Weekly Highlights for 9-28-2012
A. Upcoming Events
No Upcoming Events highlights for this week
Alaska Science Center research biologist Joel Schmutz will represent the USGS at the technical committee meeting of the Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV) meeting next week in Calgary, Alberta, to participate in evaluating research and management needs related to geese in North America. The AGJV is a body of 12-15 biologists and resource managers from state, provincial, and federal organizations in the U.S. and Canada, and identifies research priorities, allocates federal dollars to science projects, and provides counsel and recommendations to a diversity of entities, but principally leadership of government agencies. Recent and current issues include updating the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, providing technical reports and recommendations about how the U.S. and Canada should manage the exponentially increasing and overabundant populations of white geese (Snow Geese and Ross's Geese), and provisioning of research support for studies examining the depressed populations of geese that use coastal marine systems.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7186
On September 27, Anchorage-based USGS disaster responders participated in the 2012 Anchorage Earthquake Annex Exercise for the DOI Disaster Response Plan for Alaska. The DOI Disaster Response Plan for Alaska outlines DOI response to protect the lives of DOI employees and evaluate property damage following a major disaster, principally a large-magnitude earthquake located in Anchorage or Fairbanks. Participants will engage with responders from other DOI agencies at the BLM Campbell Tract facility to discuss response following a simulated earthquake and return to designated facilities to test radio communications.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7177
On September 27, Alaska Science Center outreach coordinator Yvette Gillies and biologist Kim Kloecker provided a sea otter presentation and hands on activities for kids enrolled in the Alaska Pacific University (APU) Farm School in Palmer, Alaska. The APU farm school provides support for home schooled children with a community-centered social experience that meets multidisciplinary agendas, through environmental education. The presentation included an overview of sea otters and their adaption to the marine environment, the history of human interaction with otters, and the importance of sea otters as a keystone species. The students watched a short video on how scientists capture otters and then participated in a hands-on activity that taught students how sea otters help scientists investigate the health of the nearshore ecosystem through a mock sea otter capture and data collection activity.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7039
During the week of September 17-21, USGS Alaska Science Center scientist Erin Todd attended the strategic Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) planning workshop for "ULTRA-DEEP DRILLING INTO ARC CRUST," a gathering of 60 scientists from a wide range of disciplines (geophysicists, geologists, geochemists and petrologists) who are interested in the nature of arc crust and how it is modified in collision zones and preserved in continental crust. The goal was to discuss the merits, methods and implications of "ULTRA-DEEP" drilling (up to 6 km below seafloor) in the Bonin Ridge, with the riser-equipped Deep Sea Drilling Vessel (D/V) CHIKYU. The proposed drilling is a unique opportunity to sample unprocessed juvenile continental-type crust, to observe the active processes that produce the nuclei of new continental crust, and to examine the nature of juvenile continental crust as first generated at intra-oceanic arcs. The IODP drilling leg would take place as soon as 2014 and is sponsored jointly by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) and National Science Foundation.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7441
USGS Alaska Science Center wildlife biologists Gretchen Roffler and Layne Adams and geneticists Sandra Talbot and Kevin Sage, are co-authors of a paper to be published in the October edition of the Journal of Mammalogy entitled "Range overlap and individual movements during breeding season influence genetic relationships of caribou herds in southcentral Alaska". Caribou populations are typically defined by their calving areas and in this study, the authors used radio telemetry and genetic information from the Mentasta and Nelchina caribou herds of southcentral Alaska to determine movements and distribution of the two herds. The study found that although female caribou within the two herds calve in separate regions, individual movements and breeding ranges overlapped in some years, providing opportunity for gene flow, largely through male dispersal. Thus, although the Mentasta and Nelchina herds exhibit distinct population dynamics and physical characteristics, the two herds are connected by some individual and genetic exchange. The abstract is available online at: http://www.asmjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1644/11-MAMM-A-275.1
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7095
A new paper soon to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research estimates coseismic slip on the southern Cascadia megathrust using computer tsunami simulations and prehistoric tsunami deposits in Bradley Lake, Oregon. The megathrust is the principal fault within the 1,100-km long Cascadia subduction zone where the Juan de Fuca plate descend beneath North America. Researchers test hypothetical tsunami scenarios against a 4,600-year record of sandy deposits in a coastal lake that offer minimum inundation limits for prehistoric tsunamis. USGS Alaska Science Center scientist Rob Witter is the lead author of the paper entitled "Coseismic slip on the southern Cascadia megathrust implied by tsunami deposits in an Oregon lake and earthquake-triggered marine turbidites." The paper presents work done while Witter was at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. The paper may be viewed at http://www.agu.org/journals/jb/papersinpress.shtml#id2012JB009404
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7404
John Pearce, Wildlife Biologist with the USGS Alaska Science Center, was interviewed live on the KTUU Channel 2 (Anchorage, AK), 5:00 pm news program on September 24 regarding a recent scientific article that presented new information on transmission of avian malaria in Alaska birds. USGS was not part of the study but the Alaska Science Center does have an active disease research program and wanted to provide additional information to the public about the findings of the new study.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7094
On September 24, USGS Alaska Science Center scientist Lily Peacock spoke with journalist Zac Unger for a story in Canadian Geographic about the status of polar bear populations in Canada.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7068
On September 24, Janet Curran, Hydrologist with the USGS Alaska Science Center answered questions regarding the recent widespread flooding affecting Southcentral Alaska for Jim Carleton, a reporter from the Wall St. Journal. Curran provided streamflow data from USGS streamgages.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7128
On September 24, USGS Alaska Science Center scientist Karyn Rode answered questions for an article in the Alaska Dispatch regarding factors affecting and implications of bears onshore in the autumn—specifically around Kaktoivk. Rode discussed USGS's ongoing studies of polar bears onshore in the fall in the southern Beaufort, what questions those studies will address, and results from several USGS publications regarding fall use of land by polar bears in the southern Beaufort. The article titled "Rotting whale meat lures record 80 polar bears to Kaktovik" may be found at:
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7106
No Publications highlights for this week
No Hazards highlights for this week