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Weekly Highlights for 5-10-2012

Departmental/Bureau News

USGS Scientist Elected into Fellowship of the Geological Society of America
Dwight Bradley, USGS Alaska Science Center Research Geologist, will be elected to The Geological Society of America Fellowship in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the geosciences. Dr. Dwight Bradley has made fundamental contributions to the field of tectonics at global and regional scales. His work has broadened our understanding of plate movement through time, the configuration of continents, orogenic processes, and tectonic influences on the generation of ore deposits. Bradley's Fellowship will be announced publically at an awards ceremony at the society's annual meeting in Charlotte, NC, November 4-7.
Contact: Mark Shasby Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7065

USGS Scientist to Study the Affects of Past Climate Change on Fire Frequency and Permafrost Thaw Over the last 1,000 Years
USGS Alaska Science Center STEP employee and PhD student at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Benjamin Gaglioti and his advisor, Daniel Mann from UAF have received funding from the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) to study the interactions of past climate change, fire history and permafrost thaw in Interior Alaska over the last 1,000 years. The grant is part of the Graduate Research Innovation component of the 2012 JFSP funding. The project will use a unique set of lake sediments that have an annually layered record of charcoal, and eroded soils from the surrounding area to answer how past climate change such as the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and warming in the 20th century affected fire frequency and soil carbon release from permafrost thaw. This research will use radio-isotopes and layer counting for chronological control, charcoal counting techniques, and radiocarbon age offsets of lake sediment horizons to understand these questions. This information will provide a valuable link to better understanding what may happen to the permafrost carbon pool in the coming century.
Contact: Benjamin Jones Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7033

USGS Provides Expertise to International Shorebird Study
USGS Alaska Science Center Wildlife Biologist Robert Gill is participating in a collaborative study with researchers from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the University of Amsterdam in Friesland, The Netherlands, examining the migration ecology of the Black-tailed Godwit. Gill is sharing his expertise with attachment techniques of solar-powered transmitters to detail the timing and routes of migration of this iconic meadow-breeding shorebird. The Black-tailed Godwit is experiencing steep population declines in The Netherlands, and Gill will apply techniques and technologies refined during his work with the USGS Alaska Science Center's shorebird project ( ) to help identify important linkages between breeding sites in northern Europe and non-breeding sites along the Iberian Peninsula and west Africa.
Contact: Robert Gill Jr. Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7184

USGS Research Presented at 12th International Circumpolar Remote Sensing Symposium
The 12th International Circumpolar Remote Sensing Symposium in Levi, Finland May 14-18 will provide an international forum for the discussion of work currently being carried out in the circumpolar regions of the world and will be of interest to scientists, scholars, and industry and government professionals involved in renewable and non-renewable resource management in both polar environments. Carl Markon, USGS Deputy Regional Executive for the Alaska Area, is on the organizing committee and will be presenting research conducted by USGS Alaska Science Center Research Geographer David Selkowitz. The first talk entitled "A Multi-Sensor Approach for Mapping Canopy Height Over Large Areas in Boreal Forest Regions" will discuss the use of spaceborne lidar data from the Geosciences Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) in combination with imagery from the Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS) to produce a comprehensive forest canopy height map for a portion of Interior Alaska. This approach to forest canopy height mapping makes use of remotely sensed data that covers the entire circumpolar boreal forest region and is available at no cost, making it an attractive candidate for large area canopy height mapping across the boreal forest region. The second talk entitled "A Multi-Sensor Approach for Synthesizing High Resolution Daily Snow Covered Area" outlines an approach for combining daily imagery from moderate resolution sensors with sporadically acquired imagery from higher resolution sensors to synthesize a daily high spatial resolution Satellite-based snow covered area (SCA) time series dataset. SCA monitoring provides a record of the spatial and temporal variability of snow cover that is useful for climatologists, hydrologists, ecologists, and other scientists and resource managers. While moderate resolution SCA datasets are widely available, presently, no single existing or planned instrument is suitable for daily high spatial resolution SCA monitoring.
Contact: Carl Markon Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7023

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