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March 19, 2021
Why did the vole climb the tree?
By Ned Rozell A few years ago, Link Olson wanted students in his mammalogy class to see one of the neatest little creatures in Alaska, the northern flying squirrel. He baited a few live traps with peanut butter rolled in oats and placed them in spruce trees. When he returned the next day, he found no flying squirrels. Instead, peering back at him were the beady eyes of the mice …
January 29, 2021
Bowhead whales: A recent success story
Bowhead whales are true northern creatures, swimming only in cold oceans off Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia. These bus-size whales have the largest mouths in the animal kingdom, can live for 200 years and can go without eating for more than a year due to their remarkable fat reserves. Bowheads are also a rare wildlife rebound story, with the population north and west of Alaska now numbering more than 16,000. That’s up from the 1,000 or so animals Yankee whalers left behind in bloody waters at the turn of the last century.
November 2, 2020
Steller sea lions and mercury
Within their bulbous bodies, Steller sea lions of the western Aleutian Islands seem to carry more mercury than sea lions closer to mainland Alaska. By looking at tiny bits of fish and squid, a graduate student is trying to find out where that mercury is coming from.
August 7, 2020
Bears alert scientists to secret salmon streams
Right now, on the brushy tundra of northern Alaska, grizzly bears are gathering at quiet streams and rivers, attracted by the largest calorie reward they can find — spawning salmon. Until recently, scientists did not know salmon swam up some of these waterways, nor that grizzlies were fattening up on them before entering hibernation.
February 3, 2020
Keeping the carbon in Alaska forests
Carly Phillips and her colleagues have been running the numbers on the acreage and CO2 emissions of Alaska forests that might be spared with more aggressive firefighting. She figured if Alaska’s firefighting budget were quadrupled, there could be a 60 percent reduction in acreage burned each year. “That’s similar to nearly 7 million cars removed from the road,” she said.
October 21, 2019
Living dead scattered across Alaska landscape
Their bodies cooling with the October air, wood frogs are now snug in leafy blankets all over Alaska. Down there inside those thumb-size frogs, even smaller creatures are hitching a ride. These tiny parasites have the power to make frogs develop up to a dozen extra legs, or no legs at all.
August 19, 2019
When biologists stocked Alaska with wolves
Alaska had been a state for one year in 1960 when its department of fish and game conducted a wolf-planting experiment on Coronation Island in southeast Alaska. At the time, the remote 45-square-mile island exposed to the open Pacific had a high density of blacktailed deer and no wolves.
April 3, 2019
Budding scientists communicate river science to elected officials in New Mexico
Last week, two 6th grade scientists and one 12th grade scientist took a trip to downtown Albuquerque to share the story of ongoing Rio Grande field science with city councilors and county commissioners….and, wow, did these students do a tremendous job!
March 8, 2019
Big Pagoda Pools — Microbial Mysteries video update
This spectacular underwater volcano was just explored for the first time by scientists aboard the R/V Falkor. 2000 meters below the surface of the ocean, the “Big Pagoda” hydrothermal vent is massive: 30m tall and 23m wide.
November 15, 2018
Turtle Trapping at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
While most students were enjoying an extended weekend in the middle of October, a dedicated crew of Bosque School and University of New Mexico (UNM) scholars spent four days trapping and taking genetic samples of freshwater turtles