a profound impact on the history and culture of the Beringia region, its resources, and its people. In this period, more than 160 whaling ships were lost. The stories from these cruises are compelling, filled with tales of danger, heroism, sacrifice, and loss so common in arctic adventures, and of such interest to a broad audience of the American public. These are highlighted by: the exploits of the Confederate Sea Raider Shenandoah, seizing 24 and burning 22 whalers in the Bering Strait months after the Civil War had been lost; the 32 whalers sunk by the ice and more than 1200 crew stranded in the Disaster of 1871, where all survived; the dozen whaling ships lost in the same location five years later, with more dire consequences; and the events of 1897-98 that compelled the U.S. Government to drive more than 400 reindeer more than 700 miles through the deep arctic winter in an attempt to bring food to whaling crews stranded in Barrow. Few if any of these shipwrecks of the Lost Fleets of the Western Arctic have even been explored, despite a rather richly documented history of this era. The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has initiated a project to search for and document what remains of the Lost Fleets. The re-telling of these stories is intended to not only engage and inform the public about this very significant place and time in the maritime history of the nation, but also of the people and cultures of the Beringia region whose lives we so profoundly changed by these events.

Previously Unrecognized Landforms Produced by Permafrost-Volcano Interactions, Arctic Alaska

James E. Beget1, Rick Wessels2
1Alaska Volcano Observatory, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-5780, USA, Phone 907-474-5301, Fax 907-474-5163,
2Alaska Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK, USA

Volcanic eruptions through permafrost in arctic Alaska have produced unique landforms that have not previously been recognized anywhere on earth. On the Seward Peninsula at ca. 66°N, a series of giant explosion craters known as the Espenberg Maars are as much as 10 km in diameter. These craters were produced by numerous explosions caused by cryo-magmatic interactions. The giant maars formed during eruptions at ca. 18 kyr, 70 kyr, and 150 kyr., and so are correlative with times of extremely cold climate and thick ground ice during marine isotope stages 2, 4, and 6.
At Imuruk Lake at ca. 65°N the Lost Jim lava flow advanced over permafrost only a few thousand years ago. The basaltic lava flow is bounded by unusually steep flow fronts and levees as much as 20 m high, covered with basaltic lava flow surfaces sloping as much as 60°. These "super-inflated" flow margins terminate in zones of complex thermokarst collapse features recording melting of ground ice under the lava.
At the Ingakslugwat Hills at ca. 61.5°N., unusual composite volcanoes as much as 10 km long and 400 m high are made largely of pyroclastic ejecta. These features are much higher than the regional water table, and yet are capped with numerous intersecting arms of explosion craters of various ages recording repeated cycles of cryo-magmatic explosive volcanism. We call these distinctive landforms Ingakslugwat volcanoes. While the water table is hundreds of meters lower, the water source for continued explosive volcanism was derived from ground ice in permafrost near the ground surface.

Science and Ecological Function: Perspectives from Predator and Prey

Joel Berger1
1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, # 205 Natural Sciences, Missoula, MT, 59812, USA, Phone 406-243-5540

Large protected areas offer unique opportunities to understand both natural and anthropogenic processes in part because such areas are pristine and in part because they serve as a baseline or control from which to evaluate change in other systems. Among the goals of conservationists, two stand out: 1) maintain biological diversity, and 2) where lost, restore species, processes, and consequent interactions. The continuing global decline of large carnivores offers unique opportunities to investigate how carnivores affect community structure including trophic level interactions as possibly modulated by prey behavior and density. To address questions about possible effects of the loss, maintenance, and restoration of large carnivores, I will summarize information about how four Holarctic herbivores (caribou, moose, bison, and elk) respond to the presence or absence wolves, grizzly bears, and tigers. Nineteen sites were used, and formed a natural gradient of intact and disrupted large carnivore diversity stretching from the Russian Far East through Alaska and to Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks. Predation-free sites on Greenland and Svalbard served as controls for caribou. Results of this 10-yr investigation indicate large carnivores played central roles in impacting food webs; for instance in the absence of predation, moose attained high densities that modulated the diversity of avian neotropical migrants due their direct effects on riparian vegetation. And, where large carnivores were repatriated, the behavior of previously naïve elk and moose returned to levels found in populations living with tigers, bears, and wolves. Protected areas serve both the public and science at large - in this particular instance, because of exceptional opportunities from which baseline conditions and subsequent change in disturbed systems may be gaged.

The First National Parks of the Russian Far East

Yuriy I. Bersenev1
1Zov Tigra National Park, Lazo, Primor'e, Russia

In 2007 the government of Russia signed a directive on the establishment of the first three national parks in the Russian Far East. For the first two of them administration and management departments were created and financing was begun. The National Park Zov Tigra (Call of the Tiger) is located in a mountainous region in the south of the Primorskii Krai in areas inhabited by the Amur tiger. The organization of the National Park allows resolution of the issues with the preservation of unique natural complexes which have no analogy in any of the especially protected areas of the south of the Far East. Significant differences in altitude and peculiarities of relief provided for the existence of practically all types of regional vegetation in a relatively small area. In this Park there are 84 rare and endangered types of vascular plants included in the Red Book of Russia. The territory of the National Park is inhabited by more than 100 species of nesting birds, of which 8 are listed in the Red Book of Russia and in the International Red Book. For species biodiversity of rare predators and hoofed animals this territory has no equals in all of Russia. In periods of population depression of many species it is this territory that serves as the refuge of preservation and the base for future resurgence in numbers. Of the 47 species of mammals which inhabit the territory, 6 are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and 3 in the International Red Book (Amur tiger – panthera tigris, goat antelope – nemorhaedus caudatus, red wolf – Cuon alpinus Pallas). The territory contains unique natural resources for the organization of tourism and is very popular among tourists. The most beautiful river of the Primorskii Krai and 7 of its waterfalls are located here. Here is the source of the mightiest river in the Krai, the Ussuri. In the territory of the National Park is located the highest mountain of the Primorye, Oblachnaya (6,083 feet.) Tourists here are surprised at the dimensions of the cedar—they are often more than 400 years old. The second National Park in the Primorskii Krai is the Udegey Legend located in the north of the Krai in the area still inhabited by the aboriginal people, the Udegey. Currently there is a process of establishment of the third National Park, Anyuiski, as a federal entity in the Khabarovsk Krai. It includes that basin of one of largest tributaries of the Amur, the Anyui.

Vegetation History of Western and Northern Alaska-What Can Three New Pollen Records from Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks Tell Us?

Nancy H. Bigelow1, Patricia Heiser2, Michael Hilton3
1Alaska Quaternary Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755940, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-5940, USA, Phone 907-474-5433,
2Department of Geography, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755840, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
3Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California Los Angeles, A210 Fowler Building, 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1510, USA,

An accurate vegetation reconstruction is critical for understanding past climates and feedbacks as well as documenting the landscape that the people experienced. In western and northern Alaska, the basic pattern of post-glacial vegetation change is an initial herbaceous tundra (or steppe-tundra) followed by the rise of birch, then alder, and lastly (in some places), spruce. The timing of these major vegetation shifts (once climate ameliorated) suggest that the presence or absence of refugia, distance from source areas, and topography are critical factors affecting vegetation change.

Three new pollen records from southwestern Alaska add detail to our current understanding of vegetation history. In particular, these AMS-dated records (from Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks) indicate the spread of birch about 14,400 cal yr BP, and (depending on location), the spread of alder about 10,000 and 8200 cal yr BP and the spread of spruce about 3500 and 1000 cal yr BP. Comparisons with sites closest to the Bering Sea may indicate that the birch rise was earlier there. While much of this age difference is undoubtedly due to problems with dating, it is also quite likely that birch survived the LGM in refugia, possibly on the Bering Land Bridge. The alder rise in the southwest is more or less contemporaneous with arctic sites, although there is marked variability in the ages, some of which maybe due to topography. The spruce rise is significantly younger in the south and this may reflect a combination of topography and distance from source areas in interior Alaska.

Arctic Air Quality Monitoring: A New Long-term Monitoring Station in Bettles, Alaska

Andrea Blakesley1, Jim Lawler2
1Denali National Park and Preserve, PO Box 9, Denali Park, AK, 99755, USA, Phone 907-683-9545,
2Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network, National Park Service, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709-3420, USA, Phone 455-0624

In July 2008, the National Park Service installed its farthest north air quality monitoring station in Bettles, Alaska, adjacent to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The station measures several aspects of air quality, one of the Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network vital signs. Sampling is conducted in collaboration with several nationwide air quality monitoring networks, and is coordinated through the NPS Air Resources Division. Weekly precipitation samples are collected and analyzed for mercury, pH, conductivity, sulfates and nitrates. 24-hour aerosol samples are collected once every three days and analyzed for airborne contaminants that reduce visibility. Alaska national parks share a vulnerability to international transport of atmospheric contaminants, though currently these are found in very low concentrations. The new arctic air quality monitoring station will help park managers assess this threat to arctic ecosystems over time, as a growing human population struggles to control global emissions.

Marine Mammal Hunting Culture of Chukotka: Traditions and Modern Times

Lyudmila S. Bogoslovskaya1
1Russian Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Moscow, Russia

The Russian Arctic is a unique complex of ecosystems where a relatively large percent of biotic communities did not significantly change due to the human impact. For thousands of years more than ten indigenous nationalities formed here their unique cultures, while preserving biological diversity and productivity of arctic biocenoses. The main peculiarities of traditional lifestyles in the Arctic are dynamic existence at the edge of arctic ecosystems, where each system has limited biodiversity but local areas with increased biodiversity or bioproductivity form as a result of their confluence. From ancient times people settled in such areas. The traditional system of settling of Chukotka coastal peoples is an excellent example of this. Like the other indigenous peoples of the world, the Eskimo and coastal Chukchi are the descendants of the ancient tribes of hunters and gatherers who viewed nature not as an environment with the necessary resources but as a living and full-fledged member of their tribe. Japanese ethnologist Kh. Vatanabe correctly named such phenomenon "the system of social solidarity with nature." Even now marine hunting is considered not one of the branches of economic activity, but the basis of Chukotka indigenous peoples' life. For the coastal peoples of Chukotka the traditional means of nature use were and are the only form and, at the same time, the condition of the existence of their cultures. The cultures in turn provide for the steady reproduction of ethnic originality, the work of the mechanisms of cultural continuity, and stability of the ethno-linguistic situation. The environmental conditions force the bearers of the maritime culture to exhibit caring towards nature as a part of their cultural traditions. This means that it is a tradition that preserves the nature and not a separate human being or generation. Rather, the life and spiritual experience of many generations of their ancestors is imprinted in this tradition. All changes that the communities of marine mammal hunters introduce into their own social structure and arctic ecosystems occurred at the speed of the main biological processes and therefore the arctic ecosystems and human communities "calmly" accept them. The modern methods of arctic exploration and development happen in an abnormally short periods of time that do not coincide with the adaptive capacity of biota and northern indigenous communities, and therefore have a truly destructive impact not only on the natural habitat, but on the mentality, culture, and social organization traditions of these groups. The user attitude (use of resources and recreation) based on the interests of a specific group of humans or of an individual is prevalent in so called "western" civilization. Under the influence of this domineering attitude the traditional principles of interaction between nature in the Arctic and the Chukchi and Eskimo underwent and continue to undergo a process of degradation and significant distortion.

Physical, Chemical, and Biological Characteristics of Streams in the Central Noatak National Preserve: An Assessment of Current Status for Future Trends

William B. Bowden1, Michael B. Flinn2, Bruce J. Peterson3, Andrew W. Balser4, Julia R. Larouche5, Angela R. Allen6
1Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 304 Aiken Center, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA, Phone 802-656-2513, Fax 802-656-8683,
2Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 304 Aiken Center, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA, Phone 802-859-3086, Fax 802-656-8683,
3The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Water St., Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USA, Phone 508-548-3705,
4Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 902 N. Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA, Phone 907-257-2733,
5Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 304 Aiken Center, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA, Phone 802-859-3086, Fax 802-656-8683,
6Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, P.O. Box 1951, Providence, RI, 02912, USA, Phone 678-637-5779,

The Noatak River and its surrounding watershed of over 3 million hectares constitute the Noatak National Preserve, an internationally recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that was established for its unique contribution to the conservation of biological diversity and biological resources in the Arctic. The Noatak River is a Wild and Scenic River, and the Noatak Preserve harbors a diverse array of freshwater ecosystems that are relatively undisturbed by human activity. Though undisturbed these freshwater resources have important subsistence values to indigenous cultures and important recreational values to visitors from around the world. The Noatak Preserve is vast and difficult to access, and so relatively little research has been done on the freshwater resources in the area. The most comprehensive previous assessment was done in 1973 and focused primarily on lakes. Beginning in 2005 a group of NPS and university scientists began a collaboration, sponsored by the NPS Arctic Network (ARCN) Inventory and Monitoring program, to assess rivers and lakes in the Noatak Preserve. One objective of this work was to provide a point of comparison to the 1973 work, but the larger objectives were to provide a baseline for future comparisons and to devise a framework for monitoring the freshwater resources of the ARCN parks in the future.
In 2006 we explored the feasibility of using a sampling framework that was based on the underlying lithology of the landscapes in this area. Lithology differs significantly across the preserve and recent work – also supported by the ARCN initiative – showed that lithology strongly influences terrestrial vegetation diversity and productivity. We reasoned the combined effects of contrasting lithologies and related differences in terrestrial soils and vegetation were likely to significantly influence the characteristics of streams draining this area. In July 2006 we sampled a suite of streams in the Feniak Lake area of the Noatak National Preserve. We selected headwater (1st to 3rd order) streams that arose entirely on contrasting lithologies, including ultramafic, non-carbonate, and complex sedimentary formations. Important physical, chemical, and biological characteristics differed significantly among these lithologies, consistent with our a priori hypotheses. Nitrogen chemistry of stream water draining these contrasting lithologies differed significantly and ranged over concentrations at least as great as those observed in streams as diverse as mountain, spring, and tundra streams on the North Slope. Chlorophyll a concentrations were highly variable within and between lithologies but patterns suggest highest production in non-carbonate watersheds. Significantly higher (P<0.05) amounts of metals (Fe, Ni, Si (3x)), base cations (Mg++, Ca++), dissolved organic carbon (4x), and benthic organic matter (5/3x) were found in streams in non-carbonate watersheds compared to ultramafic watersheds. Analysis of macroinvertebrate communities revealed similar trends with significantly (P<0.01) higher abundance (2x), biomass (5x), taxa richness (4/3x), Shannon's diversity (2x) and ratios of collector-filterer (3/2) and scraper (4x) functional feeding groups in streams of non-carbonate versus ultramafic origin. Streams with complex sedimentary watersheds were variable, but were mostly intermediate with respect to the other two lithologies. These data (and similar data from 2005) suggest that lithology is an important variable that can be used to direct future surveys of freshwater resources in the Noatak River basin and may provide guidance for other high latitude ecosystem studies.

Modeled Continual Surface Water Storage Change of the Yukon River Basin

Rena Bryan1, Larry Hinzman2, Robert Busey3
1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757340, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7340, USA, Phone 907-474-1556,
2International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757340, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7340, USA, Phone 907-474-7331,
3International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757340, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7340, USA, Phone 907-474-2792,

Large-scale modeling at high latitudes is a basis for analyzing the role of the Arctic in the global system. The area of the Yukon watershed, spanning Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and the tip of British Columbia, is 847,642 km2, representing a large part of the North American drainage basin. How will the size and distribution of northern lakes and wetlands change spatially and temporally under a warming climate scenario? We examine this research question within the Yukon River Basin by analyzing meteorology, topography, soils, vegetation, permafrost thermal composition, and hydraulic head.
A high-resolution temperature model, TopoClimate, references USGS determined topographic features and the National Weather Service weather forecast model, Global Forecast System, to represent synoptically and topographically driven processes at present. For future simulations, TopoClimate references GCM model ECHAM5/MPI-OM under balanced energy sources in an integrated world emissions scenario, A1B, and topography. ECHAM5/MPI-OM best reproduces the present key features of both Alaska and the Arctic observed synoptic climates.
A numerical model for estimating the permafrost thermal composition, TTOP, is used to improve the resolution of permafrost extent in the Yukon River Basin. TTOP references the TopoClimate temperature map, as well as maps of soil moisture and thermal properties, surface n-factors derived from landcover type, and snow cover. The propagation of surface temperature through soil is numerically modeled by TTOP, using soil properties and microclimatic effects. TTOP has been applied to the Seward Peninsula in estimating past, present, and future permafrost distributions.
A physically based, potentiometric surface algorithm extracts steepness and relative elevation from topography. Precipitation inputs are downscaled ERA-40 reanalysis and from ECHAM5/MPI-OM under the A1B scenario for future. Derived hydraulic head is used to determine local groundwater upwelling or surface water downwelling. Hydraulic gradient, analyzed in concert with permafrost distribution provides insight into surface water presence. The continual change of surface water presence is evaluated through time.

Seward Peninsula Climate and Hydrology

Jessica E. Cherry1, Larry Hinzman2
1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757335, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 9074745730,
2International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

The presentation will review analyses and trends of Seward Peninsula weather, climate, and hydrology since instrumental observations began over 100 years ago. Results from recent digitization of early records will be included. Patterns of variability in the University of Alaska Fairbanks hydrometeorology network, Cooperative, and National Weather Service stations are strongly linked to distribution of seasonal sea ice in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, as well as large-scale modes of climate in the Pacific sector. The implications of this relationship are that future changes in sea ice thickness and distribution near the Seward Peninsula during winter could lead to additional winter warming via increased ocean heat fluxes. Increases in winter air temperature dominate recent climate trends throughout the Arctic and may lead to degradation of marginal permafrost such as that on the Seward Peninsula.

The Bering Strait Research Consortium

Jessica Cherry1, Peter Schweitzer2
1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757335, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 9074745730,
2Anthropology/EPSCoR, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

This presentation describes a new entity known as the Bering Strait Research Consortium (BSRC). This consortium is designed to serve as a central forum for communication of cultural and scientific research activities to the public, data exchange, research synthesis, and research support information. Individuals or institutions with an interest in the Beringia region are encouraged to participate in BSRC. Interest in a consortium has grown out of the needs of researchers to coordinate their efforts and help communicate them to the general public and the larger research community. Coordination for the BSRC was enabled by the University of Alaska EPSCoR program, which has research integration and outreach at the core of its mission. Preliminary organization and goals of BSRC will be discussed.

More Findings on American Trade in Chukotka in the Early 20th Century

Andrew Crow1
1Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK, 99508, USA, Phone 907-786-5447

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries American traders held a prominent role in Chukotka. Americans ran trading posts in Anadyr, Provideniya, Senyavin Strait, Naukan, and Kolyuchin Bay, and American schooners traded in all the villages along the coast. Traders left collections of Native artifacts in museums in the United States, Canada and Europe. They left memoirs, stories, and records of their trade in archives, museums, and attics in the United States. In Russia their goods can be found in local museums. Some of their trading posts are still standing. Russian archives record of their dealings with the Russian and Soviet governments, local stories and popular culture describe their influence. Last year the researchers on this project presented an overview of this trade and of their initial findings. This presentation describes additional findings from archival research from American and Russian sources.

A Foundation for Planning and Management at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Noatak National Preserve

Joan B. Darnell1
1Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service, Anchorage, USA

This paper presents the recently completed Foundation Statement for two arctic park units in Alaska, Bering Land Bridge and Noatak National Preserves. New National Park Service (NPS) General Management Planning (GMP) guidance calls for every park to develop a formal statement of its core mission. This "Foundation Statement" provides park staff, stakeholders and the general public an introduction to the park and basic guidance for all decisions to be made about a park. A Foundation Statement contains a park purpose statement, multiple significance statements, and lists the fundamental resources and values that are critical to the significance of the area. Foundation Statements also identify primary interpretive themes and key mandates, providing the framework needed to understand the historic and contemporary roles, conditions, and issues surrounding each National Park unit.

Environmental and Economic Substantiation of a Southern Site of National Park Beringia

Tatyana V. Demchenko1
1ECORA project, Environmental Safety of Chukotka, Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

Creation of specially protected natural areas is an important element in development of integrated environmental management, being the main objective and a basis of ECORA Project ("An Integrated Ecosystem Management Approach to Conserve Biodiversity and Minimise Habitat Fragmentation in Three Selected Model Areas in the Russian Arctic") funded by the GEF grant (GFL 2328-2704-4773). The researches carried out within the framework of ECORA Project in 2005-2008 have confirmed the uniqueness of "Beringovsky" Model area and created preconditions for allocation of sites for creation of specially protected areas. There are unique natural complexes and the elements of a biodiversity requiring protection and sustainable approaches as use of resources are concentrated in the territory of "Beringovsky" Model area. This problem can be solved by establishment of integrated specially protected natural area of a cluster type, which would take under protection the most valuable ecosystems. Inclusion of the territory of Beringovsky area as the site of a national park "Beringia" is the rational decision on development of integrated environmental management and duly at planning and the beginning of intensive industrial development of territory of Beringovsky area in the next ten years. Environmental and Economic Substantiation of a Southern Site of National Park "Beringia" will include social and economic aspects of the organization of a national park, define priority works on the organization of the park, define borders of functional zoning, assess recreational potential of the territory and development prospects for tourism. The special part of substantiation will be related to a modern condition of historical and cultural heritage of indigenous people and traditional nature use.

Individual History: Recording Village Memories by Village Residents

Eileen Devinney1
1Western Arctic Parklands, National Park Service, 240 West 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-644-3623,

Snowshoe Hares in the Brooks Range: Geophagy and its Relationship to Hare and Lynx Health

Donna L. DiFolco1
1National Park Service, Fairbanks Administrative Center, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0625,

Certain populations of snowshoe hares in eastern Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve near Wiseman, Alaska, consume soils at exposed banks during the peak phase of their population cycle. According to local trappers, lynx consuming these geophagic hares appear underweight and have unusually dark, purplish flesh. Questions arising from this phenomenon gave rise to the snowshoe hare ecology project currently underway in the area. We hope, by the end of this long-term project, to shed some light on the complex relationships between snowshoe hares, the vegetation they consume, soils, and their main predator, lynx.

Visions, Impressions, and Interpretations: The Denali National Park Artist-in-Residence Programs History and Exploration of the Connection between Art and Science

Annie Duffy1
1Alaska Geographic, 208 7th Ave., Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA, Phone 907 474-8133,

As often noted, artists have had a major impact on the creation and development of America's national parks since the beginning of the national park movement (1). Similar to Thomas Moran's contribution to the creation of America's first national park, the painter Belmore Browne was a strong advocate for the establishment of Mt. McKinley National Park, now known as Denali National Park, in 1917. Over the years many artists have supported the park and worked within its landscape to create powerful works that have merit not only as beautiful objects but also as important tools for interpreting the park and the wilderness of the region.
In 2001 Denali National Park renewed its commitment to the arts and asked Kesler Woodward to serve as the park's first official artist-in-residence. Woodward was asked to not only spend time working at the East Fork cabin and donate a piece of art to the park's collection, but also to establish a long term residency program that would have artists returning to the park every summer in an effort to share the beauty of the park in a more formal manner but also to contribute to the park's educational and outreach efforts.
Since 2001 the program has grown to allow up to 4 artists 10-day stays in the park during the summer season. In 2007 the program received 66 application submissions from across the U.S. for the upcoming 2008 season, a number that is especially important to note since artists-in-residence do not receive a stipend or any travel assistance. Ron Senungetuk, a renowned Alaska Native sculptor and wood carver, will also join the program during the 2008 season and become Denali National Park's first Alaska Native artist-in-residence.
Recently the artist-in-residence program has been examining the connection between art and science and how artists have played a role in the scientific work being conducted within the park and how this connection can be further developed in the future.

1. From the Denali National Park web site .

Tuktu-Naiyuk and the Archaic of Alaska

Julie A. Esdale1
1Department of Anthropology, Brown University, 33 Anna Ave, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA, Phone 907-374-4842,

The Tuktu-Naiyuk archaeological site near Anaktuvuk Pass, first excavated by J. Campbell in 1959, quickly became an integral source of information for describing the middle Holocene prehistory of Alaska. Excavations from this site suggested that Archaic inhabitants of the north build stone rimmed house structures with internal hearths, had a subsistence economy based on caribou hunting and fishing, and killed their prey with distinctive side-notched projectile points as well as microblade-edged bone and antler projectiles. Additional excavations at the Tuktu-Naiyuk site took place in 2004 by a National Park Service team. Analyses demonstrate that earlier radiocarbon dates given for the site were misleading and that individual-event artifact clusters were of a much different nature than previous accounts of the archaeology based on agglomerated assemblages. Instead of a single Archaic component, recent excavations found a long and complex occupation history and little or no evidence of microblade technology.

Comparative study of seed coat micromorphology and seed anatomy in Alaskan Oxytropis (Loco-weed, Fabaceae) using SEM, and their Taxonomic Significance

Rose Farrington1, Zachary J Meyers2, Steffi Ickert-Bond3
1UAF Biology and Wildlife / Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
2UAF Biology and Wildlife / Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
3IAB / Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,

Oxytropis (loco-weed, Fabaceae) are typical members of the Arctic flora and include 20
species in Alaska occurring in a wide range of habitats (e.g. forest, meadow, tundra) with
some species being narrow endemics. Botanists in Alaska have long noticed a high degree of morphological variation within well-established taxa. This has resulted in taxonomic controversy and species delimitation in Oxytropis is in need of further study. This project seeks to determine differences in surface features and anatomy of seeds of ca. 13 species of Oxytropis (loco-weed, Fabaceae) that occur in Alaska. The study is based on dry herbarium specimens from the University of Alaska Museum Herbarium (ALA). Observations made using scanning electron microscopy indicate that seed surface micromorphology is primarily rugulate, with either 1) tightly interwoven thin rugae, 2) thick rugae, or 3) thick raised primary and thin recessed secondary rugae. For anatomical studies, dry seeds were rehydrated in equal parts of glycerol, water and ethanol and then sectioned by hand. The seed coat in Oxytropis is well differentiated and exotestal with the outer integument providing the mechanical layer of the seed. A uniseriate epidermis is covered by a cuticle on upper anticlinal walls. The subepidermal layer is composed of single layer of prominent macrosclereids, followed by a single row of osteosclereids and 5-8 rows of compressed tangentially elongate parenchyma cells of the nucellus. The taxonomic utility of micromorphological and anatomical characters in Alaskan Oxytropis seeds is demonstrated and a key is provided.

Analyses of mtDNA, Y and X Chromosome Sequences Reveal Congruent Phylogeographic Structure and Cryptic Speciation in Arctic Lemmings (Lemmus)

Vadim B. Fedorov1, Anna V. Goropashnaya2
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
2Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

Arctic lemmings demonstrated strong mtDNA phylogeographic structure across the Holarctic with three significant longitudinal divisions. The depth of phylogeographic splits (mtDNA cytochrome b net divergence 8.7%; 6.2% and 4.5%) suggests continuous vicariant separation over several glacial-interglacial periods. In order to confirm independent evolutionary history of the phylogeographic groups detected by mtDNA variation, we studied sequence variation in introns of Y and X chromosomes. Reciprocal monophyly of all groups revealed by variation in maternal mtDNA marker was supported by genealogy based on variation in paternal Y chromosome. Genealogy based on variation in biparental X chromosome was congruent to the mtDNA and Y chromosome phylogenies, with exception for non reciprocal monophyly of the two Eurasian phylogeographic groups. This probably indicates incomplete lineage sorting due to three times lager effective size for X chromosome. Similar to other mammalian species, nucleotide diversity estimates were highest for mtDNA (7.3%), X chromosome (1.1%) and lowest for Y chromosome (0.7%). To investigate extent of introgression, we screened variation in all three markers across an area of secondary contact between the Beringian and Eastern phylogroups in east Alaska – Yukon. Analysis of 65 lemmings, including 44 males, detected 11 hybrids (17%). This finding possibly indicates existence of some reproductive isolation and suggests cryptic speciation in the Beringian lemmings due to recurrent isolation by the continental ice sheet during the Pleistocene. The analysis with the three different types of genetic markers facilitates inference on evolutionary history.

Beringia from a Cretaceous Perspective

Anthony R. Fiorillo1, David W. Norton2, Paul J. McCarthy3
1Paleontology, Museum of Nature and Science, P.O. Box 151469, Dallas, TX, 75315, USA,
2Arctic Rim Research, 1749 Red Fox Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-479-6898, Fax 907-479-5313,
3Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-5780, USA, Phone 907-474-6894,

National Park Service units in Alaska contain some of the most informative fossil-bearing rocks anywhere in North America. What makes some of these Alaska rocks especially valuable is their location within the dynamic subcontinental region denoted by "Beringia." By linking similar aged rocks within the National Park Service lands together with the fossil resources found on other public lands administered by federal agencies, additional paleoecological insights on specific ecosystems can be obtained. Here we address the antiquity of terrestrial Beringian ecosystems and the implications of this antiquity.
The concept of Beringia as primarily a Quaternary phenomenon depends entirely on the mechanism by which glacial advances and retreats account for reciprocal drops and rises in sea level. These climate-induced changes alternated over time. High sea levels facilitated exchanges of marine biota between the Pacific Ocean and Arctic Basin; lower sea levels enabled terrestrial faunal and floral exchanges between Asia and North America. Recent advances in resolution of geochronologic methods suggest that climate-driven sea level changes have been relatively recent and weak determinants of biogeographic patterns—an epilog to a longer planetary story.
Beringian ecosystems have fostered specializations of flora and fauna over time, as is especially evident among those vertebrates that leave abundant fossils. Striking faunal and floral structural parallels in ecosystems are manifest in the Cretaceous of this region. Current paleontological investigations on correlative fossil-bearing rocks in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Denali National Park and Preserve, and on Alaska's North Slope, combined with revised tectonic reconstructions of the region lead us to conclude that Beringia became an identifiable region with the bridging of Eurasian and North American plates, some 100 million years ago. This extension of Beringia back in time requires a reordering of the importance we assign to underlying mechanisms. Atmospheric and oceanic phenomena became significant as climatic determinants of cyclic changes in Beringia during the Quaternary. Accepting Beringia's accretionary origins in the Cretaceous, however, implies that Beringia is rooted in its tectonic, rather than its climatic, history.

The Alaska Residents Outdoor Activities and Travel Survey: Collaboration to Understand Public Lands Visitors in Alaska

Peter J. Fix1, Daniel W. McCollum2, William Overbaugh3, Linda Kruger4, Lois Dalle-Molle5, Brian Glaspell6, Susan W. Alexander7
1School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
2Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, USA
3Alaska Region, USDI Bureau of Land Management, USA
4USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
5Alaska Region, National Park Service, Fairbanks, AK, USA
6Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, AK, USA
7Region 10, USDA Forest Service

Agencies managing public lands in Alaska share common information needs regarding the state's residents. Information needs include recreation and travel patterns, recreation areas no longer used, significant recreation activities and reasons for participating in those activities, and factors affecting quality of life. The Alaska Residents Outdoor Activities and Travel Survey was a collaborative project among the USDA Forest Service; USDI Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Alaska Department of Transportation to gather this information. Data were gathered by a mail survey that divided the state into five broad regions (Northern, Interior, Southwest, Southcentral, and Southeast), with four smaller subregions within each region. Respondents were asked about their travel to, and participation in twelve recreation activities in, each of the subregions. They were also asked about places they no longer visit, or have shifted their use, and why those shifts have occurred, significant activities and reasons for participating in those activities, and a series of close-ended and open-ended questions regarding quality of life. The sample was stratified by the five regions to obtain representation of rural areas and allow for comparisons among regions. Overall, 2,265 surveys were completed in winter 2006/2007, with an overall response rate of 27%. This presentation will provide a broad overview of the methods and survey instrument, initial results and information available from this project, and potential management applications.

The Reindeer Bridge of Beringia: A Sharing of Arctic Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Faith Fjeld1
1The Saami Baiki Office in Alaska, Saami Baiki Foundation, 4454 Condor Court #1, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-457-1013

During the 19th century whalers and fur traders from Russia and the United States depleted the subsistence resources of western Alaska. In an effort to remedy this ecological disaster, a few hundred reindeer were shipped to Alaska from Chukotka in the late 1890s under the auspices of the U.S. government Reindeer Project. The reindeer were accompanied by a small group of Chukchi reindeer men. Soon Saami reindeer herding families were brought over from Lapland to teach the Inupiaq and Yup'ik peoples how to work with the Chukchi reindeer. Many of the early reindeer stations were located on lands that today are either part of, or are adjacent to, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Western Arctic National Parklands, and in the early 1900s, and long before they became Park Service headquarters, Nome and Kotzebue were major centers for the herding activities. The Saami herders shared ancient herding techniques with the Inupiaq and Yup'ik Peoples. The traditional ecological knowledge that accompanies the domestication of reindeer has allowed the arctic peoples of Eurasia from Lapland to Chukotka to survive for thousands of years. The coming of reindeer to western Alaska not only remedied an ecological disaster, but also provided a boost to its economy. Within a decade reindeer could be found from Barrow in the north to Lake Iliamna in the south, a thriving reindeer empire had spread along the Kuskokwim River and the surrounding mountains, reindeer were flourishing on St. Lawrence Island, and large herds roamed the Seward Peninsula, and near the villages around Norton Sound and in the Kotzebue Basin. By 1920 there were 600,000 reindeer in Alaska. Reindeer meat fed the participants in the gold rush as well as the people in the villages where there had been famine, and reindeer were used to transport U.S. mail as well as equipment for the miners. A growing market for reindeer meat from Alaska was also being developed in the U.S. and Canada. The Saami taught their apprentice herders the specialized vocabulary for the weather and snow conditions that affect the survival of the reindeer, the ways to harness and train reindeer for use as transportation, and the optimum conditions for the sustainable harvesting of reindeer for food, clothing and bedding. The Saami also taught the technology of using skiis and the lasso. These are all elements of reindeer TEK that fostered the success of the Reindeer Project. My slide presentation will illustrate this traditional ecological knowledge. I will use archival images and historical anecdotes collected from elders in Nome, on the Seward Peninsula, and in Kotzebue, and I will consult with herders of today in Alaska and Lapland who are descendants of the Reindeer Project. It is my hope that this presentation will create a better understanding of the place of traditional ecological knowledge in reindeer herding in Alaska. I am grateful for the research that has been made possible by our Shared Beringian Heritage grant, and I look forward to presenting at Beringia Days 2008.

Plover Bay, Provideniya Raion, Russia: A Potential Component of the Beringian Heritage International Park

Bob Gal1
1Western Arctic National Parklands, National Park Service, 24 W 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-644-3621,

The H.M.S. Plover, commanded by Thomas E. L. Moore departed Plymouth, England on January 30, 1848 for the Bering Sea as part of the relief expedition for Sir John Franklin. On October 17, 1848 the Plover anchored in the lee of a spit at the entrance of a safe harbor on the Russian shore. The spit and its roadstead were named Plover Bay and the larger harbor was named Providence Bay (Provideniya Bay). Giving up hope of reaching Kotzebue Sound by October 26th, the Plover was moved to the northeastern arm of the bay which was named Emma Bay (now Komsomolskaya Bay). Moore anchored the Plover for the winter of 1848-49 four miles distant from the small Chukchi village of "Woorel" on October 25th and constructed a cook/laundry house on shore. This marked the first successful overwintering of a vessel in the Bering Sea region. Throughout the 1860s and 1870s, Provideniya Bay and Plover Bay were used by the whaling fleet for overwintering and mid-summer refitting. After being stove-in by the ice, the whaler Oreole limped in to Plover Bay and was abandoned there. In 1899 the Harriman Expedition put in to Plover Bay and photographed the Native people and their encampments on the spit. High resolution aerial photography of the Plover Bay spit reveals a multitude of features, archaeological and historic, of many time periods. W. H. Hooper, who overwintered on the Plover in 1848-49, published his ethnographic observations which were based on his extensive sled travels. Doubtless ship's logs and oral traditions exist that will further enlighten us about Plover Bay. Emma- Komsomolskaya Bay was the main supply point for all of Chukotka during World War II and during the Cold War the major military base for Chukotka was established on its shore. Ethnographic, archaeological and historical themes supported by the cultural resources of the Plover Bay area illustrate Beringian links long after the land bridge was submerged.

Genetic Studies Point to Beringia as a Biodiversity Hotspot for High-latitude Fungi

Jozsef Geml1, Gary A. Laursen2, Donald L. Taylor3
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
2Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-6100, USA
3Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

Climatic changes in the Quaternary have dramatically influenced the distribution of mycota, flora and fauna in high-latitude ecosystems and had major impacts on past speciation events and present population structures. While plants and animals have been extensively studied, virtually nothing is known about the community and population structures of fungi in arctic ecosystems. This is particularly undesirable, because fungi play key roles in the decomposition, mobilization, and the transfer of nutrients to plants in these nutrient-poor ecosystems. In our project, DNA-based assessments and phylogeographic approaches were applied to document and study the biodiversity, evolutionary history, speciation and population histories of arctic fungi. We generated the first DNA sequence database of arctic macrofungi, including more than 1,800 samples from the U.S. (Alaska), Canada (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon), Norway (Svalbard), Greenland, and different areas of the Russian Arctic. Our genetic results suggest that Beringia, particularly Alaska, harbors the most diverse arctic fungal communities. Similar to many plant and animal taxa, most arctic fungal taxa survived the last glacial maximum in Beringia and Alaskan populations served as major sources for postglacial range expansion throughout most of the Arctic. This project addresses several questions that have been previously uninvestigated. First, we have identified several putatively novel species. Secondly, our fungal genetic diversity assessments help to identify biodiversity hotspots and to predict the biogeographic communities' vulnerability and possible responses to global and local climate change. Also, the resulting 'DNA barcode' database is useful for current and future ecological and biodiversity studies. Finally, insights into fungal migration histories and observed common patterns contribute to improved inferences concerning glacial refugia and to the understanding of the present geographical structure of genetic diversity in arctic organisms. Knowledge of both past migrational history, a key to prediction, and present day genetic diversity are essential to respond intelligently to global change.

Impacts of Climate Change on Muskox Genetics: DNA from Bones Preserved in Permafrost on Alaska's North Slope

Pamela Groves1, Daniel Mann2, Michael Kunz3
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, 902 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 474-7165, Fax 474-6967,
2Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, 902 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
3Arctic District, Bureau of Land Management, 1150 University Ave., Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 474-2311,

The muskox (Ovibos moschatus) is one of the few megafauna species that inhabited Beringia during the Pleistocene and is still living there today. The many generations of muskoxen left behind numerous bones many of which were incorporated in the permafrost after the animals died. In this study, we use DNA extracted from old muskox bones to investigate patterns of genetic change during the late Pleistocene. Understanding the timing of development of low genetic diversity in muskoxen will be helpful in predicting the significance of diversity in other species as they encounter climate change.
We collected muskox bones from several river drainages in northwest Alaska. The skulls of muskox males as well as muskox metatarsal and metacarpal bones are particularly sturdy and withstand the rigors of repeated reworkings in river sediments and are among the most common bones found along the rivers surveyed. We obtained C14 AMS dates on 62 of these bones which range from infinite dates (past the upper limit of C14 dating ~ 40,000 years BP) to 226 years BP. The ages of the bones are heavily skewed toward infinite with only 11 of the bones yielding finite dates. We generated 634 base pairs of sequence data from the mitochondrial DNA control region for 38 ancient muskox individuals. As with modern muskoxen, genetic variation among the samples is limited. Bayesian analysis of the sequences suggests a temporal pattern of genetic change that may be the result of population turnover events related to periods of environmental change.

Predicting Population Trajectories of Muskoxen Using an Index of Protein Balance in Late Winter: Implications and Challenges

David D. Gustine1, Perry S. Barboza2, James P. Lawler3, Stephen M. Arthur4, Brad S. Shults5, Kate Persons6
1Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA, Phone 907-474-5031,
2Inst. Arctic Biology, Dept. Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA
3National Park Service, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA
4Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA
5National Park Service, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA
6Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Nome, AK, 99762, USA

Climate changes are affecting plant growth and food availability for large herbivores at high latitudes. Adverse winter conditions associated with warming trends may affect the annual productivity of populations by negatively affecting fetal development, calf growth, and calf survival. Cohorts born after austere winters may continue to produce less offspring that are smaller in size throughout their reproductive life. In arctic and sub-arctic ungulates, body condition may be the most important correlate of survival and reproduction, however, non-invasive techniques to assess condition are currently lacking. Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) are a species of concern due to the recent unexplained decline of the population in eastern Alaska (formerly of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and decreasing growth rates in the largest population in Alaska (Seward). We used a captive population of muskoxen (n=16) at the Large Animal Research Station in Fairbanks, AK, to validate a 'hands-off' measure of body condition (i.e., proportion of urea-nitrogen from body tissue) that incorporates isotopic ratios of nitrogen in fecal and urinary-nitrogen metabolites. Lean mass loss was correlated with our isotopic index of body condition (i.e., the enrichment of urinary urea nitrogen with catabolism of body tissue). Therefore, we used this non-invasive technique to assess body condition of wild muskoxen within and among 3 populations in Alaska (i.e., Seward, Central Arctic, and Cape Krusenstern) in the winters of 2005-2008. We examined the effect(s) of winter severity, physiography, population, and indices of diet diversity and composition on body condition. This research will assist wildlife- and subsistence-resource management agencies in predicting ungulate populations and assess the resilience of arctic ungulates to climate change.

An Update on the Exploration of Traditional Dance of the Inupiaq of the Northwest Arctic and Natives of the Chukotka Region

Paaniikaaluk D'Anne Hamilton1
1Northwest Arctic Borough, PO Box 1110, Kotzebue, AK, 99752, USA, Phone 907-442-2500,

D'Anne Hamilton, the Executive Producer for Finding the Lost Dances DVD, will provide an update on the exploration of traditional dance of the Inupiaq of the Northwest Arctic and Natives of the Chukotka region, as is being documented by a group of youth from Kotzebue. Under a joint project of the National Park Service and the Native Village of Kotzebue, the Kotzebue students will interact with traditional Native youth dancers in New Chaplino and Provideniya this winter for the Finding the Lost Dances 10-minute DVD: sharing impressions about life in their own communities, documenting the impact discipline has had on traditional dance styles on both sides of the Bering Strait, and exploring the differences in how that discipline is conveyed, as the young people attempt to forge paths through similar but yet very different cultures. The content will also complement the 60-minute documentary The Lost Dances as it heads into its final year of production.

Introduction to UAF Geography Programs Expanded Degree Program

Patricia Heiser1
1Department of Geography, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755840, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-5840, USA, Phone 907-474-7068,

The UAF Geography Program (UAGP) has undergone a major revision and expansion of its degree options, research direction, and outreach programs. The program now offers three options for a Bachelor of Science in Geography. These include concentrations in Environmental Studies, Landscape Analysis & Climate Change Studies, and Geographic Information & Technology. The B.A. degree has become more specialized in issues surrounding Circumpolar North and Pacific Rim. These new programs are designed to prepare the next generation of geographers, resource mangers, scientists, and policy makers with an integrated understanding of ecological and physical process, spatial analysis, human impacts and adaptations, and the interdisciplinary mindset necessary tackle the complex problems facing our state and our world. A new Professional Masters degree in Natural Resources Management and Geography is an applied graduate program designed for professionals furthering their education in resource management and geospatial sciences. Scenarios Network of Alaska Planning (SNAP) has joined the Geography Program and is leading the charge in predictive modeling and planning for future climate and environmental changes inAlaska. Finally, UAGP has prioritized the development and delivery of geography based K-12 outreach and teacher training resources. New collaborations with Google Earth, AT&T, National Geographic and Alaska Geographic greatly enhance our abilities to reach the teachers, students, and citizens of Alaska with a number of innovative and dynamic educational programs.

Tundra Fire Regimes in the Noatak National Preserve, Northwestern Alaska, Since 6000 yr BP

Philip Higuera1, Melissa Chipman2, Jennifer Allen3, Scott Rupp4, Feng Sheng Hu5
1Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, USA,
2Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, USA
3Regional Fire Ecologist, National Park Service, USA
4University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA
5Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, USA

Fire and fuels management initiatives in Alaska are hindered by a limited understanding of fire history and the controls of fire regimes. This is especially true for tundra ecosystems that cover nearly one-third of the state. Over 4.1 million acres of Alaskan tundra have burned over the past 50 years, indicating the highly flammable nature of these ecosystems under warm and dry conditions. Land managers working within the tundra face decisions on fuels management, suppression tactics and pre-suppression staffing. However, these decisions are currently made in the absence of long-term fire history records and limited empirical knowledge on the relationships between fire, climate and vegetation. Current and future climatic change also challenge land managers as they consider the impacts of increasing temperatures on tundra fire regimes and the potential cascading effects on other ecosystem processes. We are utilizing macroscopic charcoal from lake-sediment cores to characterize the frequency component of fire regimes in shrub-dominated and herb-dominated tundra ecosystems in northwestern Alaska over the past 6000 years. Fire history records will provide context for resource management and serve to refine the tundra component of an ecosystem model designed to aid Alaskan land managers in assessing fuels and fire hazards.
We present the first long-term records of fire history in the Alaskan tundra from lakes in the Noatak National Preserve, a region encompassing some of the most flammable tundra in Alaska. Preliminary results from one lake indicate that fire has been a consistent process in tundra ecosystems, with fire return intervals (FRIs) ranging from 40 to 500+ years over the past 6000 years. This record also suggests significant changes in historic FRIs at millennial time scales, likely related to climatic changes in the region. For example, from 1500 yr BP to present FRIs averaged 260 years (s.d. 170), while FRIs from 6000-4500 yr BP, a period of lower effective moisture and higher summer temperatures, averaged 120 (s.d. 81) years. In addition to providing some of the first estimates of long-term fire occurrence in modern tundra ecosystems, our results indicate that tundra fire regimes are sensitive to past, and by inference, future climate change.

Natural and Cultural Healing Places within Publically Managed Lands

Carl M. Hild1, Victoria Hykes Steere2, Natalie Novik3
1Health Services Adminstration Program, Business Administration Department, Alaska Pacific University, 4101 University Dr., Anchorage, AK, 99508, USA, Phone 907-564-8227, Fax 907-563-8255,

In 2002 the Arctic Council's working group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna produced its report "The Conservation Value of Sacred Sites of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic: A Case Study in Northern Russia." In 2004 during a National Institute of Health program exploring the research requests of the Maniilaq Association's Tribal Doctor Program, it was learned that the protection of and access to a place of ancient traditional healing (PATH) needed to be investigated. These two reports were taken into consideration and an inquiry was made into the factors that contribute to the healing aspects of this PATH. This work was initiated in collaboration with the Tribal Doctors, the NANA Regional Elders' Council, the Shishmaref IRA Council, the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association, and a number of other organizations. The method applied was one of Action Research with the use of Appreciative Inquiry, which yielded a collaborative process identified as Multicultural Engagement for Learning and Understanding (MELU).
The subsequent and desired action from the investigation was that the Shishmaref IRA Council submitted a National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 request to the National Park Service for this site and the surrounding area. In addition, an effort to conduct cultural-use computer-based mapping of the site has been initiated. Also a project was completed to digitize the Bureau of Indian Affairs 14(h)1 reports so that the 2,200 files may be word searched and an inventory of PATH developed. What is being learned about this and other ancient cultural sites will enable a more appropriate management plan and access utilization scheme to be prepared for continued healing purposes. The PATH currently being investigated is considered of extreme cultural relevance and its natural factors need to be protected for future generations of Inupiaq through a process of recognizing traditional healing places. The health and well-being of the Inupiat is intricately bound to the concept of oneness with the land. This worldview, embedded in their recognition of the healing power of the land, cannot survive where ownership is the primary manner in which the land is viewed. Historically, Russia did not lay claim to Inupiaq lands or try to colonize them. When the U.S. took over the territory, mining and reindeer land claims were recognized. Requests for identification and protection of sites under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and specifically its 14(h)1 selections conflicted with the federal goal of public management for some natural resources.
The history of land ownership and cultural use for the health and well-being of indigenous people will be reviewed from the Russian exploration until the NHPA Section 106 exchanges of 2008.

The Bering Sea Community-Based Monitoring Program

Karin Holser1, Bruce Robson2, Stephen J. Insley3
1Pribilof Islands Stewardship Program, PO Box 938, St. George Island, AK, 99591, USA, Phone 907-859-2233,
2Community and Ecology Resources, 1413 26th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98122, USA, Phone 206-782-8273
3Long Marine Laboratory-Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064, USA, Phone 831-459-4033,

The goal of the Bering Sea Community-Based Monitoring Program is to provide a tool for recording and communicating significant environmental and ecological events in order to empower remote communities on ecological issues with local impact. Our approach combines existing and well refined environmental databases with a web-based access. The existing databases were developed and refined by the Island Sentinel Programs on St. Paul and St. George Islands, Alaska over the past five to 10 years. The web portal adapts these systems for use by a much broader user group that is designed to be expandable. We are currently in the implementation phase of the system and are very interested in obtaining input from any individuals from remote Bering Sea communities wishing experience the unmitigated thrill of a shiny new "test drive".

Trans-Beringian Movement of Hosts and Pathogens Throughout Beringia: Case Studies Using Shrews (Genus: Sorex)

Andrew G. Hope1, Satoru Arai2, Shannon N. Bennett3, Laarni Sumibcay4, Hae Ji Kang5, Jin-Wong Song6, Richard Yanagihara7, Eric Waltari8, Joseph A. Cook9
1Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, MSC03 2020, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA,
2Infectious Disease Surveillance Center/John A. Burns School, National Institute of Infectious Diseases/, Tokyo/Honolulu, Japan/USA
3John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
4John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
5John A. Burns School of Medicine/College of Medicine, , University of Hawaii at Manoa/Korea University, (also College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea), Honolulu, HI, USA
6College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
7John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
8New York, NY, USA
9Museum of Southwestern Biology, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Beringia was not only an ice-age refugium and center of diversification, but also a crossroads for movement of plants and animals between continents. In particular, small mammals provide a comparative framework for assessing transcontinental movement and connections between Asia and North America. Within the shrew genus Sorex, there are three species complexes that are centered on Beringia and are Holarctic. Shrews are among the smallest mammals and are good models for assessing relationships between the continents because of their high metabolic rates and rapid generation time that translates into relatively fast rates of evolution. The tiny shrew (Sorex yukonicus) is currently considered an endemic species to Alaska and has a sister species, the Eurasian least shrew (S. minutissimus), across the Bering Strait. Recent genetic evidence suggests that the Russian Far East specimens of this complex are almost identical to Alaskan specimens, making S. yukonicus a truly Beringian species. Within another trans-Beringian shrew complex (Sorex cinereus complex) are multiple species that have potentially diversified and subsequently formed contact zones in Beringia. In addition to movement of species across Beringia, movement of forest-associated species northward is an important issue associated with warming global temperatures. At the forest/tundra interface in Alaska, particularly through the Brooks Range and Seward Peninsula, two shrew species in this complex come into contact. Contact zones potentially leading to hybridization are a natural laboratory for the study of evolution in action. They not only present the potential for exchange of genetic material between populations and species but also provide the potential for transmission of pathogens, such as parasites and viruses, across species boundaries. Beringia is a key area to understand the evolutionary history of exchange of zoonotic pathogens and their hosts between Asia and North America. Since the pioneering studies of Robert Rausch, relatively little research has focused on emergent pathogens harbored by small mammals in this region. Recent work with shrews has led to the discovery of novel hantaviruses (Family Bunyaviridae) that are even older and potentially ancestral to previously recognized hantaviruses in rodent hosts. This has implications for the spread of these viruses across Beringia and the likelihood of discovering new strains in northern populations. The spread of pathogens is also potentially accelerated by recent global warming with increased outbreaks of disease.

A Changing Arctic: Adding Protection to the Equation

Falk Huettmann1, Susan Hazlett2
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 409 Irving II, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 474-7959,
2School of Fisheries and Ocean Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA,

It is estimated that the Arctic Ocean will be open to global shipping, oil development, and other commercial activities such as fishing and tourism as soon as the next few decades. This study examines the creation of protected areas in the Arctic, both in terrestrial areas affected by climate change, and in the Arctic Ocean as marine protected areas and reserves. We use the simulated annealing algorithm in Marxan to explore various scenarios. Marxan can use spatially-explicit data to simultaneously examine a large number of data sets and propose a solution for protection of an area based on user inputs such as cost, level of protection desired, presence of endangered species, etc. One advantage of Marxan is that any data that can be expressed spatially can be used as an input, so both ecological and socioeconomic factors can be considered when creating a protected area. This study will develop proposals for a number of protected areas based on different scenarios such as economic development, maximum protection of ecological resources, protection of an endangered species, and protection of subsistence and cultural resources.

Dispersal of Asian Plants to North America via Beringia: Relict or Recent Mosaic?

Steffi M. Ickert-Bond1, Eric DeChaine2, Carolyn Parker3, David F. Murray4
1University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium , Dept. of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907 Yukon Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-6277, Fax 907-474-5469,
2Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA
3University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 756960, Fairbanks, AK, USA, Phone 907-474-7109
4University of Alaska Museum, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 756960, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-6960, USA, Phone 907-474-7109,

The need for documenting and studying present and past plant and animal distributions has direct relevance to Beringia's subsistence, tourism, and recreation-based economies and communities. Researchers from the University of Alaska Museum Herbarium have a longstanding interest in understanding how Beringia's biodiversity has been shaped by historical factors and how our native biota will respond to future changes in climate and human development. Documented shifts in climate to cold and dry conditions during glacial advances favored different elements of our flora, as compared to the warm and wet inter-glacial periods. The Bering Land Bridge has been a barrier to some plants, a filter for others, and a major highway for Asian plants into North America. Additionally there are widely separated and highly local occurrences of Asiatic species in Alaska and adjacent Yukon that are thought by some to be relicts of late-glacial steppe-tundra. Explanations for these diverse biogeographic patterns require that we now employ techniques that will provide data that morphology and cytology alone cannot. Most promising is the use of molecular sequencing data, which in other areas (Svalbard archipelago) have clarified long distance plant dispersal from identifiable source areas. Furthermore, GIS-based hypothesis generation and testing against hypothesis derived from analyses of molecular sequencing data will provide powerful analyses of geographic patterns. Our continued studies will further our understanding of the relatively high endemism for which Beringia is well known. Inasmuch as certain localities are threatened by habitat destruction and the entire region by climate change, there is some urgency.

Fission and Fusion in Muskox Groups

Claudia Ihl1, Perry Barboza2
1Northwest Campus, University of Alaska, University of Alaska Northwest Campus, Pouch 400, Nome, AK, USA, Phone 907-443-8417, Fax 907-443-5602,
2Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA

We investigated group formation and group sizes in a free-ranging muskox (Ovibos moschatus) population in northwest Alaska, USA, between June and September, 2002. Seasonal habitat use by muskoxen shifted from dryas (Dryas spp.) and hummock slopes in early summer towards strips of sedge meadow during rut. Dryas, hummock and tussock habitats were spatially unbounded because they ran continuously over many km2, while sedge meadows and willow thickets were spatially bounded to narrow strips in drainages and along beaches. Muskox groups decreased in size from winter to summer to rut. Muskoxen foraging efficiency (percent of active animals feeding) decreased with group size in spatially unbounded habitats, but not in spatially bounded habitats. Adult males contributed least to group cohesion. Group sizes were unrelated to percentage of males in the group during summer, but the presence of adult males may contribute to group fission during rut. We present a conceptual model in which we discuss how habitat, foraging, social behavior, and predation contribute to the fission and fusion of muskox groups.

The Role of the National Parks in the Preservation of National Culture and Traditions of Native Peoples

Tatyana Irisova1
1Russian International Academy of Tourism, Moscow, Russia

The national parks are a part of the system of unique natural-historical territories where especially valuable objects of nature and culture that have undergone little change are found in close co-existence. This especially applies to the national parks located in the subarctic areas, where because of great remoteness and sparse population, nature and aboriginal peoples are preserved in much of their primeval state. A vivid example of this is the Nature-Ethnic Park Beringia created in the Chukotka Autonomous Region. Located in the most remote northeast region of Russia, on the Chukotka Peninsula, the park is known for its unique northern nature, inhabited in the course of many centuries by paleoasiatic peoples: Chukchis and Eskimos, who over a large historical period preserved their ways of life and ethnic cultures that are in harmony with nature. The Chukotka Peninsula is the only place in Russia where an aboriginal population with the present count of 6,833 (75%) absolutely predominates and at the present time is compactly residing in the Native villages of the Chukotskiy and Providenskiy regions located a considerable distance from each other. The local Chukchis and Eskimos for the most part continue with their ancient occupations and traditions: the Eskimos mainly practice marine mammal hunting and the Chukchis marine mammal hunting and reindeer husbandry. However, these peoples who were successfully able to adapt to the hardships of northern nature over the course of many thousands of years appeared to be without protection against the disastrous influence of the western world that broke their traditional culture, customs and view of the world. In the 19th century alcohol dependence appeared among Native populations. During the Soviet period the enlarging of the Native villages led to the forced relocation of aboriginal groups and the depopulation of the greater part of the peninsula. Only twenty villages out of more than a hundred remained. The collectivization disastrously impacted the reindeer herding and national tribal relations that predominated among the Chukchis and Eskimos. The shift to a market economy created unemployment for the local population because most animal farms and fishing cooperatives closed. Without employment, the Native youth quickly began to get demoralized, which unavoidably leads to self-destruction and annihilation of ethos. Young Chukchis and Eskimos who left for Anadyr' or to the mainland received education and do not aspire to return to their native area; at one of the Beringia Days conferences there was even a suggestion made regarding the cultural re-adaptation of the aboriginal people. The question automatically arises: just what kind of work in Chukotka would help to resolve the occupation problem of the local population, subsequently preserving their distinctive character? Only the existence of the Nature-Ethnic Park Beringia can resolve this problem because the basic functions of the park include: 1. Preservation of the typical and unique ecosystem and ecological balance of the use of bio-resources in connection with the preservation and development of traditional nature use, that corresponds to the traditional way of life and economics of the indigenous population. 2. Preservation of the unique cultural heritage of paleoasiatic peoples. For this the active participation of the local population in tourism is assumed. Representatives of the Native people take the role of: * park rangers and inspectors, who enforce the preservation of the natural heritage of Chukotka * guides of sports, ecological, ethnographical and scientific expeditions and tours * entertainers who specialize in the organization and production of Native folklore programs * organizers of tours with elements of Native extreme (dog sled races, reindeer races, baidara [kayak] competition) * organizers of Native hunts for whales, walrus and other pinnipeds with the presence of tourists-observers * considering the availability of dog teams in each Native village there is a possibility to organize dog races along the route of Joseph Billing expedition (1785-91) on the northern coast of the peninsula * scientific staff of Beringia Park who specialize in studying the experiences of paleoasiatic peoples' historically proven rules of economy and nature use in the fragile natural surroundings of the north * organizers of meetings with the members of their tribes from Alaska and Canada One can get a degree in tourism in the new Anadyr Native college. This allows preparation for visitors centers and hotel complexes which include Native guides-interpreters and service personnel. Thus in every settlement of the peninsula there must be specialists working in the National Park in one or another capacity. They must be trained to educate and form commercial awareness among the Native population towards tourism that in turn will enhance the attractiveness of the park for tourists. At the same time, work in the National Park preserves surroundings familiar to the indigenous people and their traditional ways of life and will enrich them (the Native peoples) with new knowledge and enhance their Native self-awareness.

Fire in the Range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd

Kyle Joly1, Scott Rupp2, Terry Chapin3, Randi R. Jandt4
1National Park Service, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0626,
2School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
3Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
4BLM - Alaska Fire Service, USA

Wildfire is the dominant ecological driver in boreal forest ecosystems; however, it also affects tundra ecosystems. Fires effectively consume fruticose lichen, the primary winter forage for caribou (Rangifer tarandus), in both ecosystems. The Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH) ranges over vast tracks of tundra and boreal forest, covering most of northwest Alaska. While the fire regime of Interior Alaska boreal forests has received considerable attention, much less is known about fire regimes in the range of the WACH. We review information and inferences from recent studies on tundra fire regimes in Alaska for managing WACH winter range. We summarize fire regime data for this region and sub-regions within it, focusing on temporal trends. We also attempt to identify physiographic and meteorological factors that correlate with fire extent across this landscape. Climate warming may increase fire size and frequency within this region. Increased wildfire activity may substantially impact the vegetation, wildlife, and people within this region.

The Impacts of Hillslope Thermokarst Formation on Soils Structure in the Noatak National Preserve

Jeremy B. Jones1, William B. Bowden2, Michael N. Gooseff3, Andrew W. Balser4, Amanda J. Rinehart5, Aurora Bouchier6
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7972,
2Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA
3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
4Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA
5Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA
6Department of Geology and Geologic Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, 80401, USA

Hillslope thermokarst formation is a widespread phenomenon in arctic Alaska and results in the catastrophic collapse of soil structure and alters the route of soil and ground water flow through landscapes. We investigated the impacts of hillslope thermokarst formation on soil organic carbon and nutrient storage, and the chemistry of waters flowing from thermokarsts. In 2007, a series of hillslope thermokarst formations and associated water tracks were sampled in the Kelly River region of the Noatak National Preserve. From each thermokarst, soil cores and water samples were collected from soil within and outside of the formation. The loss of soil structure due to thermokarst formation leads to a loss of soil organic matter storage and appears to increase the hydrologic export of dissolved organic matter and nutrients. The storage of carbon and nitrogen in soil was substantially lower in hillslope thermokarst formations compared with reference, non-disturbed cores. In contrast, water flowing from thermokarsts is enriched in dissolved organic matter, inorganic nutrients and other solutes compared with water tracks flowing over intact tundra. With climatic warming and thawing of permafrost, hillslope thermokarst formation will likely increase. Following thermokarst formation, soil structure is fundamentally altered, which, in turn, will affect vegetation structure in arctic national parks and preserves.

An Ecological Land Survey for the Wrangells-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Torre Jorgenson1, Ken Stumpf2, Joanna Roth3, Trish Loomis4, Tim Cater5, Erik Pullman6, Michael Duffy7, Wendy Davis8
1ABR, Inc., PO Box 80410, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-6374,
2Geographic Resource Solutions, Arcata, CA, 95521, USA
3ABR, Inc., USA
4ABR, Inc., Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA
5ABR, Inc., USA
6ABR, Inc., USA
7ABR, Inc., USA
8ABR, Inc., USA

We performed an ecological land survey for the Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve (53,352 km2) during 20032008 that included integrated field surveys, ecological classification, and landcover and ecological mapping. Field surveys at 569 intensive plots collected information on the topographic, geomorphic, hydrologic, pedologic, and vegetative characteristics of boreal and maritime ecosystems across the entire range of environmental gradients. Individual ecological components (e.g., geomorphic unit, Alaska vegetation classification) were determined using standard classification schemes for Alaska. We also developed 67 plant associations through multivariate classification techniques. We used the hierarchical relationships among ecological components to develop 68 ecotypes (local-scale ecosystems) that best partition the variation in ecological characteristics across the entire range of aquatic and terrestrial environments. Soils described at 423 plots were classified into 53 soil subgroups. Two types of maps products were developed: landcover maps that use vegetation classes similar to the AVC classification, and ecosystem maps derived from the landcover maps through rule-based modeling. GRS developed the primary landcover map by preprocessing of 11 Landsat ETM scenes; developing unsupervised classifications to guide field surveys; developing spectral training areas by sampling spectrally homogenous patches by helicopter; developing a database linking spectral and vegetation characteristics; evaluating spectral signatures; classifying the vegetation type of each spectral signature using cut-point rules for the spectral database; performing a supervised classification of the scenes using the classified signatures; and reducing errors in the resulting scenes through rule-based modeling with ancillary data. We then develop an ecotype map, which differentiates closely related geomorphic, soil, and vegetation characteristics into 67 classes, through rule-based modeling involving maps of landcover, climatic regions, physiography, elevation, and slope. We then aggregated the 67 ecotypes into 25 soil landscapes based on the landscape-relationships analysis. This linkage of landcover maps with climatic, physiographic, and topographic variables to develop ecosystem maps will improve the ability of scientists and land managers to predict the response of ecosystems to human impacts, natural disturbance, and climatic change.

Transboundary Especially Protected Natural Territories and Their Role in the Protection of Nature in Northeast Asia

Anatoliy N. Kachur1
1Pacific Institute of Geography, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Primor'e, Russia

International relationships in the sphere of the protection of the environment and the preservation of ecosystems especially in the transboundary areas have followed a complicated path in their development. They followed a path from distrust and suspicion to growing mutual understanding. Scientists in their contacts exposed many global and regional ecological problems that require the immediate joint resolution of neighboring countries. At the end of the 20th century is became obvious that current models of nature use must be replaced, as the result of numerous ecological crises and the intensification of global problems connected with climate change, alteration in of the composition of the atmosphere, pollution, the loss of biological diversity and the degradation of ecosystems, and as a consequence of the exhaustion of the natural resource base and the continuous growth of demographic and social problems. There began to emerge in the world a new system of overall humanitarian priorities, based on the conscious necessity of a transition to a concept of sustainable development.
As of late the term "sustainable nature use" has been used in Russia which in fact is the Russian analog of "sustainable development" and describes the same concept. The most important task lying at the base of realization of the concept of sustainable development is the development of principles and methods to optimize mutual relations between humans and the environment. The most important component of sustainable development is the creation of preconditions for the absolute preservation of nature, its restoration. The primary method for this was and is the creation of an ecological framework consisting, first of all, of a system of especially protected natural territories. A distinct question is the issue of developing a strategy of sustainable development in transboundary territories that is in conditions where there are territories or aquatic areas belonging to two or more countries. Under this circumstance we in practice encounter the issue of the regionalization and transnationalization of especially protected natural territories. The processes of regionalization and transnationalization of especially protected natural territories are only just beginning in the world. This process is complicated and has an area of serious problems of an economic, political, and ethical character. So far it is early to speak of active mutual efforts between the especially protected natural territories of various countries of the world. However, already today the role of transboundary especially protected nature preserve areas is sufficiently great that together with the appearance of regional ecological networks it signifies the beginning of a new stage in the evolution of regional nature preservation – its transition from a local and regional level into a global one, that is, in practice, we have entered into the era of globalized national nature preservation networks. In the course of the last 15 years, the author has taken part in a series of works related to the development of plans for creation of national and transboundary especially protected natural territories. From 1993 to 1995 he directed the work for the feasibility study for the establishment of the national and nature parks in the territory of the Primorskiy Krai: Kema-Amginskiy, Verkhne-Ussuriiskiy (Zov Tigre), Sredne-Ussuriiski (Udegei Legend) national parks and the Southern Primor'e Nature Park. As a part of a group of international authors in 1993 – 1995 he took part in the feasibility study of the system of transboundary especially protected nature preserves in the Ussuri River basin and the surrounding territories. From 1994 to 2000 together with P. Baklanov he directed the work on the feasibility study for the Nature-Ethnic Park Beringia, to be a future part of an international especially protected Nature Park Beringia. In 1997 – 1999 in the framework of the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Project) project Diagnostic Analysis of the Basin of Lake Khanka he directed works on the development study of the international zapovednik Lake Khanka. In 2002 – 2003 he took an active part in works in the framework of the GEF (Global Environmental Facility) project Strategic Plan for Works in the Area of Nature Preservation in the Territory of TumenNET for the creation of a transboundary especially protected natural area in the lower course of the Tumannaya River. In 2003 – 2004 he took part as an expert in the feasibility study for the Transborder Biosphere Reserve on the Lower Course of the Tumannaya River.

The Participation of the Governmental Institution, The Nature-Ethnic Park Beringia, in Programs and Projects for the Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage

Nataliya Kalyuzhina1, Artur V. Apalyu2, Aleksandr G. Borovik3
1Nature Ethnic Park Beringia, Provideniya, Chukotka, Russia
2Nature Ethnic Park Beringia, Provideniya, Chukotka, Russia
3Nature Ethnic Park Beringia, Provideniya, Chukotka, Russia

In accordance with the regulatory document, Temporary Provisions, the Nature-Ethnic Park "Beringia" is an institution which preserves nature. Natural as well as cultural complexes and objects, archeological monuments are located within the Park. The preservation of natural and cultural heritage in this unique area in the Bering Strait region has been and remains the primary goal.
Over the period of its 15-year history certain staff members took part in much scientific research in its territory or helped in one way or another with the realization of this research. Many works and monographs include observations of the staff of inspectors on mammals and birds inhabiting the coast of the peninsula, plants, and natural phenomena. Since 2003, when Boris Vdovin became the director, the condition of the funds and the archive that had been missing the documentation of the 10-year work period, has been analyzed. Mr. Vdovin came to the conclusion that the work of the Park should follow more closely the regulations of an institution which is dealing with the problems of preservation of natural territory. He planned basic programs within the Park and also defined the possibilities for the Park to take part in Russian and international projects and programs. In fact, from this time the Park is living a different history, the full meaning of which comes down to the most complete realization of its main goal. Today the directorship of the Park plans programs and projects, the fulfillment of which is based on the resources which the Park possesses. Establishing some kind of plans for the future does not make sense due to the fact that we are currently awaiting a decision on the establishment of the federal park in this area and therefore we are uncertain about the future functioning of the regional park. Today we realistically evaluate our opportunities and structure our work according to them. However, we believe deeply that our work will be valued and appreciated in time. To observe, to document, to analyze, to prognosticate—these mean to preserve. The internal programs and projects are created on the basis of the plan of scientific work and with the goal of summarizing information about the territory of the park in all aspects.
The description of sites. Over two years, a detailed collection of data on the observations of the areas, creating their full description, is being put together. It is realized on the basis of the observations of the inspectors, using scientific literature. The inspectors also gather information about the local place names and legends.
Chronicle of the natural and cultural condition of the territory of the Park. An annual document, which contains the results of the basic observations of the inspectors for the year, and also an analysis of received results, explaining the natural processes observed and the reasons for their occurrence, as well as the prognosis for their future development. The chronicle for the year 2007 is prepared, and much painstaking labor and time are required in creating the electronic version.
Training of the staff of inspectors. Seminars were held in Provideniya in 2007 and 2008. Compilation of maps with place symbols of large concentrations of animals (bird rookeries, walrus haul-outs, breeding areas, places of winter hibernation, and others) and changes occurring in them. Documentation of the indigenous inhabitants' knowledge of them.
Ecology of the territory. Sources of anthropogenic impacts, their classification. The discovery and study of floral and faunal indicators. For example, an opinion poll of the inhabitants on coloration of the harvested ascidicea, also known as sea squirts. Compilation of the map of the location of rusting barrels and metal construction in the Provideniya Region. Taking part in an international seminar on the program for cleaning of the area from barrels (Anadyr, 2007). Preparation of the documentation for the proposal to include the territory of Provideniya Region in the program. Conducting the analysis of the issue of dumping garbage in the Park areas.
Creation of maps of places of traditional subsistence. Poll of inhabitants on the most valuable places of subsistence. Creation of maps that incorporate information on the traditional lifestyles of indigenous inhabitants is necessary to avoid violations during the development of planned industrial use of the settlements' territory.
Ecological education work. Project for attracting the youth of Native villages to the cleaning up of the territory and the creation of a Native village image, for example in the village of New Chaplino. Cooperation with the regional youth organization "Shkola Stranstvii" (The School of Voyages) of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Opening of the Park website. The publication of booklets with routes. In the framework of collaboration with the colleagues from the National Park Service, publication of a joint brochure about the Park in a Russian-English version.
Taking part in the International Polar Year project (IPY) 2007-2008. n April, 2007, at a seminar of inspectors a decision was made to take part in the IPY, and specifically: during the observations of the inspectors special attention would be given to the condition and movements of ice, to the behavior of the sea mammals in certain ice conditions, and to conclusions about occurring changes. In the fall of last year the Heritage Institute (Moscow) as a part of a creative contract for collaboration with the "Beringia" Park, extended us an invitation to take part in the project "SIKU" (Project no. 166 of the Program of the Scientific Committee IPY 2007-2008), the only project in the IPY framework on both sides of the Bering Strait. Participation of the Park in the project attracted us mostly because of the opportunity to contribute to the idea of preserving the traditional knowledge of the of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic of the sea ice and weather phenomena in this period of global climate change, and all of the above completely answers our goal and tasks and reflects the essence of the nature-ethnic purpose of the Park. For us, also important is the idea of directly involving indigenous people in participation in the project, which gives them a sense of their co-participation in the observations on the changes that are taking place, and the opportunity to share their marine hunting experience and their traditional ecological knowledge. We, the employees of the Park, working in the land of the indigenous people and living among them, mostly sharply understand the problem of the passing of generations, and with them also knowledge and tradition. In the course of the last 20 years, of which we have been eyewitnesses, not only the methods of hunting but also the attitude of the younger generation to traditional hunting have changed remarkably. It obviously comes to that in the next one or two decades, the traditional marine mammal hunt would be lost.
Taking part in the above-mentioned and other programs and projects allows us to acquire valuable experience and to plan our work in the future so that we can assure that in our territory the nature-preserving legislation is followed, and provide for the preservation of the spiritual heritage of the indigenous peoples. The majority of the employees of the Park are committed to their work, are proud of it, and put out maximum effort for its full accomplishment. More than that, this territory for everyone is our native home, many of us are indigenous people, we deeply understand all the problems related to the relationships between nature, traditional culture and humanity that develop today in this land and we try to find ways to resolve them. We are deeply not indifferent to everything that is taking place.
In the beginning of this report I mentioned the document which forms the basis of the work of the Park, defining its goals and problems, our rules and responsibilities, but, unfortunately, this document has a temporary status. This temporariness contributes a great deal to our uncertainty and doesn't allow us to develop our work aimed at the complete achievement of the goal of preservation of the natural and cultural heritage in one of the small territories of the Russian part of Beringia. We live in hope for the soonest permanent status.

Welcome Remarks

Sergey Kislyakov1
1Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

The Ice We Want Our Children to Know: Review of SIKU Project Activities 2007-2008

Igor Krupnik1
1Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Antropology MRC 112, PO Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA, Phone 202-633-1901,

The paper presents an overview of the ongoing international project under the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008 program, with an emphasis on its activities in Alaska and Siberia funded by the 'Shared Beringia' program. The project is being carried out from Bering Strait to Greenland by partnering research teams from five nations, U.S., Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Russia, and France. The key goal of the SIKU project is to document indigenous people's knowledge on recent changes in polar sea ice and weather, as well as their daily use of ice-covered marine environment under the impact of climate warming and rapid retreat of arctic sea ice. Indigenous experts from twenty northern communities participate in SIKU activities that include local ice and weather monitoring; interviewing of elders and experienced hunters; preparation of dictionaries ('lexicons') of local sea ice terms in indigenous languages; documentation of people's perspectives on the impacts of climate and sea ice change in their areas. These and other activities will fulfill the critical mission of the SIKU project, namely, to advance northern people's participation in IPY 2007–2008 and to secure their knowledge and observations for future generations. Individual SIKU teams are exploring the use of the new technologies that can be introduced to northern communities to enhance local weather and ice monitoring, ice navigation, preservation of elders' knowledge, and public education. The paper describes major activities undertaken by the SIKU project teams in local communities in Alaska and Russian Chukotka during 2007–2008. Daily observations of ice and weather conditions by local monitors have been started in 2007 in five Alaskan communities (Gambell, Wales, Shaktoolik, Barrow, and Tununak) and in four communities on the Chukchi Peninsula, Siberia (Uelen, Chaplino, Sireniki, and Yanrakynnot). Dictionaries of local sea ice terms have been compiled in Wales, Shishmaref, and Barrow in Alaska and in Lavrentiya, Sireniki, and Uelen in Siberia. Various products of the SIKU initiative will eventually find its place in local educational and heritage materials, websites and other electronic formats, and in scholarly publications under the International Polar Year 2007–2008 program.

Status and Problems of Biodiversity and Traditional Nature Use by Aboriginal Peoples in Beringovsky Region (Chukotka)

Evgeniy Alekseevich Kuznetsov1
1UNEP/GEF ECORA, Moscow, Russia

In 2002 Beringovsky region (Chukotsky Autonomous Okrug) was identified as one of the Model Areas for Global Environment Facility and UNEP project "Integrated Ecosystem Approach to Conserve Biodiversity and Minimize Habitat Fragmentation in Three Model Areas in the Russian Arctic" (UNEP/GEF ECORA project). One of main criteria for nominating the region as a Model Area was richness of biodiversity and presence of aboriginal peoples with traditional lifestyle and nature use. At the project's inception in 2004 scientific knowledge on biodiversity in the region was out of date; the latest ornithological studies in the region were carried out 30 years earlier, and almost the same situation existed with other studies. The most serious changes happened in the field of traditional nature use during 1990s after the break-up of the USSR. The presentation will include some results of studies on current status of biodiversity and traditional nature use undertaken during ECORA project implementation in 2004-2007.

Interpreting the Spatial Heterogeneity of Lake Drying in the Minchumina Basin, Central Alaska

Amy S. Larsen1, Dave Verbyla2
1Central Alaska Network Inventory and Monitoring Program, National Park Service, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA,
2Department of Forest Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbansk, 366 O'Neill Building, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7200, USA

The Minchumina Basin is a large wetland complex located in the northwestern
corner of Denali National Park and Preserve. Underlain by a mosaic of
discontinuous and continuous permafrost, the wetland is the site of Central
Alaska Network's Shallow Lake Monitoring program. Here we aim to understand
the hydrologic dynamics of this diverse system. Understanding the physical
structure and temporal variation in lake level can provide critical
information to interpreting the spatial heterogeneity in lake drying found
throughout the boreal forest.

Lake surface area estimates were made using RADARSAT imagery collected
monthly over the course of the 2006 growing season in the Minchumina Basin.
We used these images to identify wetlands within the park that experience
varying degrees of connectivity. We also measured lake surface area in high
altitude infrared photographs taken in 1979 and 1980 and compared those
measurements to Landsat tm images taken in 2007. These measurements provide
us with an estimate of long-term water level declines. Using ground
monitoring techniques we try to relate bathymetry, water quality, soil type
and distribution of discontinuous and continuous permafrost to patterns of
connectivity and lake drying.

On-the-ground field observations and ground-truthing demonstrate a variety
of limitations in the interpretation of remote sensed data used for
estimating lake area. Particularly noteworthy is the measurable decline in
water level on what appear to be stable lake ecosystems.

Climate Change Scenarios for Alaska�s Northernmost National Parks

Wendy Loya1, Brendan O'Brian2, Anna Springsteen3, Ofer Gelmond4, Scott Rupp5
1Alaska Region, The Wilderness Society, 705 Christensen Drive, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA
2Alaska Region, The Wilderness Society, 705 Christensen Drive, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA
3Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757200, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA
4Alaska Region, The Wilderness Society, 705 Christensen Drive, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA
5Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757200, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

Substantial warming has already occurred at high northern latitudes over the last half-century, and Arctic summers are now warmer than at any other time in the last 400 years. Between 1954 to 2003, high northern latitudes warmed by as much as 2 to 3C. Changes in precipitation and moisture balance during this same time period have proven more difficult to document, but most regions seem to have experienced an increase in precipitation over the last several decades. In order to understand what future changes might occur, data from a composite of five down-scaled global circulation models was used to estimate decadal averages of future temperature and precipitation values within the Northern Alaska National Parks. Models were based on a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions through the middle of the century and then a reduction as alternatives become prevalent. Results suggest an average increase in temperature of approximately 1°F per decade, with winter temperatures increasing most dramatically. Although precipitation is predicted to increase, conditions may actually become drier due to increased moisture losses due to higher evapotranspiration associated with warmer temperatures and a longer growing season. Data such as these can be used now to develop management plans that can be adapted as monitoring and assessment data refine the predictions.

Current Development of Native Decorative and Applied Art and Souvenir Making in Chukotka Region

Vitaliy E. Manasbaev1
1Chukotka Heritage Museum Center, Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

Contents: 1). Introduction: The art of the Northern craftsmen attracts with its bright originality, and peculiarity combined with its usefulness in everyday life. 2). Characteristic peculiarities on Old Bering Sea and thematic engravings dating to the beginning of the twentieth century. 3). The main stages of craft creation. 4). This theme is very timely because it is related to the problems of the process of development.

Coastal Erosion Since 1950 Along the Southeast Chukchi Sea, Alaska

William F. Manley1, James W. Jordan2, Leanne R. Lestak3, Owen K. Mason4, Eric G. Parrish5
1INSTAAR, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, 450 UCB, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA, Phone 303-735-1300, Fax 303-492-6388,
2Dept. of Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH, 03431, USA
3INSTAAR, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA
4Geoarch Alaska, Anchorage, AK, 99509, USA
5INSTAAR, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA

Coastal environments at high latitudes are experiencing rapid change. Coastal erosion threatens a variety of nearshore marine, terrestrial, and freshwater habitats, and may be accelerating with arctic warming. To better understand impacts for national parks in northwestern Alaska, a collaborative study has begun to document coastal change in the southeast Chukchi Sea. A field-based component includes: repeat photography; mapping and description of sediments and landforms; and periodic ground-truth measurements of shoreline change since 1987 at 27 coastal monitoring sites. A geospatial component began with creation of digital orthoimagery over a large area (>6000 km2) at high resolution (1.0 m or better) for three "timeslices": approx. 1950, approx. 1980, and 2003. Spatial analysis of bluff retreat was conducted for selected areas near the monitoring sites using the USGS DSAS extension to ArcGIS. Results indicate that the GIS-based measurements have acceptably low errors (+/- 0.1 m/yr or better). Transects with 20-m spacing reveal high spatial variability related to coastal morphologies and processes. A comparison of the two time intervals suggests temporal variability also. For example, bluff erosion rates at monitoring sites have decreased after 1980 for the north-facing coast of Bering Land Bridge National Park (BELA) while increasing after 1980 for the west-facing coast of Cape Krusenstern National Monument (CAKR). In general, most of the >600-km-long coast from Wales to Kivalina has experienced erosion in the past five decades, with long-term average rates of 0 to -3 m/yr. Direct impacts include beach and bluff retreat, overwash deposition, migration or closure of inlets and lagoons, capture of thaw-lake basins, and release of sediment and organic carbon to nearshore waters. Higher temporal resolution is needed, but the coastal ecosystems in the region appear to be sensitive to: the frequency and intensity of storm events, increasing temperatures, permafrost melting, sea-level rise, and the increasing length of the summer ice-free season.

Geomorphic, Biotic, and Human Responses to Past Climate Changes in Eastern Beringia: The Importance of Moisture

D. H. Mann1, P. Groves2, M. L. Kunz3
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Irving I Building, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA,
2Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Irving I Building, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA
3Bureau of Land Management, 1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks, AK, 99708

Since 1993 we have been piecing together the landscape history of the Arctic Foothills along the northern flank of the Brooks Range. The study region stretches from the Killik River west to the Etivluk River and from the Brooks Range north to the Beaufort Sea. We've investigated three main topics: the geomorphic history of hill slopes and floodplains, the changing composition of the large mammal fauna, shifts in the nature of the vegetation cover, and the timing of human occupation. Our focus has been on the last glacial to interglacial transition circa 13,000 to 8000 14C yr BP. This time interval saw dramatic climate changes and could hold important lessons for us about how arctic landscapes respond to sudden episodes of climatic warming. Geomorphic responses to warming at the end of the last ice age were dominated by rapid and radical changes in aggradation and down-cutting along stream systems of all sizes, even in valleys that lacked glaciers in their headwaters during the glacial maximum. Since the floodplains of rivers and creeks are key sites for productive plant communities and important sources of wind-blown loess, changes in the extent and age of floodplains probably had pervasive impacts on the overall landscape ecology of the region. A series of closely dated stratigraphic sections along the Nigu, Etivluk, and Ikpikpuk Rivers, as well as along a number of smaller streams, reveal that valleys aggraded after 13,000 14C yr BP at rates that in some cases exceeded 2-3 m per year. This represents a tremendous influx of sediment from tributary streams and, ultimately, from the surrounding slopes. This sediment was probably mobilized by warming of the ground and thickening of the active layer, the near-surface layer of the ground that thaws every summer. Ground that was permafrost during the last ice age thawed out and slid down slope, overwhelming the capacity of the stream systems to transport it away. This period of rapid valley aggradation ended ca. 11,000 14C yr BP at the beginning of the Younger Dryas cold reversal. Valley fills were deeply eroded during this roughly 1000 year interval that saw a return to near glacial conditions in many parts of Alaska. Around 10,000 14C yr BP, at the close of the Younger Dryas, rapid aggradation resumed in valleys and continued to around 8500 years ago. A widespread vegetation response to the end of the ice age was the initiation of peat deposition. This paludification process took off around 12,500 14C yr BP, seems to have slowed during the Younger Dryas, and then resumed after 10,000 14C yr BP. By about 8500 14C yr BP, organic soils had assumed their present wide distribution in the region. Lake levels reconstructed from a section through a drained lake on the Etivluk River suggest high levels between 12,500 and 11,000 14C yr BP, then lower lake levels during the Younger Dryas, followed by another high stand beginning at 10,000 14C yr BP. Scattered records of dated poplar wood from stream deposits suggest cottonwood trees expanded their range north of the Brooks Range before 11,000 14C yr BP. They seem to have died back to local, refugial populations during the Younger Dryas but then expanded again between 10,000 and around 8000 14C yr BP. After 8000 14C yr BP, they largely disappeared from the region. The history of large mammals in this region is discussed in detail in another paper by Pamela Groves et al. Suffice it to say here that a large series of 14C-dated bones suggest there were striking shifts in the megafauna living north of the Brooks Range between ca. 40,000 years ago and the present. Humans were living in the Arctic Foothills during some of the most radical climate changes seen during the last 14,000 years. Dates on hearths at the Mesa site and the Tuluak Hill site in the Noatak drainage suggest people were living in the region between 11,600 and 11,200 14C yr BP. They seem to have moved away during the Younger Dryas, but then returned near the end of this cold interval. We speculate that the climate was too harsh during the Younger Dryas for people to cope with conditions there using stone-age technology. The Mesa site was used again as a hunting lookout some time between 10,300 and 9700 14C yr BP. Due to the age plateau in the 14C timescale that occurred globally around this time, it is impossible to say whether this occupation spanned several decades or several centuries. The interesting thing is that people were living in the Arctic Foothills during the dramatic environmental shifts that occurred at the end of the Younger Dryas. This suggests that, just as they are today, people were specialists at using disturbed ecosystems. In this case, we speculate they were exploiting a short-term population high in some prey species, probably either bison or caribou. What generalizations can we draw about the key processes that drove the responses of this arctic landscape to climatic changes? Most of the changes described above can be related to changes in moisture. Thus the rapid infilling of valleys by sediment can be related to the erosion of soils and regolith caused by saturation with some combination of the water released from deep thawing and that derived from increased precipitation. Poplar trees spread in response to warmer, wetter summers that extended their physiological range limits further north and created their favored habitat of recently deposited gravel bars. Peat deposition began as soon as there was enough moisture to maintain anaerobic conditions and retard decomposition. Once begun, paludification would have triggered sweeping changes in the vegetation cover through its effects on plant nutrition and, in particular, on soil acidity. Of all the changes caused by increasing moisture after 10,000 14C yr BP, the spread of organic soils was probably the one with the most widespread impacts on the rest of the ecosystem. Both people and megafauna probably found tussock tundra difficult to traverse, and the associated mosquitoes would have posed a constant plague in summer. Today's moist acidic tundra probably has a much reduced nutritive base for large grazers compared to the non-paludified landscape available during intervals of the ice age. In regard to our ability to predict the future impacts of warming climate on arctic landscapes, it is sobering to realize that water balance is probably the variable least well-predicted by global climate models.

The Arctic Strategy: Conserving U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Trust Resources in a Changing Arctic

Philip Martin1, Jeff Adams2, Larry Bright3, David Payer4, Deborah Rocque5, Jim Zelenak6
1Fairbanks Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Room 110, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA
2U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Room 110, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA
3U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Room 236, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA
5Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Room 110, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA
6Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Room 110, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA

Climate data indicate that warming in arctic Alaska will occur at twice the rate of the global average, placing the region's unique natural and cultural resources at risk. Terrestrial and near-shore arctic ecosystems support a diversity of migratory birds and mammals, including two species of threatened eiders, threatened polar bears, and four caribou herds. These ecosystems also provide freshwater and brackish/marine habitats for fish. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other federal, state, and private lands on the North Slope provide important subsistence resources for several rural communities. Arctic ecosystems occur nowhere else within the U.S., and species adapted to the Arctic have limited options for northward range shifts in response to habitat change. Melting permafrost and changing precipitation and hydrological patterns will affect not only the distribution and availability of vegetation communities and aquatic habitats, but also the timing of animal migration and plant and insect emergence, with potentially profound consequences for many species. Loss of shore-fast ice and melting permafrost are combining to expose shorelines to rapid erosion. Diminished glacial discharge into arctic rivers will impact fish spawning and over-wintering habitats. The Arctic Strategy is a partnership among scientists and land managers that will assess the sensitivity of habitats and populations of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trust species to identify those most vulnerable to climate change. We will seek strategies to mitigate climate impacts through conservation planning and adaptive management. Conservation implementation will be integrated with infrastructure planning, and will be coordinated among land management agencies at multiple levels of government, as well as with local communities and international partners.

Smiths Longspur Ecology: Studies in the Brooks Range, Alaska, 2006 through 2008.

Teri L. McMillan1, Melanie Flamme2, Steve Kendall3, Cashell Villa4
1National Park Service, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, 4175 Geist Rd., Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-457-5752,
2National Park Service, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and Gates of the Arctic National Park and, 4175 Geist Rd, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-457-5752,
3U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 101 12th Ave., Room 236, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA, Phone 907-456-0303,
4U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 101 12th Ave., Room 236, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA, Phone 907-456-0275,

Smith's Longspur (Calcarius pictus) is a species of concern that breeds on National Park and Refuge lands in the Brooks Range, Alaska. There have been few previous studies of Smith's Longspurs on their breeding grounds in Alaska, but to develop effective conservation measures we need an understanding of population abundance, distribution, and habitat requirements. Collaborative efforts to study Smith's Longspur in the Brooks Range began in 2006. Our main objectives were to document distribution, abundance, and habitat associations for Smith's Longspurs and to use this information to develop models to predict their distribution across northern Alaska. Smith's Longspur surveys of three sites in 2006 and 2007 produced density estimates ranging from 0.29 birds/sq km to 0.5 birds/sq km. Repeated surveys conducted in 2007 suggest peak detectability to be the second week in June, with detections decreasing later in the month during incubation and after hatch. Smith's Longspur breed on well drained slopes in broad glacial valleys within 1 km of creeks or ephemeral runoff. Surveys in 2008 will provide information about the habitat associations of Smith's Longspurs breeding in wetlands within the forested landscape on the south side of the Brooks Range. Preliminary predictive modeling of presence and absence across the Brooks Range indicates distribution is much wider than previously thought.

Arctic Echoes: Perspectives of a Small Gathering of Wilderness Advocates Exploring Our Species Relationship to a Changing World.

Teri L. McMillan1
1National Park Service, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-457-5752,

Dirk Kempthorne's Report on the Future of America's National Parks and the resulting Centennial Initiative encourages parks to explore ways to prepare for the next century. One of the many issues the Centennial Initiative hopes to address is: what is the role of national parks in connecting people to the natural world? In July 2008, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in cooperation with the University of Alaska Fairbanks held the Takahula Lake Wilderness Experiential Symposium to address this basic issue as well as other themes such as: what is wildness and wilderness, what is the value to society in protecting wild places, and what is the National Park Service's role in shaping our relationship to the natural world. The Symposium was comprised of ten invited scholars, scientists, authors, National Park representatives, and an indigenous elder. Each participant introduced different perspectives on wildness, wilderness management, and our connection to wilderness in light of global environmental and cultural changes. The result is a deeper understanding of the value of humans relationship to nature and wildness and how policies and decisions can shape that relationship for future generations.

Eelgrass in Beringia: Past and Future Changes

C. Peter McRoy1, Maribeth Murray2
1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
2Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a submerged marine flowering plant that forms extensive meadows in shallow, protected seawaters from the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Espenberg, the northern limit, in the Chukchi Sea. Eelgrass meadows from Pacific populations colonized the coastal Bering and Chukchi seas after the rise of sea level to its more or less present stand, about 4000 ybp. Where they occur, eelgrass stands enrich local food webs and biological diversity. The northernmost eelgrass stands developed in concert with early human occupation of the Seward Peninsula. The biological structure and growth of the plant leads to creation of anoxic sediments that can be a repository of evidence, as such sediments are known to be, of past conditions, human activity and biological communities. The eelgrass meadow at Cape Espenberg is poised to be a source for new populations in the Arctic as climate warming alters the coast.

Sustaining a Healthy Human-Walrus Relationship in Beringia

Vera Metcalf1, Martin Robards2
1Kawerak Inc., PO Box 948, Nome, AK, 99762, USA, Phone 907-443-4380,
2Marine Mammal Commission, 4340 East-West highway, Room 700, Bethesda, MD, 20814, USA, Phone 301-504-0087, Fax 301-504-0099,

The rapidly changing arctic environment has prompted concern about the impacts to marine mammals and those that depend on them. A review of the various impacts was recently published in a special edition of the journal Ecological Applications. Here, we summarize our contribution to that effort, which focused on the challenges facing co-managers and hunters of walrus in the dynamic Beringian environment. We describe how the ability of coastal walrus hunters to access, harvest, transport, store and utilize walrus is affected by a dynamic suite of endogenous and exogenous factors, including ecological, social, economic, and political conditions. Impacts specifically as a result of a changing climate will affect subsistence hunters within the context of these diverse and sometimes global factors. We finish by highlighting some of research areas relating to climate change that might contribute to the overall health of the human-walrus relationship.

Heavy Metal Pollution in Cape Krusenstern National Monument: Monitoring and Assessment along the Red Dog Mine Haul Road

Peter N. Neitlich1
1National Park Service, 41A Wandling Road, Winthrop, WA, 98862, USA, Phone 509-996-3917,

The Red Dog Mine, the world's largest zinc mine, transports millions of tons of Zn and Pb concentrates across 32 km of National Park Service lands to reach its shipping port. In 2001 the National Park Service released a report describing patterns of heavy metal pollution in Cape Krusenstern National Monument (CAKR), Alaska. Pb, Cd, and Zn originating from haul trucks and other vehicles was found to be widely dispersed within CAKR, but levels decayed logarithmically as a function of distance from the haul road. Since that time, NPS and USGS have done several studies on impacts to vegetation and sublethal effects on fauna. Significant impacts to lichen species and communities were observed out to 1000 m from the haul road, and a contaminant profile was created to predict damage on lands not surveyed based on modeled deposition levels. Areas along the border zone in Noatak National Preserve--10 km from the Red Dog Mine Site--are at the lowest threshold values at which damage may occur. Effects on birds and small mammals were restricted to sublethal effects and were consistent with the results of a large risk assessment commissioned by the mine. NPS also conducted a remeasurement of contaminant levels, finding significant decreases along most of the haul road corridor. These decreases are most likely due to dust control measures implemented by the mine. A current Environmental Impact Statement supplement will develop alternatives which are likely to affect the future of fugitive dust deposition in CAKR.

DIG-Digitally Integrated Guide-National Parks: Scientists in Alaska Scenery project aims to engage the public in informal environmental education by highlighting scientist�s research in video/audio podcasts. �It will capitalize on evolving user friendly video enabled devices. It will allow the park visitor to view/listen to podcasts where the research takes place.

Elizabeth O'Connell1, Robert Winfree2, Christie Anastsia3, Jim Pfeiffenberger4, Gregory Newby5
1Wondervisions, 2527 NW O'Brien Court, Bend, OR, 97701, USA, Phone 541-312-2419
2National Park Service, 240 W 5th Avenue - Office 521, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA,
3Murie Science and Learning Center, National Park Service, Po Box 9, Denali National Park, AK, 99755, USA, Phone 907-683-6440,
4Ocean Science and Learning Center, National Park Service, PO Box 1727, Seward, AK, 99664, USA,
5Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 756020, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

Decoratively Ornamented Products of the Ancient Eskimo Settlement of Kivak (Ancient Bering Sea Culture and Punuk), Nature-Ethnic Park Beringia, Providensky Region of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

Aleksandr A. Orekhov1
1Northeastern State University (NESU), Magadan, Russia

In 2006-2008, an archeological team from NESU researched the ancient Eskimo settlement Kivak (64º15' 36" N, 172º 46' 26" W). One semi-subterranean type dwelling was studied. When it was excavated, two cultural layers were exposed: Punuk and Ancient Bering Sea. Household goods and tools for hunting, marine hunting, fishing, coastal and tundra gathering, and ceramics were discovered here. They were made from the bone and antler of animals (predominantly walrus tusk), skin, wood, stone (predominantly slate and flint), baleen and clay. A large part of the items were covered with cut-through, graceful, intricate Ancient Bering Sea decorative patterns. The details were mainly those of the harpoon complex, blades, buttons, handles and others. Some of the products are unique. The ornamentation on the items made by the Punuk is less and simpler. A stratigraphy sequence of the Bering Sea and Punuk cultures allows for correlation of their chronology and typology and also for obtaining new materials for resolving the problem of their succession.

Protecting Natural and Cultural Heritage Resources in a Time of Rapid Transformation of the Economy and the Environment in the Kamchatka Region of Russia

Bill Overbaugh1, Peter Fix2, Linda Kruger3, Dan McCollum4, David Ostergren5, Alan Watson6
1Bureau of Land Management, USA,
2University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA,
3USDA Forest Service, PNW, USA,
4USDA Forest Service, RMRS, USA,
5Northern Arizona University, USA, David.Ostergren@NAU.EDU
6Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, USA,

Sustainable ecotourism development is often described as having four basic aspects requiring in-depth understanding and consideration: visitation, economics, financing, and the environment. There were widespread effects on many aspects of Russia's Far East after the Russian government economic default in 1998. Russian citizens struggled on limited income through 2002, though estimates ranked Russia third in the world for the number of billionaires. An emerging part of society has been the managers in Russian industry that receive high wages and demonstrate increased interest in travel and tourism within Russia and across Europe. The national government is paying off debt ahead of time, consumers are reporting very low debt, and new growth in the economy is anticipated. Russians have a long tradition of nature-based activities near home, including hiking, cross-country skiing, viewing nature, and relaxing at spas or dachas. The Kamchatka Peninsula, however, is emerging as a nature based vacation destination in Russia. Federal and regional protected areas are attracting and host Russian and international tourists. A cooperative study in 2007 and 2008 brought Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Fish & Wildlife Service managers and scientists in Alaska together with university scientists, Kamchatka managers and UNDP representatives to better understand the visitation and economics aspects of sustainable tourism development in Kamchatka. In a survey of over 1300 tourist visitors to Kamchatka, over half were from Russia, followed by the U.S., Germany and France. In economic terms, however, visitors reporting in euros or dollars spent over $3,000 per trip, while those reporting in rubles spent an average of $1125 per trip. Where these expenditures were made obviously varied by country of origin, also. In the near future, Russia expects a breakthrough in economic gains, with a potential significant rise in consumption and personal income. Current and anticipated spending patterns of discretionary income among Russians could greatly influence transition of this relatively low density frontier in the Far East of Russia.

On the Difficulty to Gain Regionally Representative Measurements in National Parks

Debasish Pai Mazumder1, Nicole Mölders2
1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7618,
2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Geophysical Institute & College of Natural Science and Mathematics, 903 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7320, USA,

Due to power logistic reasons and to maintain the attractiveness to the tourist, observational sites in national parks can often not be placed in those locations that would be optimal for obtaining representative regional values. The location of sites and coarseness of observational networks in national parks may introduce uncertainty in the reliability of regional observational values. To estimate this uncertainty related to network density and/or design, a case study has been performed over Siberia by using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations for July and December, 2005. Regional averages for various meteorological and soil quantities determined for areas of 2.8° x 2.8° based on all WRF data are considered as "reference". Regional averages determined from four artificial networks with 500, 400, 200, and 100 randomly taken WRF grid-points as "sites" and 411 "sites" that correspond to the locations of a real network are compared with the reference regional averages. The real network has appreciable difficulties in reproducing the reference regional averages for all quantities because its non-uniform site distribution misrepresents the landscape. Its biases in regional averages of sea-level pressure, wind-speed, 2m-temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, short- and long-wave radiation reach up to 140 hPa (160 hPa), 2.8 m/s (8 m/s), 12 K (20 K), 40% (24%), 4 mm/d (9 mm/d), 140 Wm-2 (100 Wm-2) and 60 Wm-2 (100 Wm-2), in July (December). Such errors can strongly affect the ability to assess fire danger and the possibility of flash floods in national parks. The greatest errors occur in coastal and mountainous terrain. The 100-sites-network has some difficulties in reproducing the reference sea-level pressure due to its low density. The artificial networks with 200 sites or more reproduce the reference regional averages, trends and variability for all quantities.

Recent Notable Floristic Records from Northwestern Alaska

Carolyn L. Parker1, Steffi Ickert-Bond2
1University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium, P.O. Box 756960, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7109, Fax 907-474-1987,
2University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium, Dept. of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-6960, USA, Phone 907-474-6277,

Botanical surveys in northwestern Alaska, including NPS-I&M Arctic Network Parklands inventories, have made several significant contributions to our baseline knowledge of the regional flora. Three species new to science have been described and published: Parrya nauruaq, Primula anvilensis, and Douglasia beringensis. The occurrence of six species, previously known only from the Russian Far East and westward, have been documented in northwestern Alaska: Potentilla fragiformis, Ranunculus monophyllus, Saussurea triangulata, Hierochloe annulata, Calamagrostis tenuis, and Kobresia filifolia ssp. subfilifolia. Furthermore, major westward and northward range extensions have been documented for several species linking northwestern Alaska with the circumpolar high arctic (Draba pauciflora), the Canadian arctic (Festuca edlundiae and X_Dupoa labradorica), and with the endemic-rich East Beringia region (Oxytropis tananensis, Lupinus kuschei, Symphyotrichum yukonense, Carex deflexa, Eriophorum viridicarinatum, and Schizachne purpurascens).

The University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium (ALA) database is now accessible over the internet ( This resource includes translated (Russian to English) label data for our Chukotka collections, a project funded by the NPS-Shared Beringian Heritage Program, and a link to a worldwide mapping program. Therefore all our vascular specimen records, including these new findings and the results of the recent NPS-I&M inventories throughout Alaska, are readily available on-line. Many specimens are already linked to high-resolution herbarium specimen images, and an imaging project that will include all ALA specimens continues.

Future botanical inventory efforts on both sides of the Bering Strait will certainly yield additional new records and an increased understanding of the rich floristic Beringian heritage we share.

Atmospheric Input of Contaminants Stemming from Ship Emissions in Southwest Alaska National Parks

Stacy E. Porter1, Nicole Molders2
1Department of Atmospheric Science, Geophysical Institute & College of Natural Science and Mathematics, USA, Phone 907-474-5606,
2Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks , Fairbanks, AK, USA

The national parks of coastal southwest Alaska are seemingly untouched by anthropogenic pollutants; however, most of these parks are in close vicinity of major shipping lanes. The emissions from these ships can be transformed and transported over relatively long distances especially during the photochemically active summer tourist season. With the exception of a few local stipulations, shipping emissions are for the most part unregulated, which allows for huge amounts of pollutants, such as SO2, NOx, etc., to be released into the atmosphere. These pollutants can have severe impacts on air quality and cause significant damage through wet and dry deposition into coastal waters and ecosystems. Model simulations for a typical summer tourist season will be presented without and with the inclusion of ship emissions for comparison in order to identify the impact on the coastal landscapes of Alaska, including several national parks and preserves.

What's Climate Change to You?

Paul Pregont1, Mille Porsild2, Aaron Doering3
1GoNorth!, University of Minnesota, 1313 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55414, USA, Phone 269-426-4576,
2GoNorth!, University of Minnesota, 1313 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55414, USA,
3Learning Technologies-Dept Curriculum & Instruction, University of Minnesota, 159 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA,

That's the question teens and children in Chukotka, Alaska and Canada are setting out to explore and answer as part of Team WCCY World! The WCCY effort was initiated through field expeditions powered by Polar Husky sled dogs transecting the WCCY locales to generate excitement and establishing protocol for fieldwork in participating communities. In each community a WCCY team is established for the participants to work virtually hand in hand with scientists in a global network, while they connect with each other and the wider world through science and study of climate change. The teams examine how climate change affects their own lives and the lives of those around them in a Community Climate Diary developed online in a collaborative space. Contributing to a database within this online environment, they furthermore collect field data valuable in the wider study of snow and climate and otherwise not accessible to participating scientists. A public website will feature the community findings and summarize data in an easily accessible and interactive format that is exciting to learners of all ages. This will not only serve to highlight arctic science driven by local participation in arctic locales, but also highlight the conversation about what climate change means to each one of us in relation to our geographic location, our connection to the land, and our sense of place.

More Than the Sum of its Parts: The Untapped Archive of Federal Archaeological Data

Jeffrey T. Rasic1
1Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, National Park Service, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0632, Fax 907-455-0601,

Archaeological programs within federal agencies such as the National Park Service represent long term research efforts that generate many small, seemingly inconsequential observations. These bits of information taken together, however, compose data sets with great research value and relevance to resource management issues. Data sets derived from work in northern Alaska are examined as examples and include archaeological site locations, obsidian artifact source data, and archaeological radiocarbon dates. These case studies highlight the importance of metadata and careful recordkeeping, and the potential for data sharing and collaboration.

Monitoring Dall's Sheep Abundance and Distribution in the Central and Western Brooks Range, Alaska

Kumi Rattenbury1, Jim Lawler2
1National Park Service, Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring Program, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0673,
2National Park Service, Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring Program, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-455-0624,

The Brooks Range in Alaska (67° to 68° 45' N) is the northernmost extent of Dall's sheep range (Ovis dalli). Most of the suitable sheep habitat in the central and western Brooks Range is within National Park Service units, specifically Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Noatak National Preserve, and Kobuk Valley National Park. Monitoring Dall's sheep abundance and distribution for these parks is a priority for the NPS Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring program. Dall's sheep are relatively sedentary compared with many large mammals in the region such as caribou, and population changes may be linked to local environmental conditions. They are also a management priority because of their value for subsistence, sport hunting and wildlife viewing. Aerial surveys based on stratified random sampling of survey units were conducted in June and July of 2005, 2006, and 2007 to obtain population estimates for the region. Initial estimates (±95% CI) for the region (~41,000 km2 sheep habitat) are 9950 (±2568) in 2005, 9304 (±3265) in 2006, and 8115 (±3134) in 2007 based on the minimum count for the survey years. Sheep densities were highest in the Baird Mountains of Noatak National Preserve and in eastern Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. A long-term monitoring protocol and sample design will be developed to detect changes in abundance and distribution of sheep while being robust enough to deal with the difficulties of surveying in this remote area.

Arctic Coastal Lagoons of Cape Krusenstern National Monument: Temporal and Spatial Baseline Sampling to Collect Physicochemical, Species Richness, and Food Web Structure Data

Melinda J. Reynolds1, Lisa M. Clough2, Will Ambrose, Jr.3, Terry A. Reynolds4, Charlie Lean5
1Coastal Resources Management, East Carolina University, 203 S Eastern Street, Greenville, NC, 27858, USA, Phone 252-412-8560, Fax 252-412-8560,
2Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, 27858, USA,
3Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME, USA,
4Coastal Resources Management, East Carolina University, 203 S Eastern Street, Greenville, NC, 27858, USA, Phone 252-412-3682,
5Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Nome, AK, USA,

Continual monitoring of resources within an ecosystem allows changes to be detected over time. Identifying and interpreting these trends, in turn, results in a more comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem. Before this monitoring can begin, baseline data must be collected. Cape Krusenstern National Monument (CAKR) is one of the four park units of Western Arctic National Parklands that is currently lacking baseline data of its aquatic resources. The monument contains five coastal lagoons that vary in their exchange with the waters of the Kotzebue Sound or Chukchi Sea. Physicochemical, species richness, and food web structure data were collected seven times over the course of two years. Samples were collected during both ice-covered (January, April) and ice-free periods (July, September). Physicochemical data showed that as ice thickness increased the salinity of the underlying water also increased. All lagoons experienced thicker ice and higher salinity levels as winter progressed into spring. Akulaaq had the greatest range of salinity throughout the year, with the highest level in April (63ppt) and the lowest level in September (6ppt). In comparison, the salinity level in Krusenstern Lagoon was fairly constant year-round (~5ppt). Chlorophyll a data showed that chlorophyll is present year-round in all the lagoons. Species richness data support the hypothesis that lagoons that are either predominantly closed (but have an early summer breach allowing for fish migration) or permanently open to the Kotzebue Sound or Chukchi Sea have the greatest species richness and lagoons that are intermittently (and irregularly) open have the lowest species richness. These data will serve as a baseline for future monitoring of CAKR lagoons and will provide resource managers with information to make decisions based on data rather than on assumptions.

Arctic Grizzly Bears and Muskoxen: A Summary of Studies in and near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Patricia E. Reynolds1
1Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue Room 236, Fairbanks, AK, 99701, USA, Phone 907-456-0502, Fax 907-456-0428,

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) living in arctic areas exist at the northern end of their ecological range. Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) are found only in the circumpolar north. These species are entwined as predator and prey and both species are vulnerable to changes in the Arctic as a consequence of global warming. For over 35 years, biologists have studied grizzly bears and muskoxen in and near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Refuge) in northeastern Alaska. The Arctic Gas investigations (1972-1974) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain Resource Assessment (1982-1994) included studies of grizzly bears and muskoxen. State and federal agencies completed a density estimate of grizzly bears in 1999-2003. Current studies of grizzly bears include examining changes in diet over time using stable isotope analysis and detecting the use of carcasses and other resources by bears carrying Global Positioning System (GPS)-satellite collars. Studies of muskoxen, on-going since 1982, determine abundance, distribution, and population dynamics using telemetry, annual surveys and composition counts. Five graduate students studied habitat use and activity of muskoxen. These investigations of grizzly bears and muskoxen in the Arctic Refuge, and other studies in adjacent regions, provide trends over time and information on predator-prey relationships. Data from such long term studies are a key for understanding the effects of global climate change on species and ecological systems in the Arctic.

Ties That Bind: Re-establishing Ties Between Inuit on Both Sides of the Dateline

Colleen Reynolds1, Rose Fosdick2
1Eskimo Heritage Program, Kawerak, Ink., Nome, AK, 99762, USA
2Eskimo Heritage Program, Kawerak, Inc., Nome, AK, 99762, USA

The Diomede Islands are 2.5 miles apart; one island is Russian and one is American; one is already on tomorrow's calendar. Before the "Cold War" and before the "Ice Curtain" divided the two islands, inhabitants had regular contact with each other, many related by blood and marriage. The Eskimo Heritage Program (EHP) is documenting the history and relationships between Big Diomede and Little Diomede. Many of the ties between friends and family were broken as a result of WWII. Big Diomede served as a Russian military base and all Native residents of Big Diomede Island and the Russian coastal village of Naukan were relocated to other locations on the mainland of Russia. As a result, communication, historical kinship and cultural ties were broken between family members and friends for many generations. Some of these family members are still alive today and live on both sides of the Bering Strait. Little Diomede (U.S.A) is 2.5 miles to the East of Big Diomede Island (Russia) and 25 miles West of mainland Alaska. Access to Little Diomede is limited to sea and air travel. Little Diomede Island was named by the Russian explorer Vitus Bering on August 16, 1728 after the martyr St. Diomede who was celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church on that date. Sometime later Alaska was purchased from Russia, in 1867. Little Diomede has been home to a small number of Inuit for centuries. In 1880, the census reported 40 people lived on the island in a village named "Inalik" which means 'the other one or the one over there'. The 2000 census records 146 residents at Inalik. EHP has collected interviews from Wales, Little Diomede, Teller, Nome and Anchorage residents in regards to historical information on trade routes, village relationships, art, history, comparison of customs, traditions, and subsistence lifestyles of the past and present. It is said that although both communities were separated by politics and an international dateline, Eskimos from both islands often met their relatives and exchanged small gifts under the cover of fog at the International Dateline.

Title to be decided - Keynote Speaker

Valentin I. Sergienko1
1Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Primor'e, Russia

The Updating of the Red Book of Chukotka Autonomous Region and Current State and Perspectives of Development of a System of Especially Protected Natural Territories of the Chukotka Autonomous Region

Nataliya Shevchenko1
1Nature Use and Environment Preservation Committee, Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

With the goal of realizing the authority of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in the area of preserving biodiversity, in 2006 the regional program Protection of the Environment of the Chukotka Autonomous Region had suggested a branch program Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region under the umbrella of the regional program Protection of the Environment of the Chukotka Autonomous Region. In 2006, under the umbrella of the regional objectives program several fauna projects were undertaken. In 2007 the flora program project took place. The regional objectives program Protection of the Environment of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in 2008-2010, planned in 2008 the publication of the two-volume document Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region, as a continuation of the projects that are a part of the complex of work for the updating of the Red Book of the Russian Federation. It mandated that copies of the book will be provided for all educational institutions, libraries, scientific institutions of the Region and other organizations. Also a few copies of a coffee table version of the book will be printed for gift purposes. By an order of the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in December 2006, the Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region project was launched. By this order the regulations for the updating of the Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the regulations for the Commission for Rare and Endangered Objects of the Floral and Faunal World of the Chukotka Autonomous Region were approved. The Department of Industry and Agriculture of the Chukotka Autonomous Region was assigned to be the leading organization for upkeep of the Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region. By directive of the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in 2007 the members of the Commission for Rare and Endangered Objects of the Floral and Faunal World were approved.
By decision of the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in June 2007, the list of the rare and endangered animal species was approved. This list, created with the information available in July 2007, forms the basis of the Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region and contains 13 species of invertebrates, 12 species of fish, 40 species of birds, 24 species of mammals as well as an annotated list of taxons and populations of animals of the Chukotka Autonomous Region requiring special attention to their condition in the natural surroundings as of July 1, 2007 (invertebrates–46 species; fish–2; birds–11; mammals–5). By decision of the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in March 2008, the list of rare and endangered species of plants was approved, which forms the basis of the Red Book of the Chukotka Autonomous Region based on the information available as of January 1, 2008: ferns–6 species; club mosses–2 species; mosses (Musci)–37 species (leafy mosses–30; liverworts (Hepaticat)–7); lichens-20; mushrooms–7), and an inventory of the flora of the Chukotka Autonomous Region of the species in need of special attention to their condition in their natural surroundings as of January 1, 2008 (angiosperms–34 species). In the region work continues to improve the system of the especially protected nature territories of regional significance. In 2007 the Nature Monument Cape Vankarem with total area of 90 square acres was established. This was done by the initiative of the inhabitants of the village of Vankarem of the Iul'tin Region and the Russian Division of the World Wildlife Fund. The main goal of establishing the Monument was the preservation of the unique walrus haul-out and archeological sites. Ecological expertise of the data for the establishment of the regionally significant Nature Monument Cape Kozhevhikov is being utilized. A decision about the organization of the Monument will be made after the monitoring is conducted. In all at the present time in the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Region there are 27 especially protected nature territories of different levels of protection: - one Federal Nature Preserve: Wrangell Island; - one Federal Nature Hunting Reserve: Lebedinyi, an area of federal significance; - one Nature-Ethnic Park: Beringia; - three Federal Nature Hunting Reserves of regional significance: Avtotkuul, Ust'-Tanyurerskiy and Chaunskaya Gyba; - 21 monuments of nature of regional significance.

Beringia Museum of Culture and Science

Trudy M Sobocienski1, Colleen Reynolds2, 3
1Cultural Center Planning, Kawerak, Inc., PO Box 948, Nome, AK, 99762, USA, Phone 907 443-4340, Fax 907 443-4452,
2Eskimo Heritage Program, Kawerak, Inc., PO Box 948, Nome, AK, 99762, USA, Phone 907 443-5231, Fax 907 443-4452,

The Beringia Museum of Culture and Science will reflect this unique region; its people, culture, history, scientific connections and climate change. In preparing to design the facility, Kawerak staff gathered input from the people it programs and displays will represent. A comprehensive community cultural survey was circulated to the twenty communities of the Bering Strait Region. A summary of program features include:

*Museum to display, preserve, and transmith the story of the Bering Strait region, which is located in what is now identified as Beringia;

*A daily Use Space for people to congregate, celebrate traditions, ceremonies, rights of passage, dances, work on arts and crafts, exchange stories and ideas;

*Artifact Repository to collect and document local artifacts;

*Art Gallery to display and sell arts, crafts and photographs; and,

*Education element to provide local people and visitors various subsistence, culture, and science educational opportunities.

Development of the Ecological Tourism Data Base for the Especially Protected Nature Areas

Elena Soboleva1
1Department of Statistics and Logistics, Russian International Academy of Tourism, Moscow, Russia

Russia is one of the best countries in the world for the development of ecological tourism. Russia has 135 National Parks and Strict Federal Reserves (zapovedniks) with total area of 100,325,000 acres. There are 87 museums, 122 visitor centers, 881 ecological trails and routes located within these parks and reserves. More than 800,000 people visited these protected areas in 2007. The Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia realized the importance of tourism development for the preservation of natural resources and established a managing company for the development of ecological tourism. One of the components of the management plan for ecological tourism is a targeted and reliable data base. In order to collect statistical information on ecological tourism we inspected the state of tourist infrastructure in the national parks of central Russia, graded their tourists' social and economic characteristics and expenditures.

Evaluating Potential Climate Monitoring Sites in the Arctic Network Parks

Pamela J. Sousanes1
1Physical Sciences, National Park Service, PO Box 9, Denali Park, AK, 99755, USA, Phone 907-683-9573, Fax 907-683-9639,

The Arctic Network (ARCN) spans from the Seward Peninsula in the west to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the east across the slopes of the Brooks Range. These are the farthest north parks in the National Park System and are a logical place to look at Alaska's changing climate in cooperation with other agencies and networks in the state. Weather and climate are key drivers in ecosystem structure and function. The arctic climate is complex due to numerous interactions between and within the atmosphere, cryosphere, ocean, land and ecosystems. In the past 100 years the average arctic temperatures increased at almost twice the global average rate, and the Arctic is very likely to warm during this century more than the global mean. Annual arctic precipitation is very likely to increase (IPCC, 2007). Changes in climate that have already taken place are revealed in the decrease in extent and thickness of arctic sea ice, permafrost thawing, coastal erosion, changes in ice sheets and ice shelves, and changes in species distribution. Without climate data, it is impossible to understand the causes of a variety of ecosystem changes now underway. This field season we evaluated numerous sites within the five arctic parks for long-term climate monitoring sites. Strategic deployment of stations in the ARCN will provide data on long term trends and variability within the region. The data generated by these stations will also contribute significantly to the understanding of Alaska's climate and high latitude manifestations of climate change.

Lichen biomass evaluation and estimation of a stocking density for reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus) on St. George Island, AK

Michelle St. Martin1, Greg Finstad2, Norman Harris3, Kris Hundertmark4, Christine Hunter5
1School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 82526, Fairbanks, AK, 99708, USA, Phone 907.978.0861,
2School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
3School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, USA
4Institute of Arctic Biology, USA
5Institute of Arctic Biology, USA

In 1980, 15 reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus) were re-introduced to St. George Island located in the Bering Sea. The population grew steadily and peaked in 2004 at roughly 450-500 animals. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) utilization surveys showed a decrease in lichen biomass from an estimated 1,500 lbs/ acre in 2002 to an estimated 700 lbs/ acre in 2005. Land managers and stakeholders are concerned that overgrazing is occurring and is affecting ecosystem processes and sustainability. Our objective was to estimate a sustainable reindeer density based on current population, proportion of lichen in the diet, and total lichen biomass present on the island. In June, 2008 the population was estimated to be 320 (±5) animals (120(±5) adult cows, 47 adult bulls, 33 yearling cows, 32 yearling bulls, and 88 calves). The calf:cow ratio was 56: 100, and the bull:cow ratio was 33: 100. The proportion of lichen in the diet was 65% during winter and 52% during summer. We estimated that total lichen biomass for the entire island, excluding land managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is ~4.2 million kg dry weight, and suggest the stocking density for St. George Island should be approximately 160 animals or 1.9 animals per km2.

The Mt McKinley Weather Station Project

Martin Stuefer1, Larry Hinzman2, Tohru Saito3
1Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-6477,
2International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 930 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 906-474-7331,
3International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 930 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

The Mt. McKinley weather station has been established as a joint effort of the International Arctic Research Center and the Japan Alpine Club below the South summit of Denali at the 19,000-foot (5,800 m) level in June 2002. Annual upgrades to the station have been performed with instrumentation custom built for the extreme weather and altitude conditions ( We report on the weather and climate at this altitude using valuable data derived from the Mt. McKinley weather station. Current efforts are underway to re-locate the main Mt. McKinley station to a slightly lower altitude of 17,200 feet (5250 m) in the vicinity of the Mount McKinley High Camp of the West Buttress Route. The goal is to ensure continuous year-round operation and data transfer also during the winter months. This weather station will be one of the few weather stations in the world located at such a high altitude; -only 2 stations in Bolivia are located higher on the American continents. Measured variables will be air temperature, wind-speed and direction, and air pressure. In addition we plan installation of a weather camera to transmit regular updated images of the area surrounding the station. Data will be radioed at an hourly interval to a receiving station near Talkeetna approximately 100 kilometers distant to the high camp. The weather data will be available to the public on a dedicated web page, and hence be of main importance for climbers and for people interested in the weather at the highest peak of North America. The unique altitude setting of the station also accounts for the sole ground based high altitude reference point in Alaska to evaluate weather forecast results derived from numerical weather models.

The International Cooperation of Natural Biosphere Zapovednik Khanka

Yuriy P. Sushitskiy1
1Lake Khanka International Park, Spassk-Dal'niy, Primor'e, Russia

The far eastern federal natural biosphere zapovednik (strict nature reserve) Khanka received its name from the name of the largest freshwater body in the Far East of Russia—Lake Khanka. The zapovednik occupies part of the Khanka and Sungacha lowlands. Several major rivers flow into Lake Khanka, and only one flows out of it—the Sungacha, which flows into the Ussuri. The territory of the zapovednik consists of 5 separate parts. At the present time the core of the zapovednik occupies 39,289 hectares (97,085 acres), the protected (buffer) zone is 75,510 hectares (186,589 acres), and the zone of cooperation is 158,400 hectares (391,415 acres, 612 sq. mi.). Since 1976, in response to the Ramsar Convention, this territory has been awarded the status of wetlands area of international significance. In April, 1996, the governments of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China signed an agreement to create, on the basis of the Khanka zapovednik in Russia and the Chinese zapovednik Xingkai Hu, an international Russian-Chinese zapovednik Lake Khanka. The greatest results in the facilitation of joint efforts between the two zapovedniks have been achieved in the area of ecological education. Since April, 2005, there have been conducted joint studies of the migration of birds and exchange of their results. On June 29, 2005, the UNESCO commission Man and Biosphere made the decision to award the status of a biosphere to the federal natural zapovednik Khanka.

Shrub Expansion in Arctic Parks

Ken Tape1, Jeffrey M. Welker2
1Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
2Environmental and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska Anchorage, 707 A Street, Anchorage, AK, 99501, USA, Phone 907-257-2701

A multitude of evidence suggests that deciduous shrubs are replacing low-growing tundra vegetation in many regions of the Arctic. This shift in vegetation represents the major landscape change underway in arctic parks, and it is profoundly altering animal habitat, visitor perception, and a host of ecosystem processes. Repeat photography shows that while some areas have changed radically, other areas remain unchanged. The goal of this work is to identify where vegetation is changing, without the use of repeat photography. Preliminary measurements from photographically-identified expanding and stagnant shrub patches suggest that there exist floristic and environmental properties distinguishing areas that are changing from those that are not changing. In the summer of 2008, the National Park Service is supporting field work to measure a host of environmental and floristic properties in photographically-identified expanding and stagnant shrub patches, as part of the long-term monitoring program. This work will add roughly 30 transects to the 4 initial transects, and preliminary findings will be reported at the October 2008 Alaska Park Science Symposium.

PolarTREC-Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating: Classrooms & Communities Experience the Polar Regions--PolarTREC Outreach Success

Kristin MF Timm1, Janet Warburton2, Wendy K. Warnick3
1Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,
2Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,
3Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,

PolarTREC-Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating, a program of the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded International Polar Year (IPY) project in which K-12 teachers participate in polar research working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education.

Before, during, and after the field research experience, teachers and researchers communicate extensively with their colleagues, communities, and hundreds of students of all ages across the globe, using a variety of tools including online journals, photos, and an "Ask the Team" forum, as well as podcasts and interactive "Live from IPY!" calls. Teachers and researchers also conduct outreach through school, public, and professional talks and presentations and by connecting with formal media sources including television, newspaper, magazine, and radio.

The diverse outreach components of the PolarTREC program ensure that the science and excitement of the polar regions reaches a broad audience, far beyond the classrooms of the PolarTREC teachers. Featured in this poster is a small portion of the media attention received by PolarTREC teachers and teams between December 2006 and May 2008. It highlights their incredible outreach efforts and their success in communicating their experiences to audiences locally and around the world.

Additional outreach examples-from articles to presentations-are available in the Newsroom and Learning Resources archives at the PolarTREC website at

To join the discovery, make global connections, and be part of the International Polar Year or, for more information, see the PolarTREC abstract or visit the PolarTREC website at: or contact ARCUS at: or 907-474-1600.

Latest Cretaceous Flora in an Ancient Fluvial Environment: Preliminary Results from a Paleoenvironmental Study of the Lower Cantwell Formation at Sable Mountain, Denali National Park, Alaska

Carla S. Tomsich1, Sarah J. Fowell2, Paul J. McCarthy3
1Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks , P.O.Box 755780, 900 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7576,
2Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755780, 900 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7810,
3Department of Geology and Geophysics; Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755780, 900 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-6894,

The dinosaur track-bearing lower Cantwell Formation in south central Alaska is a Latest Cretaceous fluvial sequence that crops out along the northern foothills of the Alaska Range. The unit can be readily distinguished from the Park Road by its layered outcrops and its light grey to bluish-black shades, suggesting frequent breaks in deposition and varying amounts of organic matter influx. Recently established paleontological sites in the Sable Mountain and Double Mountain areas contain dinosaur tracks, invertebrate traces and floral mega fossils (Fiorillo et al., 2007). These discoveries clearly establish the presence of a thriving community of latest Cretaceous dinosaurs in Interior Alaska. Many unanswered questions remain: What did the landscape look like? What was the composition of the flora? What were the mean annual temperatures?
The depositional environment of the lower Cantwell Formation has been interpreted as a stream-dominated alluvial fan system (Ridgway et al., 1997). Extensive floodplain deposits in the Sable Mountain area yielded abundant fragments of a diverse flora that includes fern fronds, several Equisetum taxa, the branches, cones and wood of the swamp cypress Metasequoia, and a variety of dicotyledonous angiosperm leaf imprints with hamamelid-like forms. A number of specimens could be identified as Menispermites, Viburniphyllum, and diverse platanoids and trochodendroid leaves. Preliminary research strongly indicates that these plant fossils occur within distinct lithological facies providing strong site-specific information for habitat and drainage systems. Angiosperm leaves preserved in fine-grained sands suggest that floodplain uplands drained by small creeks were covered by hardwood forests whereas rocks with a diverse fossil assemblage from what is interpreted as small meandering ribbon channel sands imply that the hardwoods coexisted also with a more hydrophilic flora in the lower floodplain. Finally, mudstone facies containing Alnipollenites, Corollina, Aquilapollenites, Taxodiaceaepollenites and a variety of trilete fern and Equisetites spores represent lake margin and low-lying floodplain vegetation of conifers and shrubs with an understory comprised of ferns and a variety of horsetails.
Floristic studies have shown that angiosperm leaves are climate–sensitive and shapes and sizes strongly correlate with temperatures and rainfall (Wolfe, 1993). As a result, similar forms occur in response to specific environmental conditions, and climate parameters such as mean temperatures and hydrological conditions can be configured from fossil leaves on the basis of physiognomic feature distributions (Wolfe, 1993). Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP) analyses (Wolfe and Spicer, 1999) applied to the fossil flora of the lower Cantwell Formation indicate that leaf sizes and shapes vary greatly within the formation and margins are principally serrated suggesting a temperate climate, while size variations imply that well-saturated conditions alternated with occasionally drier episodes.
Fiorillo, A. R., McCarthy, P. J., Breithaupt, B. H., and Brease, P. F., 2007. Dinosauria and fossil aves footprints from the lower Cantwell Formation (latest Cretaceous), Denali National Park and Preserve. In: Alaska Park Science--Crossing Boundaries in a Changing Environment. Proceedings of the Central Alaska Park Science Symposium; Anchorage, AK; p. 41-43.
Ridgway, K. D., Trop, J. M., and Sweet, A. R., 1997. Thrust-top basin formation along a suture zone, Cantwell Basin, Alaska Range; Implications for development of the Denali Fault system. GSA Bulletin; v. 109, no. 5; p. 505-23.
Wolfe, J. A., 1993. A method of obtaining climatic parameters form leaf assemblages. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, Report: B 2040; 71 pp.
Wolfe, J. A. and Spicer, R. A., 1999. Fossil leaf character states: multivariate analyses. In: Jones, T. P. & Rowe, N. P. (eds.) Fossil Plants and Spores: modern techniques. Geological Society of London; p. 233-239.

Tourism: Pluses and Minuses of Tourism Development in Chukotka (Beringia Sector)

Konstantin Uyaganskiy1
1Northeastern Multi Discipline Scientific Research Institute, Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

The development of tourism activities is the most rational and optimal approach to make use of the resources of the especially protected nature territories, including the "northern" national parks. The main arguments for this point of view are the preservation of the environment, the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, and the improvement of the socio-economic base. For Chukotka tourism is very much a new phenomenon. In the central regions and in the west of Chukotka tours of hunters and ecotourists are organized, but this is done intermittently. Eastern Chukotka, which represents the Russian part of Beringia, is considered to be the most adapted for tourists and has been viewed as a center for ecological tourism. In reality all tourism comes down to cruises by foreign tourists during the period of navigation. The effect on the economy of the region from these tours is quite small; often this is just an honorarium of the guides and fee for performances of the non-professional dance and song groups of the Native villages of the Chukotka coast. The situation which has developed does not meet the description of a tourist boom but this is the reality. Based on the remoteness and difficult access to the region, the absence of infrastructure and investments, the politics of the local government in relation to tourism, it is exactly that kind of unorganized tourism that will flourish. What are pluses and minuses of the development of tourism branch of the economy in Chukotkan Beringia? First of all let's talk in relation to the indigenous people of the Native villages, whose socio-economic position is one of the very worst in the region. As a plus: increasing the employment of the population, cutting down unemployment, increasing the level of income, increasing the educational and cultural level of the inhabitants and the prestige of the region. The preservation of the natural surroundings as an important tourism product can also be considered a plus, but with the proviso of preserving the animal world along with the development of hunting tourism. The arrival of investments will facilitate the process of development of the branches of economy that are considered a base for forming a tourism infrastructure, such as: construction, transport, a service sector, etc. It is important to consider the negative sides of the development of the tourist industry. They should be discussed, analyzed, and in the final tally, minimized. First of all, there is a danger of losing distinctiveness, such as long-established lifestyles, traditions, customs of the Native peoples of Chukotka. No less important is the preservation of traditional occupations, such as marine mammal hunting, reindeer herding, and fishing, which can suffer in the free market competition. Tourism must not completely replace the traditional ways of nature use of the peoples of Chukotka. Excessive economic dependence on the tourism activities, if a recession were to come, would be highly undesirable. Nature in Chukotkan Beringia is very unique due to many rare remaining species of flora and fauna, and therefore it is important to assure that it is not excessively pressured by tourism. To develop tourism in Beringia and in Chukotka is necessary as a goal but for that it is necessary to analyze the pluses and minuses of tourism industry development, and take into consideration the specifics of the region (nature-climatic and socio-economic conditions, and ethnic particularities).

Brown Bear Working Group: USA, Russia, and Japan

Larry Van Daele1
1Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 211 Mission Road, Kodiak, AK, 99615-6399, USA, Phone 907-486-1880,

The Northern Forum Brown Bear Workgroup has been an effective tool for bringing together biologists and managers along the north Pacific Rim that are directly responsible for conserving brown bears. Brown bears are high profile, sensitive animals, and our dealings with them and their habitat have significant social and ecological repercussions. The countries and regions represented in this workgroup have diverse cultures, politics, and economies but we share similar habitats. People that reside in these regions share similar challenges in living with large bears, and we also recognize the interests of bear hunters and bear viewers from outside our regions. This presentation will briefly describe the status of brown bear populations along the north Pacific Rim and outline how our workgroup has provided a venue for field level biologists and indigenous peoples to learn about brown bears and each other's cultures. It will also serve as an invitation for residents of Beringia and scientists who work in the area to join us in this cooperative endeavor.

Sivuungaq Walqelen Reestablishment

John Waghiyi1
1Savoonga IRA Council, PO Box 120, Savoonga, AK, 99785, USA, Phone 907-984-6414

PolarTREC-Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating: Innovative Science Education from the Poles to the World

Janet Warburton1, Kristin MF Timm2, Wendy K. Warnick3
1Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,
2Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,
3Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-1600, Fax 907-474-1604,

PolarTREC—Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating, a program of the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded International Polar Year (IPY) project in which K-12 teachers participate in polar research, working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education.

The PolarTREC conceptual model applies and advances best-practices of Teacher Research Experiences through intensive scientific content training; use of cutting-edge technology for field communications and outreach; the application of inquiry-based learning in all activities; a focus on sustained, long-term, collaborations between educators, scientists, and students; and promotion of broad public interest and engagement in polar science and the IPY.

PolarTREC, currently in its second year, enables over forty teachers to spend two to six weeks in the Arctic or Antarctica, working closely with researchers investigating a wide range of scientific topics, including sea-ice dynamics, terrestrial ecology, marine biology, atmospheric chemistry, long-term climate change, and others. While in the field, teachers and researchers communicate extensively with their colleagues, communities, and hundreds of students of all ages across the globe, using a variety of tools including satellite phones, online journals, podcasts, and interactive "Live from IPY!" calls and web-based seminars. The online outreach elements of the project convey these experiences to a broad audience far beyond the classrooms of the PolarTREC teachers. In addition to field research experiences, PolarTREC supports teacher professional development and a sustained community of teachers, scientists, and the public through workshops, Internet seminars, an e-mail listserve, and teacher peer groups.

Teachers and researchers have connected with wide audiences before, during, and after the field research experiences that have transpired thus far. From the field, 31 Live from IPY! Events have reached over 4,000 students and over 1,000 teachers, researchers, and members of the community, and the teams have answered over 300 student and public questions about the life, work, and science of the polar regions. PolarTREC teachers and researchers have given over 120 presentations to schools, community groups, and professional organizations, and have been featured in radio and television news, as well as over 100 newspaper, magazine, and internet articles. The PolarTREC website has 1108 separate teacher journal entries, 2000 "Ask the Team" questions, and 7,250 photos in the photo gallery. The online PolarTREC Learning Resources database currently contains 46 lessons and activities to aid educators in teaching polar science as well as other educational resources. The Connecting Arctic and Antarctic Researchers and Educators (CARE) Network, a professional development network that uses online web meetings to support the integration of science research experiences into classroom curriculum, held its first meetings in the summer of 2008 and will be beginning public Internet seminars in the fall of 2008. A comprehensive program evaluation has been taking place since program inception, and preliminary results are forthcoming.

Through these activities, PolarTREC advances and promotes broad public interest and engagement in polar science to provide a lasting legacy of the IPY. To join the discovery, make global connections, and be part of the International Polar Year or, for more information, visit the PolarTREC website at: or contact ARCUS at: or 907-474-1600.

Project Environment: Ground Zero

Michele Whaley1, Olivia Route2, Sydney Treuer3, Megan Haller4, Carissa Landes5, Grace Johnson6, Priscilla Apone7, Donovan Lieb8, Natalya Vorobyova9, Alyona Konstantinova10, Evgenia Bulgakova11, Elizaveta Petrenko12
1West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
2West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
3West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
4West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
5West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
6West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
7West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
8West High School, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, USA
9Anadyr' College, Russia
10Anadyr' College, Russia
11Anadyr' College, Russia
12Anadyr' College, Russia

West High students in Anchorage are collaborating with high school students from Chukotka College in Anadyr, Russia, to explore local environmental responses to climate change. In this first of three years of the project, students interviewed local leaders about impacts of climate change and asked what teens should be doing to help. They created one project to share what they learned with adults and two others to use for presentations in elementary schools. During the second year of the project, they plan to create a web site that will include a carbon footprint estimator in Russian and start contacting leaders in both countries to urge them to make changes at local and regional levels to slow the human contribution to climate change.

Satellite-based monitoring of climate effects and disturbances in the boreal forests of the Yukon River Basin.

Bruce K Wylie1, Kevin Murnaghan2, Li Zhang3, Jennifer Rover4, Lei Ji5, Brian Brisco6
1ASRC Research and Technology Solutions, Contractor , USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, 47914 252nd St, Sioux Falls, SD, 57198, USA, Phone 605 594 6078,
2Natural Resources Canada, 588 Booth St, Otttawa, ON, Canada,
3Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Bejing, China,
4USGS, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, 47914 242nd St, Sioux Falls, SD, 57198, USA,
5ASRC Research and Technology Solutions, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, 47914 252nd St , Sioux Falls, SD, 57198, USA,
6Natural Resources Canada, 588 Booth St, Ottawa, ON, Canada,

Yearly climate variation and disturbance effects confound ecosystem monitoring of land surface changes interpreted from satellite imagery. The separation of climatic and non-climatic ecosystem changes improves our understanding of magnitude of climate effects and the occurrence of management and natural disturbances. We developed regression tree models that predict growing-season-integrated Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (gNDVI) values from site potential and seasonal weather data. We developed these models using random pixels of evergreen and mixed forest without recent fire histories across multiple time steps. This combination creates models that are robust across a wide range of climate and site potential conditions. Performance anomalies are the difference beyond the 90 percent confidence limits between the models-expected gNDVI and observed gNDVI and identify areas which are more or less productive than expected. Annual maps of performance anomalies quantify inter-annual anomaly frequency and trend maps. Performance anomalies conformed with Landsat moisture index (R2=0.78 and 0.70 in two fire events) and field composite burn index data (R2 varied between 0.43 and 0.75 in different years and fire events). Models implemented with 1-km-resolution AVHRR and 250-m- resolution MODIS data created maps of yearly performance anomalies that fell within fire perimeters. Underperforming anomalies in non-burned areas detected insect infestations and soil moisture changes. In addition to monitoring annual ecosystem performance anomalies and trends, this approach tracks individual pixels or pixel groups and predicts ecosystem performance under future climate scenarios.

Teshekpuk Caribou Herd Movement through Narrow Land Corridors around Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska

Dave Yokel1, Alex Prichard2, Geoff Carroll3, Lincoln Parrett4, Brian Person5, Caryn Rea6
1Arctic Field Office, Bureau of Land Management, 1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks, AK, 99709, USA, Phone 907-474-2314, Fax 907-474-2282,
2ABR, Inc. - Environmental Research & Services, Fairbanks, AK, USA
3Alaska Department of Fish and Game, USA
4Alaska Department of Fish and Game, USA
5Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough, USA
6ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc., USA

The area around Teshekpuk Lake in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska is important to the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd as calving and insect relief habitat. The portion of this area lying north of the lake, and separating the lake from the Beaufort Sea, is about 60 km east to west and 30 km north to south. In addition to its importance for caribou, the area north of the lake is thought to hold valuable petroleum reserves and in a series of plans over the last 11 years the Bureau of Land Management has considered making these lands available for oil and gas leasing. The lake is separated from the Beaufort Sea on the northwest and east by narrow corridors of land, each about 11 km wide, within which are additional, smaller lakes. Caribou must pass through one or both of these "bottlenecks" when using lands north of the lake. Oil too, if development should occur in the area north of the lake, would have to transit these constricted corridors on its way to market. Using data from 124 satellite- or GPS-collared caribou during the period 1990-2007, we examine how and when caribou use these narrow land corridors. We report the proportion of collared caribou using the corridors; the timing and frequency of use; and rates, directions, and routes of movement within the corridors and north of the lake. We also prepared animations of chronologically ordered locations of GPS-collared caribou to provide a more easily understood visual image of movements in the area around Teshekpuk Lake. Pre-development, baseline information such as this is critical to any attempt to design infrastructure to mitigate its impacts on caribou. It would also inform later attempts to interpret post-development caribou movements in relationship to that infrastructure.

The Impact of Climate Change on National Park Visitation in Alaska

Gongmei Yu1, Zvi Schwartz2, John Walsh3, Sarah F. Trainor4
1Recreation, Sports, & Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 204S Huff Hall 1206 South Fourth St., Champaign, IL, 61820, USA, Phone 217-369-7669,
2Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 204S Huff Hall 1206 South Fourth St, Champaign, IL, 61820, USA, Phone 217-333-1710, Fax 217-244-1935,
3Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 105 S. Gregory Ave, Urbana, IL, USA, Phone 61801, Fax 217-244-4393,
4Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 75700, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA, Phone 907-474-7878,

This study develops and applies a new activity based Climate Index for Tourism (CIT) to measure how and to what extent climate change has affected the quality and seasonal patterns of activity based (skiing and sightseeing) tourism-related climate resources in Anchorage and King Salmon, Alaska. The relationship between these tourism climate conditions and visitation to Denali National Park was examined as well.
The findings suggest that climate warming could have either a positive or a negative impact, depending on the tourism activity. The quality of tourism climate resources for sightseeing in Alaska seems to have significantly improved in last six decades. Interestingly, the skiing season has been ending significantly earlier while the sightseeing season has been starting earlier (since the 1940's). Moreover, the improved climate conditions for sightseeing are significantly correlated with the increased visitation to Alaska's Denali National Park in early summer (May, June and July).
The contributions of this study are both theoretical and practical. The main theoretical contribution is that this study extends the existing tourism/climate literature by improving climate measurement and the methodologies for quantifying the relationship between tourism and climate. The practical contribution of this study comes from the fact that region-specific knowledge could assist tourism managers to develop plans that better address the impact of climate change on tourism visitation and seasonal patterns in Alaska.

The End of Remote: Climate, Oil, and Arctic Migratory Shorebirds

Steve Zack1, Joe Liebezeit2
1North America Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, 718 SW Alder Street, Portland, OR, 97205, USA, Phone 503-241-3743,
2North America Program, 718 SW Alder Street, Portland, OR, 977229, USA, Phone 503-241-3743,

The coastal plain of arctic Alaska is the breeding home of millions of shorebirds migrating from all over the world. Dramatic climate change and expanding energy development are disrupting wildlife in manifold ways. We have been monitoring nesting patterns of shorebirds in both the Prudhoe Bay oilfields (6 years) and at a remote site near Teshekpuk Lake (4 years). With partners (USFWS, oil companies, and others) we have examined, using a modified Cox proportional hazards regression, whether oil infrastructure affects nesting success in birds since it has led to increases in nest predators. Our results indicated some effects, yet natural between-year and between-site variation was great. Separately, we monitored a subset of nests in the oil fields with remote cameras and found that arctic fox are the most important predator despite being the least common of nest predators. Our data from Teshekpuk suggest this region has high nest productivity, nesting density, and species richness in comparison to Prudhoe Bay and other coastal areas, demonstrating another distinction of this region meriting protection. Finally, a changing climate is associated with earlier nesting (ca. 10 days over a 20 year period) by shorebirds and suggests a possible disruption of migratory calendars.