Science

Emiko and Syun-Ichi Akasofu serve tea to guests at their home in Fairbanks in December 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Aurora expert helped expand Alaska tourism

When Syun-Ichi Akasofu walks by in the building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus that bears his name, I want to catch up and… Continue reading

Emiko and Syun-Ichi Akasofu serve tea to guests at their home in Fairbanks in December 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Iditarod checkpoint volunteers turned a light on in the ghost town of Ophir during the 2023 race. (Courtesy Photo / Jay Cable)

Alaska Science Forum: Biking 1,000 miles of Iditarod trail

During a human-powered journey of that length, things will not go as planned.

Iditarod checkpoint volunteers turned a light on in the ghost town of Ophir during the 2023 race. (Courtesy Photo / Jay Cable)
This photo taken along the Rainforest Trail shows adventitious shoots on a red alder. (Mary F. Willson / For the Juneau Empire)

On the Trails: Roots, shoots, tumors and bone spurs

Adventitious adventures.

This photo taken along the Rainforest Trail shows adventitious shoots on a red alder. (Mary F. Willson / For the Juneau Empire)
A raven scans the horizon. Ravens are one of several animals known to gather together when resting at night. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Raven roosts shrouded in mystery

As the sun set and the sky dimmed, the birds kept coming.

A raven scans the horizon. Ravens are one of several animals known to gather together when resting at night. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
An otter sleeps on the ice near an open channel (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)

On the Trails: Spring comes slowly

As I await more and bigger signs of spring, there have been good things to see along the trails.

An otter sleeps on the ice near an open channel (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)
This photo shows a porcupine near Valdez. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: The porcupine’s winter in slow-motion

While running through Bicentennial Park in Anchorage, biologist Jessy Coltrane spotted a porcupine in a birch tree. On her runs on days following, she saw… Continue reading

This photo shows a porcupine near Valdez. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
A bumblebee had pried open a lupine flower (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: Social bees and social learning

Dancing, dialects and more.

A bumblebee had pried open a lupine flower (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
HP Marshall of Boise State University takes a photo of Alaska’s North Slope north of the Brooks Range during a snow survey as part of a NASA experiment. (Courtesy Photo / Sveta Stuefer)

Alaska Science Forum: Dozens descend upon Alaska to measure snow

“We would like to be able to map the water-equivalent (in snow) globally.”

HP Marshall of Boise State University takes a photo of Alaska’s North Slope north of the Brooks Range during a snow survey as part of a NASA experiment. (Courtesy Photo / Sveta Stuefer)
Female mosquitoes have complex mouthparts, with toothy maxillae that saw a hole in the host, an injection tube for saliva, and another tube for sucking up blood. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Blood-eaters of the animal kingdom

Eating liquid blood is a moderately popular way of life in the animal kingdom.

Female mosquitoes have complex mouthparts, with toothy maxillae that saw a hole in the host, an injection tube for saliva, and another tube for sucking up blood. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Costa Rica in Central America. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Stranger in a rich land of winter life

Things an Alaskan notices while standing on a road in Costa Rica…

The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Costa Rica in Central America. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Five Bohemian waxwings rest on a snowy branch between bouts of feeding. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: Variable sightings and weather in winter

Winter is an odd time of year here.

Five Bohemian waxwings rest on a snowy branch between bouts of feeding. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell 
A tiny bird tooth — 73 million years old — found in bluffs of the Colville River. Lauren Keller carried this sample to her presentation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Alaska Science Forum: Birds in Alaska, 70 million years ago

They’re no spring chickens.

Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell 
A tiny bird tooth — 73 million years old — found in bluffs of the Colville River. Lauren Keller carried this sample to her presentation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Killdeer can be seen in winter and nest here in spring. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Breaking out the snowshoes

Surprise! A starlit night, a nice day, lower temperatures, and then some lovely snow.

Killdeer can be seen in winter and nest here in spring. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
Ravens like this one inspire people to respond to their calls, and sometimes to pick up a pencil. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Butterflies and ravens as poetic inspiration

Both poets and scientists are deep observers who interpret the world in different ways.

Ravens like this one inspire people to respond to their calls, and sometimes to pick up a pencil. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
The red flowers of the native columbine are caused by anthocyanins. (Courtesy Photo / Deana Barajas)

On the Trails: The many roads to red

Red and reddish colors can be produced in many ways, by a variety of pigment molecules.

The red flowers of the native columbine are caused by anthocyanins. (Courtesy Photo / Deana Barajas)
A raven vocalizes on the west side of Fairbanks in April 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Hannah Foss)

Alaska Science Forum: Making sense of raven talk

Do we really want to know what ravens are saying about us?

A raven vocalizes on the west side of Fairbanks in April 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Hannah Foss)
Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File 
A porcupine dines in mid-August near the Mendnehall Glacier.

On the Trails: Putting a finer point on porcupines

Plants such as roses and devil’s club aren’t the only prickly ones…

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File 
A porcupine dines in mid-August near the Mendnehall Glacier.
Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Lake Argentina, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. (AP Photo / Francisco Munoz)

Study: 15 million people live under threat of glacial floods

More than half of those are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Lake Argentina, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. (AP Photo / Francisco Munoz)
A Compton tortoiseshell butterfly pauses between flights in Two Rivers resident Rod Boyce’s garage in January 2023. Photo by Rod Boyce.
A Compton tortoiseshell butterfly pauses between flights in Two Rivers resident Rod Boyce’s garage in January 2023. Photo by Rod Boyce.
Bog laurel plants are toxic to mammals; pollinating bees that feed on the pollen make toxic honey. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: A green world

Five decades ago, some well-known ecologists looked around and noted that their terrestrial world was very green. Why didn’t herbivores demolish the greenery? The observers… Continue reading

Bog laurel plants are toxic to mammals; pollinating bees that feed on the pollen make toxic honey. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)