2016: Juliette Funck

Tracking migration patterns of ancient bison in eastern Beringia: strontium isotope analyses of an exceptionally well-preserved steppe bison (Bison b. priscus) specimen from the North slope

Steppe bison once roamed Beringia in large herds.  Since then the steppe bison went extinct, and later the wood bison who replaced them in Alaska have also been driven to extinction locally.  However, clues to how these once populous animals lived exists in the biogeochemistry of their teeth and bones.  “Bison Bob”, a mummified steppe bison from the Ikpikpuk River on the North Slope, offers a window into the life of a steppe bison in Beringia.   I have proposed to add to the collaborative efforts of research on this specimen with intra-tooth strontium analysis. This interdisciplinary approach uses the biogeochemistry of tooth enamel to determine the geographic movement of an individual over a year and half of early life.  The results of this analysis will allow us to determine the seasonal migratory behavior of this individual, “Bison Bob”.  In the context of my PhD research this information will be compared to the landscape use of other steppe bison from Beringia in the Pleistocene as well as contemporary wood bison that are now being reintroduced.  The goals of this project are to: add information about this individual specimen, uncover how steppe bison used the landscape, how this was affected by glacial cycles of climate change and human arrival on the continent, and finally to aid in conservation of the reintroduced wood bison.


2015: Louise Farquharson

Holocene ice-wedge polygon development and its impact on soil organic carbon dynamics in the Noatak lowlands, Alaska


2015: Paul Wilcox

Vegetation of Ice Age Refugia in Southeast Alaska


2013: Louise Farquharson

Establishing a detailed chronology for a Quaternary marine transgression on the Beaufort Sea Coastal Plain, Alaska


2011: Carson Baughman

Ecological thresholds between arctic steppe and tundra

I aim to understand the micro-scale environmental conditions that control the distribution of tundra-steppe communities on Alaska’s North Slope within greater Beringia. If we understand the factors controlling distribution of these unique plant communities today, we will be able to understand their distribution during the past and better predict their responses to the rapid climate changes predicted for arctic Alaska over the next 50 years. This is important for reconstructing ecosystem change since the Pleistocene Holocene transition and for current species conservation issues

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