Much of the northern landscape is pristine wilderness harboring the last free-ranging populations of North American megafauna and predators. Northern ecosystems, and Alaska in particular, are experiencing some of the fastest rates of climate warming on Earth. Faculty in the Department of Biology and Wildlife seek to understand how this landscape is affected by an array of disturbances including wildfire, flooding, insect and pathogen outbreaks, permafrost thaw, and drying of lakes and streams.
Research on northern ecosystems in the Department of Biology and Wildlife is focused on boreal forest and tundra ecosystems, and is conducted by faculty with expertise on CO2 and other trace gas fluxes from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, modeling of climate change impacts on ecosystems, evolutionary and population ecology, animal behavior, permafrost-wildfire-vegetation dynamics, aquatic ecology, and microbial ecology. Our teaching uses disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, with offerings ranging from freshman courses on Alaska’s natural history to graduate courses in Global Change Biology. Research at the Toolik Field Station and Bonanza Creek LTER program bring researchers together from across the world and provides valuable opportunities for undergraduate and graduate education.
Faculty doing research in this area: