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This project established a permafrost monitoring network in this region, providing a baseline of permafrost thermal regimes for assessing future change at a total of 26 automated monitoring stations. Stations have collected year-round temperature data from the active layer and the permafrost starting from the summer of 2011. The strong correspondence between spatial variability in permafrost thermal regime and an existing ecotype map allowed for the development of a map of ‘permafrost thermal classes’ for the broader study region. Further, the annual temperature data was used to calibrate models of soil thermal regimes as a function of climate, providing estimates of both historic and future permafrost thermal regimes...
Western Alaska is one of the fastest warming regions on the globe and recent trends are expected to continue into the next century, likely having substantial effects on the aquatic resources of this region. While increased air temperatures will have direct effects on water temperatures, indirect effects due to changes in precipitation, groundwater characteristics, and flow regimes may have much larger effects on aquatic ecosystems. Coastal watersheds of Western Alaska are expected to receive 25-50% more snow and 18-25% more rain in the next century. Future “climate warming” may actually cool some streams if the ratio of snow to rain increases for coastal watersheds, while rain-dominated streams are likely to become...
Permafrost thaw can be a major driver of landscape change. Regions in Western Alaska are highly vulnerable to such thawing due to the high ice content of the soils and the lack of thermal monitoring in this region has limited our ability to understand current thermal state and establish thawing rates. This study established a permafrost monitoring network in this region, providing a baseline of permafrost thermal regimes for assessing future change at a total of 26 automated monitoring stations. Stations have collected year-round temperature data from the active layer and the permafrost starting from the summer of 2011. The strong correspondence between spatial variability in permafrost thermal regime and an existing...
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When resources are spatially and temporally variable, consumers can increasetheir foraging success by moving to track ephemeral feeding opportunitiesas these shift across the landscape; the best examples derive from herbivore–plant systems, where grazers migrate to capitalize on the seasonal waves ofvegetation growth. We evaluated whether analogous processes occur in watershedssupporting spawning sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), askingwhether seasonal activities ofpredators and scavengers shift spatial distributionsto capitalize on asynchronous spawning among populations of salmon. Bothglaucous-winged gulls and coastal brown bears showed distinct shifts in theirspatial distributions over the course of the summer,...
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How local geomorphic and hydrologic features mediate the sensitivity of stream thermal regimesto variation in climatic conditions remains a critical uncertainty in understanding aquatic ecosystem responsesto climate change.We used stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen to estimate contributions of snow and rainfallto 80 boreal streams and show that differences in snow contribution are controlled by watershed topography.Time series analysis of streamthermal regimes revealed that streams in rain-dominated, low-elevation watershedswere 5–8 times more sensitive to variation in summer air temperature compared to streams draining steepertopography whose flows were dominated by snowmelt. This effect wasmore pronounced...
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