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We assessed change in the seasonal timing of insect emergence from tundra ponds near Barrow, Alaska over a four-decade timespan, and explored factors that regulate this significant ecological phenomenon. The early-summer pulse of adult insects emerging from myriad tundra ponds on the Arctic Coastal Plain is an annual event historically coincident with resource demand by tundra-nesting avian consumers. Asymmetrical changes in the seasonal timing of prey availability and consumer needs may impact arctic-breeding shorebirds, eiders, and passerines. We have found evidence of change in the thermal behavior of these arctic wetlands, along with a shift in the phenology of emerging pond insects. Relative to the 1970s, tundra...
The distribution and abundance of fishes across the Alaska Arctic is not well understood. Better information on fish distribution is needed for habitat assessment and modeling activities and is also important for planning industrial activities. The State of Alaska maintains a fish distribution database for anadromous fish species, however there is currently no analog for resident fish species. The concept behind AquaBase was to fill the information gap for resident fish by design a database that contains information about all fish species. AquaBase does not duplicate information that is already available in other spatial database, but rather ‘rescues’ data from reports that are not readily available.
Historically, available polar bear den habitat models have been based primarily on the presence of topographic features capable of capturing drifting snow. In any given season, however, the availability and precise location of snowdrifts of sufficient size to accommodate a bear den depends on the antecedent snowfall and wind conditions, and these vary from one year to the next. Thus, suitable topography is a necessary pre-condition, but is not sufficient to accurately predict potential den sites in a given year. To satisfy the requirements of agency and industry managers what is needed is a user-friendly decision-support tool that takes into account the current fall and early-winter meteorological conditions, and...
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The Alaska Climate-Biome Shift Project (AK Cliomes) and the Yukon (YT) and NorthwestTerritories (NWT) Climate-Biome Shift Project (Ca Cliomes) were collaborative efforts thatused progressive clustering methodology, existing land cover classifications, and historicaland projected climate data to identify areas of Alaska, the Yukon, and NWT that are likely toundergo the greatest or least ecological pressure, given climate change. Project results and datapresented in this report are intended to serve as a framework for research and planning byland managers and other stakeholders with an interest in ecological and socioeconomic sustainability.
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This dataset consists of a polygon vector file representing 767 plots surveyed as part of the Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM). For each plot, information pertaining to shorebird abundance, occupancy, and species richness is provided. This dataset was derived from single-visit rapid area shorebird surveys in which 1-2 surveyors recorded all suspected breeding shorebirds within the plot boundary. These data were acquired over the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska during nine years between 1998 and 2008 (surveys not conducted in 2003 and 2005).
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The White-crowned Sparrow is a common breeding bird from the Pacific Coast in the Lower 48to the northern extent of its range in Arctic Alaska (Chilton et al. 1995). The Gambel’ssubspecies, the breeder in Alaska, is most commonly associated with shrubby riparian habitatsthat run through both boreal and tundra environs. White-crowned Sparrows consume a widevariety of plant and animal prey and during the breeding season feed their young a strict diet ofinsect and other animal prey. Alaskan birds are short-distance migrants and winter in temperateNorth America (Chilton et al. 1995). Overall White-crowned Sparrow populations appear to bestable (Chilton et al. 1995).
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The Red Phalarope commonly breeds on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska, but is moreabundant west of the Colville River primarily near the coast (Johnson et al. 2007). In Alaska, thisspecies almost exclusively nests in wet/moist polygonal or marshy tundra and are dependent onaquatic food sources for much of their diet (Tracy et al. 2002). Red Phalaropes are the mostpelagic of the three phalarope species and spend most of their winters in subtropical and tropicalseas near areas of nutrient upwelling (Tracy et al. 2002). Current population estimate of theNorth American population is 1.25 million with a suspected declining trend (Morrison et al.2006).
Natural resource managers and native communities have expressed a need for effectively synthesizing traditional knowledge and western science data. Often wildlife management plans are based on remotely sensed data and data collected by wildlife biologists. These data may not reflect the variables that are important to the local users, including the scale of information, names describing places or habitats, or how seasonality affects the wildlife available for harvest. The Inuvialuit of the Yukon North Slope have formed a Wildlife Advisory Council, a co-management body, comprised of federal, territorial, and Inuvialuit representatives, and they are working closely with researchers from the Round River Organization...
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The Long-tailed Duck is one of the most common sea ducks in Arctic Alaska, and has acircumpolar distribution. They are known for their ability to dive to impressive depths (> 60 m)in search of food (Robertson and Savard 2002). In Arctic Alaska, this species typically nests inwet tundra near shallow Carex or Arctophila-dominated ponds, and braided streams (Robertsonand Savard 2002). During the breeding season, their diet consists primarily of aquaticinvertebrates although they will also take vegetative matter (Robertson and Savard 2002). Duringpost-breeding molt, this species uses coastal lagoons and deep, open lakes (Robertson andSavard 2002). Long-tailed Ducks winter on both coasts of North America and on the Great...
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The American Golden-plover is a conspicuous breeding bird in Arctic Alaska with slightlyhigher density in the Brooks Range foothills compared to the coastal plain (Johnson et al. 2007).In general, this species tends to nest in upland dry habitats, quite often near wetland areas(Johnson and Connors 1996). Like other plovers, American Golden-plovers search forinvertebrate prey visually and forage in a mix of wet to dry tundra during the breeding season.This species winters primarily in the southern portion of South America (Johnson and Connors1996). Current North American population estimate is 200,000 with a declining trend (Morrisonet al. 2006).
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The Glaucous Gull is a large gull with a circumpolar distribution. In Alaska, it is the mostcommon gull along Arctic Ocean coastal areas. Like other gulls, this generalist species hasbenefited from the presence of humans in the arctic and readily utilizes human-subsidized foodresources (e.g. edible garbage, roadkills; Day 1998). Glaucous Gulls take advantage of a widevariety of natural prey as well and are a noted nest predator. Alaskan populations of this specieswinter in the Pribilof and Aleutian islands of Alaska and in decreasing numbers down to coastalOregon and California (Denlinger 2006). The global population is estimated at 340,000-2,400,000 (Wetlands International 2006).
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Aquabase is a geodatabase that links freshwater fish and hydrological information with referenced waterbody locations. Presently, the geospatial region covered is Alaska’s central and eastern North Slope, between the Kuparuk River and USA/Canada border. The dataset is available either as an ESRI ArcGIS 10 file geodatabase or as a shapefile with associated tables.
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he Smith’s Longspur is a relatively understudied passerine breeder on the North Slope ofAlaska. In this region, they are most commonly associated with the Brooks Range foothillswhere they are found in broad valleys and low passes (S. Kendall, pers. comm.). Smith’sLongspurs are known for their polygynandrous mating system which is unusual in passerines. Inarctic Alaska, this species nests on open tundra, from upland hummocky terrain (Briskie 2009) towet meadow habitats (Johnson and Herter 1989). During the breeding season they forage on avariety of invertebrates but also consume seeds and other vegetation (Briskie 2009). Smith’sLongspurs are short-distance migrants and winter in the U.S. Midwest. Current populationestimate...
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Throughout the Arctic most pregnant polar bears (Ursus maritimus) construct maternity dens in seasonal snowdrifts that form in wind-shadowed areas. We developed and verified a spatial snowdrift polar bearden habitat model (SnowDens-3D) that predicts snowdrift locations and depths along Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast. SnowDens-3D integrated snow physics, weather data, and a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) to produce predictions of the timing, distribution, and growth of snowdrifts suitable for polar bear dens. SnowDens-3D assimilated 18 winters (1995 through 2012) of observed daily meteorological data and a 2.5 m grid-increment DEM covering 337.5 km2 of the Beaufort Sea coast, and described the snowdrift...
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The Greater White-fronted Goose, with a nearly circumpolar distribution, has the most expansiverange of any species in its genus. In Alaska, this species breeds in large numbers in both theYukon-Kuskokwim Delta and also on the Arctic Coastal Plain, but they will also nest in theinterior. On the coastal plain breeding habitat ranges from lowland wet to upland dry tundraoften near ponds or lakes (Ely and Dzubin 1994). The Greater White-fronted Goose diet isdominated by vegetative matter, primarily grass and sedge rhizomes, tubers, and berries (Ely andDzubin 1994). Arctic Alaskan populations winter on the Gulf Coastal plain in Louisiana andTexas as well as northern Mexico (Ely and Dzubin 1994). The Alaskan Arctic Coastal...
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The Pomarine Jaeger, the largest of the three jaegers, prowls the arctic tundra subsisting on a dietcomposed almost entirely of brown lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus). This species presumablynests only in years when lemmings are abundant (Wiley and Lee 2000). Their breeding range inAlaska is relatively close to the coast, typically nesting in wet tundra habitats, the same habitatsas those utilized by their favorite prey. Pomarine Jaegers may forgo breeding in low lemmingyears and prematurely return to their tropical and sub-tropical pelagic wintering grounds (Wileyand Lee 2000). Current global population estimate is 250,000 – 3 million individuals (BirdLifeInternational 2012).
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The Parasitic Jaeger, unlike the two other jaegers (the Long-tailed and Pomarine Jaegers), has avaried diet and is not closely tied to lemmings as a food source (Wiley and Lee 1999). Thisspecies utilizes both low-lying marshy tundra and drier tussock-heath tundra for nesting sites(Wiley and Lee 1999). Parastic Jaegers often hunt for fledgling and adult birds and are believedto be an important nest predator (Wiley and Lee 1999). Like the other jaeger species, ParasiticJaegers winter in offshore tropical and sub-tropical oceans. The current global populationestimate is 500,000 - 10,000,000 (BirdLife International 2012). There is no Alaska populationestimate available.
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The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is known for its dramatic lekking displays and breeds near arcticcoastlines from central Alaska into Canada (Lanctot and Laredo 1994). This species nests in avariety of habitats ranging from dry sedge tussock tundra to wet sedge-graminoid meadows andstrangmoor (Lanctot and Laredo 1994). Buff-breasted Sandpipers typically forage in areas ofdry, elevated tundra with sparse vegetation primarily consuming terrestrial arthropods (Lanctotand Laredo 1994). This species is one of the few shorebirds that do not show a seasonal shifttoward lowland, wet sites during brood-rearing (Jones 1980, R. Lanctot, unpublished data). BuffbreastedSandpipers spend winters on the pampas of South America. Current...
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The Short-eared Owl occurs widely throughout North America. An owl of open country, theynest on the ground inhabiting marshes, grasslands, and tundra throughout their range. LikeSnowy Owls, Short-eared owl population dynamics are linked to cycles in their primary prey -small mammals (Holt and Leasure 1993). In the Alaskan Arctic, they typically nest on driertundra sites, usually with enough vegetation to conceal incubating females. They often forage inwet tundra habitats, though not exclusively (Holt and Leasure 1993). Short-eared Owls migrateto wintering grounds in the lower 48 and northern Mexico (Holt and Leasure 1993). The currentglobal population is estimated at 2 million (Rich et al. 2004).
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The Rough-legged Hawk is truly a hawk of the far north, with its breeding range largelyrestricted to arctic tundra and taiga habitats. In open tundra, this species typically places nests onsteep outcroppings and cliff faces. Rough-legged Hawks rely on a diet of small mammals(mostly lemmings, voles) although a variety of birds are also eaten (Bechard and Swem 2002).On the coastal plain of Alaska they typically forage in open tundra and low-brush habitats (e.g.river floodplains) (Bechard and Swem 2002). Rough-legged Hawks spend their winters insouthern Canada and throughout the lower 48 (Bechard and Swem 2002). The current globalpopulation is estimated at > 4 million (Rich et al. 2004).


map background search result map search result map Operational Polar Bear Den Mapping Expanding the North Slope Fish Distribution and Water Quality Geodatabase Yukon Slope Wildlife Management Plan Modeling snowdrift habitat for polar bear dens Changing Seasonality of Invertebrate Food Resources across the Arctic Coastal Plain Changing Climate-Biomes Final Report Aquabase Geodatabase American Golden-plover Short-eared Owl Smith's Longspur Buff-breasted Sandpiper White-crowned Sparrow Red Phalarope Rough-legged Hawk North Slope PRISM Shorebird Location and Plot Survey Geodatabase Pomarine Jaeger Glaucous Gull Long-tailed Duck Parasitic Jaeger Greater White-fronted Goose Operational Polar Bear Den Mapping Changing Seasonality of Invertebrate Food Resources across the Arctic Coastal Plain Modeling snowdrift habitat for polar bear dens Expanding the North Slope Fish Distribution and Water Quality Geodatabase Aquabase Geodatabase American Golden-plover Short-eared Owl Smith's Longspur Buff-breasted Sandpiper White-crowned Sparrow Red Phalarope Rough-legged Hawk North Slope PRISM Shorebird Location and Plot Survey Geodatabase Pomarine Jaeger Glaucous Gull Long-tailed Duck Parasitic Jaeger Greater White-fronted Goose Yukon Slope Wildlife Management Plan Changing Climate-Biomes Final Report