Science

Ellesmere Island National Park in Canada. (Courtesy Photo / Joel Barker)

Alaska Science Forum: Mummified forest tells tale of changing north

Ancient fair-weather trees suggest a very warm period in the far north

Ellesmere Island National Park in Canada. (Courtesy Photo / Joel Barker)
This July 13 photo shows a short-tailed weasel. Short-tailed weasels or ermines wear brown summer coats but white coats in winter. The animals are among the dozens of species that make up the family Mustelidae. The long, slender body form of weasels is well-suited for these predators to pursue voles and mice into narrow tunnels and tight spaces. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: The weasel family

Flexing our mustelids.

This July 13 photo shows a short-tailed weasel. Short-tailed weasels or ermines wear brown summer coats but white coats in winter. The animals are among the dozens of species that make up the family Mustelidae. The long, slender body form of weasels is well-suited for these predators to pursue voles and mice into narrow tunnels and tight spaces. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Voles left several trackways at the edge of the wetlands; a tail-drag mark shows behind the foot marks. (Courtesy Photo / David Bergeson)

On the Trails: Observations from four wintry walks

Plenty of creatures stirring.

Voles left several trackways at the edge of the wetlands; a tail-drag mark shows behind the foot marks. (Courtesy Photo / David Bergeson)
A graphic shows warming of the Arctic compared to the rest of the world. The image was released as part of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card for 2021 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Dec. 14, 2021.  (Courtesy Image / NOAA climate.gov)

Alaska Science Forum: News of the Arctic from New Orleans

We need to talk about this report card.

A graphic shows warming of the Arctic compared to the rest of the world. The image was released as part of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card for 2021 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Dec. 14, 2021.  (Courtesy Image / NOAA climate.gov)
This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a New Mexico whiptail. The lizards are obligately parthenogenetic(capable of reproduction without fertilization) and unisexual (female). (Courtesy Photo / Greg Schechter)

On the Trails: Parthenogenesis in vertebrates

There’s another way to be a single parent.

This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a New Mexico whiptail. The lizards are obligately parthenogenetic(capable of reproduction without fertilization) and unisexual (female). (Courtesy Photo / Greg Schechter)
A forest growing on Malaspina Glacier in southern Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Martin Truffer)

Alaska Science Forum: Elephant Point and trees growing on ice

Pointing out the origins of a name.

A forest growing on Malaspina Glacier in southern Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Martin Truffer)
This photo shows a raven in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: Transition to winter — maybe

A mat of old leaves lined the roadway, each leaf fringed with crystals, making a pretty mosaic…

This photo shows a raven in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
The egg mass under the tipped up shell is indicated by A, and the head of the male sculpin by B. (Courtesy Photo / John Palmes)

On the Trails: Caring for offspring

Vertebrates have a broad spectrum of ways to care for their offspring

The egg mass under the tipped up shell is indicated by A, and the head of the male sculpin by B. (Courtesy Photo / John Palmes)
Killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / North Gulf Oceanic Society, NMFS research permit 20341)

Alaska Science Forum: Listening to the voices of killer whales

By Ned Rozell In the deep blue ocean just off the coast of Alaska, killer whales are now communicating with one another with clicks and… Continue reading

Killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / North Gulf Oceanic Society, NMFS research permit 20341)
Fairbanks City Transit System No. 142 of “Into the Wild” fame inside the engineering building on the UAF campus, where UA Museum of the North conservators will work on its preservation. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Fairbanks City Transit System No. 142 of “Into the Wild” fame inside the engineering building on the UAF campus, where UA Museum of the North conservators will work on its preservation. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
This photo shows a wall of permafrost ice in a bank of the Itkillik River in northern Alaska.(Courtesy Photo / Eva Stephani)

Alaska Science Forum: Far-north permafrost cliff is one of a kind

An amphitheater of frozen ground thaws where a northern river cuts into it, exposing walls of ice.

This photo shows a wall of permafrost ice in a bank of the Itkillik River in northern Alaska.(Courtesy Photo / Eva Stephani)
Tone and Charles Deehr in Fairbanks, October 2021. Both photos courtesy Charles Deehr. 3. (Courtesy Photo / Charles Deehr)

Alaska Science Forum: Red aurora rare enough to be special

In decades of sky-watching in the north, he has seen a few red auroras, but not many.

Tone and Charles Deehr in Fairbanks, October 2021. Both photos courtesy Charles Deehr. 3. (Courtesy Photo / Charles Deehr)
This photo shows the colors of deciduous trees and bushes on the upper Delta River in Interior Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: The season of senescence is upon us

Trees and other plants are simply shedding what no longer suits them.

This photo shows the colors of deciduous trees and bushes on the upper Delta River in Interior Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Jeff Doty and Faisai Minhaj check traps baited with oats and peanut butter for voles and squirrels in Interior Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Jeff Doty and Faisai Minhaj check traps baited with oats and peanut butter for voles and squirrels in Interior Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
The Elvey Building (with the satellite dish on top), home to the Geophysical Institute on the UAF campus. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Diversity helps a place survive

“From the center of the Earth to the center of the sun.”

The Elvey Building (with the satellite dish on top), home to the Geophysical Institute on the UAF campus. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Neal Brown in 1967, holding his newborn son Kris. Brown accepts the Roger Smith Lifetime Achievement award in 2016 from Geophysical Institute director Bob McCoy. Brown in 2021, on an outing in New Hampshire with his dog Molly. Courtesy Photos / Kris Brown,  Geophysical Institute, Becky Lees)

Alaska Science Forum: Neal Brown leaves legacy of learning and laughing

Brown never lost his child-like wonder about the world.

Neal Brown in 1967, holding his newborn son Kris. Brown accepts the Roger Smith Lifetime Achievement award in 2016 from Geophysical Institute director Bob McCoy. Brown in 2021, on an outing in New Hampshire with his dog Molly. Courtesy Photos / Kris Brown,  Geophysical Institute, Becky Lees)
The antenna of an Argos satellite tag extends past the tail feathers of a female American robin as she feeds a worm to her hungry nestlings on a front porch in Cheverly, Md., Sunday, May 9, 2021. A new antenna on the International Space Station and receptors on the Argos satellite, combined with the shrinking size of tracking chips and batteries, are allowing scientists to remotely monitor small animal and songbird movements in much greater detail than ever before. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)

Scientists hail golden age to trace bird migration with tech

Robins fly more than 2,780 miles between their breeding area in Alaska and winter grounds in Texas.

The antenna of an Argos satellite tag extends past the tail feathers of a female American robin as she feeds a worm to her hungry nestlings on a front porch in Cheverly, Md., Sunday, May 9, 2021. A new antenna on the International Space Station and receptors on the Argos satellite, combined with the shrinking size of tracking chips and batteries, are allowing scientists to remotely monitor small animal and songbird movements in much greater detail than ever before. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)
An Alaska Earthquake Center map of all the earthquakes that happened in the year 2020, including the epicenter of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that happened May 30, 2021. (Courtesy Image / Ned Rozell)
An Alaska Earthquake Center map of all the earthquakes that happened in the year 2020, including the epicenter of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that happened May 30, 2021. (Courtesy Image / Ned Rozell)
The NASA Black Brant XII rocket lifts off with the KiNET-X experiment at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on May 16, 2021. (Terry Zaperach / NASA)

Chasing starlight: Alaska team shoots rocket searching for aurora data

Weather conditions on the East Coast nearly scrubbed the mission.

The NASA Black Brant XII rocket lifts off with the KiNET-X experiment at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on May 16, 2021. (Terry Zaperach / NASA)
In Ferry, Alaska, a balsam poplar leaf emerges from a bud in May. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Greenup unfolds, pollen soon to follow

The great, silent collective explosion of freed tree buds is coming.

In Ferry, Alaska, a balsam poplar leaf emerges from a bud in May. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)