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Mt. Redoubt on April 20, 2009.  Picture by Durelle Smith

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SCIENCE CENTER

DOI on the Landscape

2005

Understanding and Managing for Change on the North Slope of Alaska:
Wildlife Response to a Changing Landscape and its Implications for Managers

Thumbnail image representing the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area.
Teshekpuk Lake Special Area

Climate patterns in the Arctic are changing, and this has led to a cascading series of physical and ecological consequences in Arctic landscapes. Because the Department of the Interior manages many lands and resources that are affected by this landscape evolution, it is incumbent upon us to understand these processes.

2009
Thumbnail image representing project. A Molecular Framework
Indigenous people who subsist heavily on native wildlife and plant resources may be at increased risk of exposure to emerging zoonotic diseases as a result of a changing climate. In an effort to assist resource managers predict the response of species to rapidly changing environmental conditions expected under climate change scenarios, this research will use a molecular approach involving co-distributed species to investigate differential demographic responses of high latitude vertebrates, and associated pathogens, to past climate change.
Thumbnail image representing project. Can Avian migrants keep pace with climate-induced changes in plant phenology
There is considerable evidence that global climate change is altering the phenology of spring vegetative growth and extending the growing season in plants at northern latitudes. Timing between plant phenology and key life-cycle events can have significant consequences for avian species. Understanding factors influencing timing of breeding in migratory birds will help managers interpret fluctuations in population trends and predict population trajectories, understand ecosystem change and forecast how Alaska landscapes and migratory birds are responding to climate change.
Thumbnail image representing project. Causes and Consequences of Coastal Erosion in Alaska
Shoreline loss and alteration of coastal wetlands and wildlife habitats are likely harbingers of future changes in ecosystems that are vulnerable to climate driven changes in land-based patterns of precipitation and temperature as well as increases in sea level and the incidence of storm-driven tides. These may directly affect important breeding areas for migratory birds and key autumn staging areas for waterbirds and could lead to changes in overall populations.
Thumbnail image representing project. Photo credit: Randy Davis. Forecasting coastal ecosystem responses to influences from land and sea
Coastal ecosystems face unprecedented challenges due to accelerated rates of environmental change that are occurring both offshore and onshore. The resulting stressors are a combination of cascading effects of global warming, elevated biological and chemical pollutants, and habitat modification associated with increasing human populations along coastlines. While our understanding of the physical processes that underlie this change are advancing, the implications for species and ecological systems are relatively unexplored. We expect that this research will be used to understand and quantify the relative roles of ecosystem productivity, food limitation, and anthropogenic sources of pollution and infectious disease in regulating sea otter populations.

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