Dr. Nancy H. Bigelow


Alaska Quaternary Center
Box 755940
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5940

tel: 907-474-5433

e-mail: nhbigelow@alaska.edu


  • Ph.D. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Department of Anthropology (Archaeology) Aug. 1997
  • M.A. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Department of Anthropology (Archaeology). Sept. 1991
  • B.A. University of Vermont, Department of History (Modern European History). June 1982


Arctic paleoecology, palynology, vegetation history, and ecosystem reponses to climate change during the Quaternary period.  Human-landscape interactions especially the local landscape as people would have experienced it.


  • Landscape and vegetation change in interior Alaska after about 14,000 years ago.
  • Landscape and vegetation change in the Alaska Range.
  • Vegetation change in the western Aleutians.
  • Landscape change, middle and upper Susitna drainage.

2017. Wang, Y., Heintzman, P. D., Newsom, L., Bigelow, N. H., Wooller, M. J., Shapiro, B., and Williams, J. W. (2017). The southern coastal Beringian land bridge: cryptic refugium or pseudo refugium for woody plants during the Last Glacial Maximum? Journal of Biogeography, 1-13, doi:10.1111/jbi.13010.

2016.Hoffecker, J. F., Elias, S. A., O'Rourke, D. H., Scott, G. R., and Bigelow, N. H.  Beringia and the global dispersal of modern humans. Evolutionary Anthropology 25, 64-78, DOI: 10.1002/evan.21478.

2016. Farquharson, L., Anthony, K. W., Bigelow, N., Edwards, M., and Grosse, G. (2016). Facies analysis of yedoma thermokarst lakes on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Sedimentary Geology 340, 25-37, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2016.01.002.

2014. Bigelow, N. H., Edwards, M. E., Elias, S. A., Hamilton, T. D., and Schweger, C. E.  Tundra and boreal forest of interior Alaska during terminal MIS 6 and MIS 5e. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 23, 177-193, 10.1007/s00334-013-0425-z.

2013.  Bigelow, N. H., Zazula, G. D., and Atkinson, D. E.  PLANT MACROFOSSIL RECORDS | Arctic North America. In "Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science (Second Edition)." (S. A. Elias, and C. J. Mock, Eds.), pp. 746-759. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

2013. Bigelow, N. H.  POLLEN RECORDS, LATE PLEISTOCENE | Northern North America. In "Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science (Second Edition)." (S. A. Elias, and C. J. Mock, Eds.), pp. 39-51. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

2013. Saito, K., Marchenko, S., Romanovsky, V., Hendricks, A., Bigelow, N., Yoshikawa, K., and Walsh, J.  Evaluation of LPM permafrost distribution in NE Asia reconstructed and downscaled from GCM simulations. Boreas, 10.1111/bor.12038.

2013.  Turner, D. G., Ward, B. C., Bond, J. D., Jensen, B. J. L., Froese, D. G., Telka, A. M., Zazula, G. D., and Bigelow, N. H.  Middle to Late Pleistocene ice extents, tephrochronology and paleoenvironments of the White River area, southwest Yukon. Quaternary Science Reviews 75, 59-77, 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.05.011.

2012. Finney, B., Bigelow, N., Barber, V., and Edwards, M.  Holocene climate change and carbon cycling in a groundwater-fed, boreal forest lake: Dune Lake, Alaska. Journal of Paleolimnology  48, 43-54, 10.1007/s10933-012-9617-2.

2012. Wetterich, S., Grosse, G., Schirmeister, L., Andreev, A. A., Bobrov, A. A., Kienast, F., Bigelow, N. H., and Edwards, M. E.  Late Quaternary environmental and landscape dynamics revealed by a pingo sequence on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 39, 26-44, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.01.027.

2012. Wooller, M. J., Zazula, G. D., Blinnikov, M., Gaglioti, B. V., Bigelow, N. H., Sanborn, P., Kuzmina, S., and La Farge, C.  The detailed palaeoecology of a mid-Wisconsinan interstadial (ca. 32 000 14C a BP) vegetation surface from interior Alaska. Journal of Quaternary Science 26, 746–756, DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1497.

2011.  Graf, K. E., and Bigelow, N. H.  Human response to climate during the Younger Dryas chronozone in central Alaska. Quaternary International 242, 434-451, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.04.030.

2011. Jørgensen, T., Haile, J., Møller, P., Andreev, A. A., Boessenkool, S., Rasmussen, M., Kienast, F., Coissac, E., Taberlet, P., Brochmann, C., Bigelow, N. H., Andersen, K., Orlando, L., Gilbert, M. T. P., and Willerslev, E.  A comparative study of ancient sedimentary DNA, pollen and macrofossils from permafrost sediments of northern Siberia reveals long-term vegetational stability.  Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05287.x.

2008. Mason, O.K., Bigelow, N.H. The crucible of early to mid-Holocene climate in northern Alaska: does Northern Archaic represent the people of the spreading forest? Arctic Anthropology 45(2) 39-70

2007.  N.H. Bigelow  Late Quaternary pollen records of northern North America. In "Encylopedia of Quaternary Science." (S. A. Elias, Ed.), pp. 2633-2648. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

2007.  N.H. Bigelow, G.D. Zazula, and Atkinson, D.E.  Plant macrofossil records: Arctic North America. In "Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science." (S. A. Elias, Ed.), pp. 2434-2450. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

2006. CAPE-Last Interglacial Project Members. Last Interglacial Arctic warmth confirms polar amplification of climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 1383-1400.

2003. Edwards M.E., Hamilton T.D., Elias S.A., Bigelow N.H., and A.P. Krumhardt. Interglacial Extension of the Boreal forest Limit in the noatak Valley, Northwest Alaska: Evidence from an Exhumed River-Cut Bluff and Debris Apron. Artic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 35, 460-468.

2003. Kaplan J.O., Bigelow N.H., Prentice I.C., Harrison S.P., and 14 others. Climate change and Arctic ecosystems 2. Modeling, paleodata-model comparisons, and future projections.Journal of Geophysical Research 108 12-1 to 12-17 Download pdf (5.0 mb).

2003. Nancy H. Bigelow, Linda B. Brubaker, Mary E. Edwards, Sandy P. Harrison, and 23 others. Climate change and Arctic ecosystems I. Vegetation changes north of 55 degrees N between the last glacial maximum, mid-Holocene and present. Journal of Geophysical Research 108 11-1 to 11-25. Download pdf (2.9 mb).

2001. Nancy H. Bigelow and Wm. Roger Powers. Climate, vegetation, and archaeology 14,000-9000 cal yr B.P. in Central Alaska. Arctic Anthropology 38, 171-195.

2001. Nancy H. Bigelow and Mary E. Edwards. A 14,000 yr paleoenvironmental record from Windmill Lake, Central Alaska: evidence for high-frequency climatic and vegetation fluctuations. Quaternary Science Reviews 20, 203-215.

2000. Mary E. Edwards, P. M. Anderson, L. B. Brubaker, T. A. Ager, A. A. Andreev, N. H. Bigelow, and 13 others. Pollen-based biomes for Beringia 18,000, 6000, and 0 14C yr B. P. Journal of Biogeography 27,521-554.

2000. Mary E. Edwards, Nancy H. Bigelow, and Bruce Finney. Single-core records as indicators of late-Quaternary Alaskan lake levels: a preliminary assessment. Journal of Paleolimnology 24, 55-68.



Coring at Eightmile Lake, near Healy, AK.



Dwarf fireweed (Epilobium latifolium) on the Killik River, northern AK



Chester Bluff, Yukon River, AK



Fall Vegetation near Dawson, YT

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