Investigating Patterns of Life

Dates: July 10-21, 2017
Cost: $700.00

Have you ever wondered why a plant grows where it does? Or how scientists count birds without being able to see every single one? Investigating where plants and animals live can help us discover patterns in the landscape that allow us to predict the distribution of life locally. In this field-based module, students will play the scientist, noting patterns, posing questions, making predictions, and testing hypotheses about how plant and animal communities are distributed. We will focus on plant identification, but will also discuss how these plants influence the presence of animals, as we search for signs of birds, mammals, and insects.           
Students will build familiarity with plant identification and the use of maps while exploring flood plains, recent burns, hills and valleys, and the influences of water (precipitation) and ice (permafrost). We will create cross-section and planar maps to identify patterns, make and test predictions.   Students will spend much of their time outside, exploring a variety local landscapes such as recent burns, floodplains, changing stream beds, valleys and hills, and the permafrost tunnel. Get ready to spend time outside observing and discovering life!

Apply hereLink only works during application period, February 1 through April 15

Meet the Instructors

Madi McConnell, Masters student, Department of Biology & Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks

I am a master’s student in the Biology and Wildlife program at UAF, studying the interactions between great horned owls and snowshoe hares in the Arctic. As I study the interactions between predators and prey at the northern limits of their distribution, I am always searching for patterns in life. After earning my bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, I spent several years working on ecological research projects in polar regions, and guiding backpacking trips for young learners through an outdoor education school. I love running, swimming, exploring, and sharing my enthusiasm for the natural world.

Lindsey Parkinson, Masters student, Department of Biology & Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks

I studied environmental science and environmental education at Western Washington University where I worked on projects ranging from identifying worms collected from the Bering Sea floor to creating outdoor education lessons on ferns and lichens. In 2012 I had an amazing opportunity to do field research in Arctic Siberia where I fell in love with Arctic ecology. Several years later I’m now at UAF pursuing a master’s degree in the Biology and Wildlife department investigating the factors influence berry production after wildfire

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