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28 April 2017

Revisiting a dream, 20 years later

Twenty years ago, I was 34 when I walked away from a chain-link fence near Port Valdez and headed east. Those were the first steps on a summer-long trip across Alaska. In a few days, I will begin to retrace those steps.

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14 April 2017

Pleistocene Park an experiment in adventure

More than 700 donors believe in an attempt to recreate the ice age in Siberia. The operators of Pleistocene Park have raised more than $100,000 in a crowdfunding effort to bring bison and yaks to eastern Russia. The creators think the animals will help convert tundra to ancient grasslands that will slow global warming.

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7 April 2017

Life returning to island destroyed by eruption

Nine years after it erupted, Kasatochi Island is just beginning to resemble its neighbors.

Kasatochi is a speck in the middle of the Aleutian chain between Dutch Harbor and Adak, about 75 miles east of the latter. The volcanic island had no modern history of erupting until August 2008. In a few days that summer, the island changed from the lush green home of a quarter million seabirds to a gray pile of ash.

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5 April 2017

Are there otters in the Rio Grande?

On a chilly Tuesday morning on April 4th, 2017, 120 1st graders and 35 high school students braved the cold and the wind to celebrate Otter Day! Every year Bosque School students invite young students to learn about otters and their habitat in New Mexico.

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24 March 2017

Squirrels somehow predict seed bonanza

How can female squirrels predict a good food supply before it exists?

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17 March 2017

Are ravens responsible for wolf packs?

People who study animal behavior think they may have found out why wolves hunt in packs — because ravens are such good scavengers.

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13 March 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

The diversity of shapes and sizes in phytoplankton is overwhelming and beautiful. I was able to see the actual individuals that were in the sea surrounding us all the way across the Pacific. Seeing them first-hand made me realize how interrelated all things are on this planet: they may be invisible, but they are important. We are dependent on them and they on us.

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10 March 2017

Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

With dogs’ breath fogging the 30-below zero air at their knees, 71 Iditarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fairbanks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in a one-mile stretch of open water.

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3 March 2017

Far-north lake trout living in mystery

In early March up on the frozen Arctic Coastal Plain, as the wind sculpts snow into drifts, it’s hard to tell northern lakes from surrounding tundra. But lurking deep beneath that flat white world are toothy predators as long as your arm.

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13 February 2017

Sea to Space Trek: Oceans, The Final Frontier

On board we have holographic microscope. (Yes, holographic!) In contrast to a normal microscope, the recorded holograms can refocus the microscopic image at different distances to the camera.

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10 February 2017

More tropical nights in Alaska’s future?

By the end of this century, Alaskans may be enjoying tropical evening breezes for about a week each year. That’s an increase from the almost zero such nights we currently savor.

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26 January 2017

Full Moon Helps Illuminate Science on the Sevilleta!

Everyone had to keep their eyes wide open for the Sevilleta’s cottontails and black tailed jackrabbits – not an easy task at 2am!

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29 December 2016

The rigors of research in the cold

When Fairbanks is 40 below zero, the safest place for field scientists is in front of a computer.

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26 December 2016

Hydrothermal Hunt: From ‘Wow!’ to ‘Why?’

It takes two and a half hours to get to the seafloor, but the view you get is worth the wait.

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9 December 2016

To Alaska and then some for Yukon lynx

“My wife saw a lynx out there, sitting next to the chicken coop like a lion, twitching its tail and looking at the chickens and ducks,” said Ralph Lohse, who lives with his wife Linda on property between the Edgerton Highway and the Tonsina River. They watched the lynx for 40 minutes, until it leapt to webbing on top of a chicken coop.

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6 December 2016

Local high school students get “into” water chemistry!

Encouraging students to be involved in hands-on collection of scientific data and to be confident in teaching others about their findings is one of the greatest aspects of citizen science.

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24 November 2016

Bowhead whales may be world’s oldest mammals

Bada found that most of the adult whales were between 20 and 60 years old when they died, but five males were much older. One was 91, one was 135, one 159, one 172, and the oldest whale was 211 years old at the time of its death. That whale was gliding through the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas when Thomas Jefferson was president.

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21 November 2016

Between the Trees and the Tundra

In Alaska, trees growing at the very edge of their northern range may be influenced by warming climate. Will they eventually take over the tundra beyond?

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15 November 2016

Porcupines of the Rio Grande

Thus far, about 90 quill samples have been collected. Quills are modified hairs that are easily detached when the porcupine smacks its body into something. Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine cannot “shoot” its quills as a defensive strategy.

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14 November 2016

Hunting The Natural Treeline in Central Nepal, Part 3

Landslide season conspires with apple season and the Hindu festival of Dashain to push three field researchers to the limit.

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