ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq and Corina Qaaġraq Kramer, 6 June 2023

Join Corina Qaaġraq Kramer and Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq, Iñupiaq sister-collaborators from Kotzebue, Alaska, as they delve into three crucial elements of equitable Arctic research. In their presentation, they will explore practical strategies that can be applied to your work prior to, during, and after conducting research in collaboration with Arctic Indigenous communities. Drawing upon the valuable insights outlined in their recently published handbook, Equitable Arctic Research: A Guide for Innovation, Corina and Cana will demonstrate the ongoing relevance of equity throughout the research process. By embracing these strategies, you will be empowered to foster innovative and sustainable projects, while cultivating meaningful relationships with the Arctic Indigenous communities you collaborate with.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Sarah Laske, 10 November 2022

Climate change, biological invasions, and anthropogenic disturbance pose significant threats to Arctic freshwater biodiversity. Information gaps and insufficient knowledge about current biodiversity limit our ability to determine patterns or trends over space and time. Recently, a group of international scientists collaborated to compile and analyze data from streams and lakes in the circumpolar Arctic – producing the first assessment of the state of Arctic freshwater biodiversity. Fish species presence/absence data were used to evaluate patterns of diversity at local, regional, and circumpolar scales. Within North America, fish diversity patterns were evaluated for congruence with environmental factors. Circumpolar patterns of fish species diversity varied with latitude, hydrologic isolation, and ecoregion characteristics. Only one species, Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus, occurred above 71 degrees N latitude, but local scale Arctic diversity peaked at 70 degrees N, which was evident across the circumpolar north and in North America. High latitude diversity appears to be supported by the presence of anadromy in coastal systems and areas unaffected by the last glaciation (180k BP). Reduced richness above 71 degrees N resulted primarily from physical isolation of freshwater habitats and allowing colonization only by migratory anadromous species. At lower latitudes, coarse ecoregion characteristics, like elevation, contributed to overall diversity patterns, with fewer species in mountainous regions compared to adjacent lowland areas. These large-scale assessments are the first steps in determining circumpolar freshwater diversity patterns; however, this study also highlights the significant gaps in data coverage and our current limited ability to detect change. Inclusion of archived and new data – on fishes and their environment – will allow for studies to test change in observed patterns of biodiversity.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Carolina Behe, 18 August 2022

Increasingly, Inuit are faced with climate change, resource development, research, wildlife management, and a host of other issues and related discussions. Inuit hold solutions for how to address these challenges and proven sustainable holistic approaches to having a balanced relationship within the Arctic. At the international level, these topics as well as threats to biodiversity, shipping, and other adverse impacts to food security are constantly present. Yet Inuit communities and Knowledge have not been considered equitably. For years, Inuit have raised concerns about the top-down approaches often used by international organizations, researchers, and decision- and policymakers. More recently and because of Indigenous Peoples advocacy, the recognition of Indigenous Knowledge and the need for partnerships, is gaining consideration.

To achieve approaches that are equitable, approaches that respect and recognize Indigenous Knowledge, a paradigm shifts in how work is being done, how decisions are being made, and how policy is developed must take place. We need true equitable and ethical approaches. The 2018 Utqiagvik Declaration mandated ICC to facilitate the development of Equitable and Ethical protocols to aid in this paradigm shift. In June of this year, ICC released the “Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement” – or EEE Protocols. The EEE Protocols are the result of many years of work and specifically over the past three years, Inuit from across Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka have worked together to create this document.

This webinar will share the process of developing the EEE Protocols, the Protocols, and welcome a discussion about how you, the attendees, can implement the EEE Protocols.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Tobias Schwoerer, 11 May 2022

The Arctic is undergoing large-scale accelerating changes including the introduction and expansion of invasive species. We are in a unique position to prevent new introductions and spread of existing invaders by adopting policies and actions aimed at prevention, early detection, and rapid response to minimize impacts on ecosystems, communities, food security, and northern economies. But resource managers often face decisions without having adequate data and resources at hand. Community science presents one way to fill knowledge gaps and inform decisions. This presentation will showcase examples related to freshwater aquatic invasive species management in Alaska aimed at understanding the long-distance pathways, human-induced spread, and informing agency prioritization with applied economics. Implications for Arctic conservation policy and future research needs will be discussed.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Denver Holt, 14 April 2022

For 30 years (1992-2021) Denver and colleagues have been studying the breeding ecology of Snowy Owls at Utqiaġvik, Alaska. It is the longest continuous breeding study in the world, and conducted by the same researcher. They have studied 284 nests and banded ~800 owls, mostly nestlings.

Researchers have recorded >43,600 prey from pellets, and >3,300 prey cached at nests, of which >2,500 have been lemmings. For lemming carcass cached at nests, they recorded sex, body mass, relative age, and reproductive status.

Researchers have also monitored lemming population fluctuations through snap-trap methods. Over 30 years, more than 3,600 lemmings have been snap-trapped. They have recorded; sex, body mass, relative age, reproductive status, embryo counts, parasites, infectious diseases, and so forth. Although population fluctuations do exist, predictable cycles in the strictest definition of the word do not.

Additionally, researchers attached the first satellite transmitters to Snowy Owl in the world, recorded nest site characteristics, established genetic markers for estimating population, conducted hormone research in relation to pre-fledging nest departure of young, conducted growth rates and plumage development studies, and behavioral studies. Additionally, they have conducted an entire review their world ecology and population estimates.

Snowy Owl nesting numbers at Utqiaġvik have been declining since about 2009. Reasons are not known but climate change is suspected.

However, alternative questions for this decline do exist. For example, did the ~10 years of killing Arctic foxes to protect the threatened Steller’s Eider disrupt the entire ecosystem around Utqiaġvik? Do Brown and Collared lemmings and Arctic Fox have a relationship that benefits all three species? Did the removal of Arctic fox increase White-fronted, Brandt, and Snow goose numbers? And, in turn does the grazing impact on tundra plants, compete with lemmings, and reduce forage quality, quantity and ground cover, important for lemming survival?

These questions will be addressed in future analysis.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Robert Holzworth, 10 March 2022

The World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) data on global lightning are used to investigate the increase of total lightning strokes at Arctic latitudes. We use the summertime data from June, July, and August (JJA) which average >200,000 strokes each year above 65oN for the years 2010 – 2020. We minimize the possible influence of WWLLN network detection efficiency increases by normalizing our results to the total global strokes during northern summer each year.

The ratio of strokes occurring above a given latitude, compared to total global strokes, increases with time, indicating that the Arctic is becoming more influenced by lightning. We compare the increasing fraction of strokes with the NOAA global temperature anomaly, and find that the fraction of strokes above 65oN to total global strokes increases linearly with the temperature anomaly, and grew by a factor of three as the anomaly increased from 0.65 to 0.95 degrees C.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Vladimir Romanovsky, 28 October 2021

The configuration of any monitoring system depends on the major goals and purpose of monitoring and the reason for what the data of this monitoring will be used. The Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) monitoring system was initiated by the United State Geological Survey (USGS) in the 1940s and 1950s as a set of ground temperature observations in a number of deep (200 to 1000 m) boreholes. The main reason for these measurements originally was the investigation of the geothermal conditions in Alaska. However, in the 1970s and in the beginning of the 1980s, the interpretation of the obtained data showed that a significant warming in the upper part (20 to 50 m) of many boreholes has occurred during the mid-20th century (Art Lachenbruch and Max Brewer with colleagues).

About this time, another TSP monitoring system was established in Alaska by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) under supervision of Prof. Emeritus T.E. Osterkamp. Since then, these two monitoring systems are the most active and most productive in terms of TSP data collecting and interpretation.

The goal of this monitoring was to use the records of permafrost temperature in relatively deep boreholes as an indicator of Climate Change. Later, with further development of the monitoring systems and with the addition of the number of monitored parameters (meteorological data, snow depth, shallow ground temperature and moisture content measurements, occasional description of vegetation, etc.), the main goal of monitoring started to shift to the use of permafrost and active layer characteristics as an indicator of changes in the entire Arctic System.

In more recent times, the goals of the STP monitoring system in Alaska are evolving into not only to monitor but also to predict the changes in permafrost characteristics and the ground temperature regime in the near and more distant future and how these changes will impact climate, arctic hydrology, ecosystems, and infrastructure.

Historically, moving from one task to the next required further and often substantial changes in the observing system: 1) more and more additional measured parameters have been added; 2) higher and higher temporal (continuous vs. one-time measurements) and spatial (number of observing stations and their geographical distribution) resolution of observations and modeling were required.

As a result, the TSP monitoring system in Alaska is getting more and more complex, more distributed and, as a result, more difficult to access, more and more expensive, and more and more efforts and resources are required to support this system.

During the presentation, some examples of the results of this monitoring system obtained at each stage of its development will be presented. Dr. Romanovsky will be talking only about the ground-based observation system. The use of remote sensing observations will be mentioned only briefly.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Dr. Kirsi Latola, 19 October 2021

The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a network of 230 universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North. UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and infrastructures that enable member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions. The tools for joint research and research-based education are Thematic Networks. Thematic networks are theme-based international and diverse groups of individuals and organizations who create opportunities for students, conduct joint research, and share knowledge on topical Arctic issues.

In this presentation Dr. Latola will talk about UArctic’s Thematic Networks, how they are endorsed, how they function, and the different pathways that individual researchers and institutions can take to participate in them. She will show examples of Thematic Network joint activities, and will also briefly share news on the next UArctic Congress 2022, which will be held in Moscow in October 2022.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Jens Terhaar, 16 August 2021

The Arctic Ocean is changing faster than any other ocean region in the world. Uptake of anthropogenic carbon, amplified warming, sea ice reduction, coastal erosion, and enhanced riverine runoff are driving important changes in the Arctic Ocean ecosystems through changes in primary production and ocean acidification. However, the current understanding of primary production and ocean acidification in the Arctic remains highly uncertain. Furthermore, projections of both processes by Earth-System Models diverge strongly in this region.

During this webinar, Dr. Terhaar will present: (1) a modelling study that quantifies the impact of terrigenous nutrients from rivers and coastal erosions on Arctic Ocean primary production, a process that was (wrongly?) neglected so far, and (2) results from two studies on emergent constraint on ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean that suggests that projections of Earth-System Models collectively underestimated the extent of future ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Don Anderson, 22 June 2021

The Arctic Ocean is experiencing rapid and dramatic changes in response to climate-driven warming. Many organisms may spread northward as a result of rising temperatures and loss of sea ice, but few present such significant threats to human and ecosystem health as harmful algal bloom (HAB) species. Alexandrium catenella, a producer of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), has a long history of causing toxicity in the Gulf of Alaska, yet there is little recognition of this organism as a human health concern north of Bering Strait. Here we describe an exceptionally large A. catenella benthic cyst bed and hydrographic conditions across the Chukchi Sea that support germination and development of recurrent, self-initiating, and self-seeding blooms. Two prominent cyst accumulation zones result from deposition promoted by weak circulation. Cyst concentrations are among the highest reported globally for this species and the cyst bed is 6X larger in area than any other recorded. These extraordinary accumulations are attributed to repeated inputs from advected southern blooms and to localized cyst formation and deposition. Over the last two decades, warming has likely increased the magnitude of the germination flux two-fold and advanced the inoculation of the euphotic zone, where conditions are now favorable for bloom development, by 20 days. The region is poised to support recurrent blooms that are unprecedented in scale, increasing exposure and health risks to Alaskan Arctic communities where economies are subsistence based. These observations also highlight how warming can facilitate HAB range expansions into waters where temperatures were formerly too cold.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, 27 May 2021

This presentation will provide an introduction to the history of human settlement in northern Alaska as represented in archaeological resources and Inuit oral histories. Following the historical introduction, Sikuaq will focus on one piece of ingenious technology developed exclusively in the Arctic thousands of years ago, the toggling harpoon head. To this day, the toggling harpoon head is an extremely important piece of technology used by all Inuit hunters to retrieve large marine mammals (e.g. walrus, seals, whales, etc.) that would otherwise sink to the bottom of the ocean. Utilizing miniature fully-functional replica ivory harpoons and bananas (to replicate the marine mammal skin and blubber), Sikuaq will demonstrate how the harpoon works and why it is so unique and effective. This activity has been developed at UIC Science and has been shared with dozens of classrooms across Alaska.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Emily Choy, 23 April 2021

Arctic ecosystems are undergoing rapid change, and long-lived top predators are considered sentinels of the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Beaufort Sea beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) in northern Hudson Bay have experienced long-term shifts in prey species and declines in inferred growth rates, believed to be the result of environmental changes. In partnership with Inuvialuit communities, we examined inter-annual variation and environmental factors affecting prey, body condition, and physiology of Beaufort Sea beluga whales. The estimated proportional contributions of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) to beluga diet decreased from 2011 to 2014, coinciding with an increase in capelin (Mallotus villosus). Belugas consumed the highest proportions of capelin and the lowest proportions of cod in 2014. Body condition of whales was positively correlated with myoglobin, hemoglobin concentrations, and % hematocrit, resulting in lower total body oxygen stores in whales with lower body condition. The relationship between body condition and oxygen storage capacity may represent a positive feedback mechanism, in which environmental changes resulting in decreased body condition impair foraging ability. To examine the impacts of climate-induced prey shifts on the energetics of seabirds, heart rate was examined as a proxy for O2 consumption in murres and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and were calibrated with GPS-accelerometers to classify behaviours and activity rate. Finally, we examined the effects of Arctic warming on murre physiology. In response to increasing temperatures, murres exhibited limited heat tolerance and low ability to dissipate heat, with one of the lowest evaporative cooling efficiencies recorded in birds. These results highlight the various impacts of climate change on marine predators and their broader implications on Arctic ecosystems.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Gil Bohrer, 12 March 2021

Data from animal-borne sensors offer a growing source of global remote sensing monitoring data. Combining these data allows ecologists answer questions about biodiversity and long-term, large-scale patterns in animal behavior in relation to changing environments. The Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA) is a collaborative and growing collection of over 200 terrestrial, avian and marine animal tracking studies from the Arctic and Subarctic, documenting over 15 million location observations and other sensor measurements of over 8,000 animals of 96 species. The AAMA is hosted on Movebank, a global research platform for bio-logging data. Movebak includes the EnvDATA toolpack - a library of research tools that link movement data with many NASA remote sensing products, and weather reanalysis models’ weather data products. Through the AAMA, data collected by hundreds of institutions is stored in a standard format and can be accessed publicly or upon request. Support for controlled-access data is critical to integrating wildlife monitoring data that cannot be shared publicly due to legal restrictions or conservation status, and to allow sharing of near-real-time data as they are being transmitted.

In four case studies demonstrating the utility of this new archive, we gained preliminary insight into the climate change response of arctic animals by annotating long-term and large-scale movement data and demographic events locations and times with environmental data from remote sensing. In golden eagles, we identified the environmental drivers of long-term trends in the onset date of arrival to summering grounds. We found that parturition date (date of giving birth) in caribou is showing the most rapid change in northern populations. We found a strong movement responses to within-season maximum temperatures with opposite directions in wolves and caribou vs. moose. Finally, as a test of the tag technology, we validated tag-borne temperature observations, against ECMWF modelled temperature estimates.

As climate change and human disturbance increasingly alter the Arctic, the AAMA offers a 30-year data record that can serve as a baseline for documenting whether and how animals respond, and to recognize early signals of local or large-scale Arctic ecosystem changes.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - Kent Moore, 16 February 2021

The ice arches that usually develop at the northern and southern ends of Nares Strait play an important role in modulating the export of multi-year sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean. As a result of global warming, the Arctic Ocean is evolving towards an ice pack that is younger, thinner and more mobile and the fate of its multi-year ice is becoming of increasing interest to both the scientific and policy communities. Here, we use sea ice motion retrievals derived from Sentinel-1 imagery to report on recent behavior of these ice arches and the associated ice flux. In addition to the previously identified early collapse of the northern ice arch in May 2017, we report that this arch failed to develop during the winters of 2018 and 2019. In contrast, we report that the southern ice arch was only present for a short period of time during the winter of 2018 as well as for a more extended period during the winter of 2020. We also show that the duration of arch formation has decreased over the past 20 years as ice in the region has thinned, while the ice area and volume fluxes have both increased. These results suggest that a transition is underway towards a state where the formation of these arches will become atypical with a concomitant increase in the export of multi-year ice accelerating the transition towards a younger and thinner Arctic ice pack.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - 21 September 2020

This seminar will be presented by Matthew Burtner (University of Virginia), Leena Cho (University of Virginia), and Gabrielle Russomagno (School of Visual Arts). During this webinar presenters will discuss how their work spans science and the arts through media such as music, landscape architecture, and the visual arts.

Speaker Abstracts:

Matthew will share how he uses sound as a medium between music and science in Arctic coastal ecosystems. Ecoacoustic music utilizes sonification, field recording and environmental materials to imbed natural systems into music. He will discuss the methodology and show examples of these techniques in his work.

By merging the study of environmental humanities, and science and technology studies with landscape architecture, Leena will highlight the Arctic ground’s vibrant materialities as a conceptual and physical basis for design, while delineating potential areas of landscape design research and collaboration to further examine design potentials unique to the Arctic’s built environment. Permafrost ground is one of the defining landscape elements in the Arctic, and is a foundation for dynamic socioecological and cultural expressions in Arctic cities.

Gabrielle will discuss A Quick and Tragic Thaw, a series of artworks that explores the impact of a warming world using the arctic region as the symbolic apex. Through the study of scholarly research and data, use of mapping technology and satellite imagery, as well as essays, poems, photographs and illustrations, these artworks interpret the more recent story of human influenced climate change. More broadly, this urgent narration recognizes migration movements of biological forms, toxins, and water and is meant to be a meditation on loss and the fragility of the planet.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - 29 May 2020

Arctic lands and seas have experienced dramatic environmental and climatic changes in recent decades, and the pace of change is expected to accelerate in the future. Beginning in the early 1980s, a constellation of Earth-observing satellites has provided a unique vantage point for observing the remote and dynamic Arctic tundra biome—the treeless environment encircling most of the Arctic Ocean. The satellite record shows that the productivity of tundra vegetation has increased since the late 20th century, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “the greening of the Arctic.” Trends in tundra productivity, however, have not been uniform in direction or magnitude across the circumpolar region and there has been substantial variability from year to year. This variability arises from a web of complex interactions that link the vegetation, atmosphere, sea-ice, seasonal snow cover, ground (soils, permafrost, and topography), and animals of the Arctic system. In this talk I will begin with an overview of the tundra biome and address the questions: what are the drivers of Arctic vegetation change? What types of change would be apparent to an observer on the ground? And, what are the consequences of these changes for Arctic residents and the rest of the globe? Frost will explore these questions through the lens of the satellite record, field studies, and the rich knowledge-base of Arctic residents to understand the drivers and impacts of ecological change in the Arctic tundra biome.

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Arctic Research Seminar Series with Jim Thomson (University of Washington)

The rapid decline of summer sea ice cover in the Western Arctic has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the sea state of the region. Ocean waves are now more common throughout the region, including multiple energetic swell events each summer. These waves interact with the sea ice and help to both form and define the expanding Marginal Ice Zone of the Western Arctic. This seminar will review recent work to observe and forecast changes in the Arctic sea state, including implications for sea ice retreat and coastal morphology.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - 7 January 2020

Professionals who collect and use Traditional Knowledge to support resource management decisions often are preoccupied with concerns over how and if Traditional Knowledge should be integrated with science. To move beyond the integration dilemma, we view Traditional Knowledge and science as distinct and complementary knowledge systems. Dr. Brooks will share examples of how the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has applied Traditional Knowledge in decision-making in the North Slope Borough, Alaska, including applying information from both knowledge systems to monitor subsistence whaling practices and using Traditional Knowledge in environmental impact assessment. Applying Traditional Knowledge produces decisions that are more inclusive, creates mutual understanding, and enhances respect for Traditional Knowledge and science.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - 1 November 2019

Arctic and sub-Arctic field measurements are showing warming and thawing permafrost, increasing winter runoff, and groundwater levels. Local scale remote sensing analyses reveal degrading ice wedges, thermokarsts, and retrogressive thaw slumps, and watershed-scale numerical modeling results suggest micro-topographical geomorphological controls on fluxes and stores of water as ice-rich ground thaws and subsides. We are living in a time of rapid change to the permafrost-affected landscape across the Arctic region with dramatic changes occurring over just a few years. Yet, our understanding of the spatial continuity of change is limited due to the logistical constraints in doing fieldwork in a remote region, under-harnessed high performance and image processing resources, and the coarse resolution of pan-Arctic models. Collaboration across disciplines and organizations allow for a holistic approach in quantifying change, understanding underlying mechanisms, and in encouraging knowledge-generation beyond the scientific community. If successful, one’s weakness becomes the other’s strength and the sum larger than its parts.

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Arctic Research Seminar Series - 3 May 2019

Since 2006, a number of surveys have explored U.S. public knowledge and perceptions about polar regions. At first glance, these seemed to show fairly high levels of public awareness and concern about polar climate change and related issues. Closer examination with increasingly sophisticated surveys uncovered a more complex picture, however. Some basic polar and Arctic knowledge questions, which link to people’s more general beliefs, are answered with reasonably good accuracy. But other basic questions that have answers not guessable from general beliefs tend to show lower accuracy or knowledge. Contrasting results on the “two kinds” of Arctic knowledge questions exhibit strong demographic patterns. Moreover, we see public awareness on some issues gradually rising over the years of these surveys, while on others it remains stubbornly flat. Although polar-knowledge survey questions might seem a narrow topic, these results highlight deeper characteristics of U.S. society today.

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ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series - 10 April 2019

This seminar will feature four speakers. Each presenter will discuss how they have engaged Arctic residents or visitors in the process of data collection to enhance our understanding of northern environments and how they are changing today. There will be a discussion period following the presentations, centered on how insights gained from current projects can help envision the role of civic participation in the future of Arctic research and observing.

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Arctic Research Seminar Series - 25 March 2019

The rapid and pervasive loss of Arctic sea ice has several potential impacts to ice-associated marine mammals. Declines in sea ice cover are also occurring in concert with expanding anthropogenic activities that may have compounding effects on Arctic marine ecosystems. This talk will examine intersecting issues of recent sea ice loss, Arctic marine mammal responses, and new anthropogenic risks associated with an increasingly navigable Arctic. Dr. Hauser will provide several case studies to illustrate how changes in the timing and extent of sea ice cover affect distribution, migration timing, and foraging behavior of two Pacific Arctic populations of beluga whales. Results suggest diverse and flexible responses by belugas in the face of rapidly changing sea ice conditions, which are in line with other emerging trends from the Pacific Arctic region. Second, she will discuss a recent vulnerability assessment of 80 populations of seven Arctic marine mammal species to vessels in the increasingly ice-free Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route, which quantified the heterogeneity of risk across species, populations, and regions. Finally, these results will be discussed in the context of ongoing conversations about the future resilience of Arctic marine mammals in changing sea ice ecosystems.

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Arctic Research Seminar Series with Karin Buhmann: 30 October 2018

A growing global market for generic minerals that are used in technical products for the ‘green’ energy transition and the electronic industry holds interesting potential for the Arctic. Developing prospects for the Arctic in general, this presentation takes Greenland as an example of an Arctic country which may offer alternative sources for minerals otherwise known as ‘conflict-minerals’. China’s electronic, solar power, and wind energy industries need certain generic minerals for production for the global market. Certain conflict-ridden countries are main sources of some of these minerals, which are known as ‘conflict minerals’ when their trade helps fuel armed conflicts. Commitment to fight conflict minerals have led the U.S. and the European Union to introduce requirements on importers and manufacturers to document efforts to avoid conflict-related supply chains. China has responded by developing guidelines for minerals supply chains and mining investment. The Chinese guidelines’ reference to the concept of risk-based due diligence is of particular relevance in this context. This concept was introduced by guidelines from the United Nations and elaborated in guidelines from the Organisation for Economic Collaboration and Development (OECD) as a company approach for identifying and managing its adverse impacts. The presentation will explain how it may complement Arctic host country policies and regulation on the prevention of adverse human rights impacts, and on stakeholder engagement in impact assessment for that purpose.

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Arctic Research Seminar Series with Jacqueline Grebmeier - 21 September 2018

In recent years the northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea have undergone a reduction of sea ice and warming seawater temperatures. Time-series environmental and biological studies indicate faster seasonal sea ice retreat over the last 5 years in comparison to the previous 25 years, with 2018 having the highest bottom water temperatures in the record, and also setting a new threshold for sea ice minima. At the same time, dominant bottom dwelling animals (clams, amphipods and polychaetes) that are food for diving sea ducks, gray whales, and walruses are declining in biomass and where there is still high biomass, these prey patches are contracting northward. These time series studies are being accomplished as part of the Distributed Biological Observatory, which is an internationally coordinated effort that is generating seasonal and interannual data to better understand this changing ecosystem.

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Arctic Indigenous Scholars Seminar with Theresa Arevgaq John of Nelson Island, Alaska

Resilience encompasses community wellness, holistic education, effective leadership and sustenance of our way of life. Cultural resilience has always been a focus of our prominent elders, ancestors and our overall leadership. Resilience in modern life can be supported by decolonizing and indigenizing the state and federal educational systems that protect our heritage language, Indigenous knowledge system, cultural epistemic principles and values, prosperity of the people, and the wellbeing of the future leaders. The State of Alaska has adopted the state’s culturally relevant standards for Indigenous communities.

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