Dates: July 15th 26th
This module will provide a hands-on, intensive experience centered on the theme of “the day in the life of a Marine Biologist” and her/his interactions with the crazy aliens of the sea. Throughout the journey we will meet and explore the lives of various marine organisms living along the coast of southcentral Alaska from the very tiny to the very large, from those with bones and those without. We will investigate a particularly perplexing question (TBD by the group) through directed observation and experimentation. [and maybe some other good stuff]
My fascination with the sea and its creatures started as a teenager, even though I grew up in the landlocked state of Utah. During college, I grabbed the chance to learn more about the ocean by participating in a student exchange program and going to Oregon. I had found my passion!
After earning a B.S. in Biology from Utah State University, I trekked up to Fairbanks to work on a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from UAF. I studied intertidal invertebrates in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. I love those slimy, spineless critters! They are the best aliens around!
While completing my degree I fostered a desire to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for the ocean with everyone I met. I started many science outreach activities from visiting local classrooms, to mentoring scouts through ocean-related merit badges, to much more. The culmination of my efforts was the development of ASRA’s first “away” module—Marine Biology! Next year, 2013, will be the 9th year that I have led the Marine Biology module. It is a great satisfaction to see young minds grasp new knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Since graduating from UAF I have taught Marine Biology and Biology courses at universities in Washington and Utah. I returned to Alaska and UAF in 2008 and have been managing large scale research projects in the School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences (SFOS). My current projects include surveying the communities of benthic (sea floor) critters in the northeastern Chukchi Sea (Arctic Ocean) and monitoring sediment-dwelling communities in Port Valdez at the Alaska oil pipeline terminus.
In addition to the ocean, I love working on the family sheep farm, riding horses, reading, and driving or racing my cute little blue car!
Dave Norton has studied and taught natural sciences in Alaska since coming to Fairbanks for graduate school in 1967. Subjects to which he has contributed have ranged widely over the ensuing four decades, including behavior and physiology of Arctic birds, marine sciences, sea ice dynamics, dinosaur paleontology, paleoecology of Beringia, traditional ecological knowledge, and the history of earthquakes in relation to plate tectonic theory. He has served as a research associate at each of the three senior UAF institutes (Arctic Biology, Geophysics, Marine Science) and at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He has taught for the Rural Alaska Honors Institute, Upward Bound and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.