2005 & 2006
2006: Yiming Wang
Late Quaternary climate dynamics inferred from the stable oxygen isotope composition of aquatic insects (Chironomidae: Diptera) from Idavain Lake, Southwest Alaska
This research will contribute to an enhanced understanding of paleoenvironmental changes in southwest Alaska using a newly developed proxy--stable oxygen isotope analysis on chironomid chitin in concert with other existing paleoenvironmental proxy data, such as pollen, stable nigrogen and carbon anlyses of sediments and opal concentrations.
2005: Amy Breen Carroll
Trees in the tundra: An investigation of the origin of Arctic balsam poplar populations
Her dissertation research addresses the hypothesis that a plant refugium, dominated by balsam poplar, existed within the ice-age Beringian landscape. Macrofossil and pollen evidence indicate balsam poplar is the best boreal tree candidate species for survival during the last glaciation. To date, preliminary results from an investigation of the genetics of adaptation to climate across a latitudinal transect in balsam poplar show Alaskan populations are distinct. The presence of unique genotypes in Alaskan populations, as compared to those at the southern end of its range in the central Canada , suggests balsam poplar indeed has a long history within both arctic and boreal Alaska.
This research is supported by the Alaska EPSCoR program, in addition to the Alaska Quaternary Center 's David and Rachel Hopkins Fellowship. Hopkins was an imaginative and multi-talented Quaternary geologist and former UAF professor. He was also intrigued by these far northern stands of balsam poplar and was among the first to hypothesize they may have survived the last glaciation. Amy Carroll is the first recipient of the fellowship; her project exemplifies the kind of research that Hopkins supported throughout his 50-year career.