The team continued their work from 2007, investigating the role of carbon in arctic tundra ecosystems. Approximately one quarter of the world's soil organic carbon is stored at high northern latitudes in permafrost and soils. As the arctic environment warms, this carbon may be released to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The goal of this project was to understand how changes in a warming and drying arctic environment may affect the balance and stability of the arctic soil carbon. The team measured soil moisture, permafrost depth, carbon dioxide and methane gas in the soil and atmosphere, and surveyed plant composition, function, and primary productivity. They also used remote sensing as part of a larger project to investigate patterns of change across the tundra at various scales, from small local changes to landscape level changes.
Ms. Eubanks and Dr. Oberbauer lived in the village of Barrow, Alaska and worked at sites outside of the village. Much of the field work took place at the Barrow Environmental Observatory, where many long-term environmental studies have been undertaken.
Elizabeth Eubanks is a New Orleans native who has spent much of her youth crabbing, fishing, exploring the bayous, and camping out west with her family. Being exposed to a broad spectrum of nature sparked her drive to pursue a zoology degree at Auburn University and a Master’s in Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Mrs. Eubanks has taught integrated middle school science for 11 years and presently teaches at St. Mark Catholic School in Boynton Beach, Florida. Mrs. Eubanks teaches in order to share her passion for science with kids. Her lessons are filled with hands on activities in a stimulating environment in which students utilize real science to question, reason, think outside of the box, and to feel empowered by knowledge. Her motto is “We Are All Connected-We Are All Affected”. Mrs. Eubanks’ hobbies include photography, yoga, hiking, birding, camping, music festivals, travel, painting, knitting, and learning.
Steven Oberbauer is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida International University in Miami. Dr. Oberbauer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from San Diego State University, where he was first introduced to arctic research. He completed his Ph.D. at Duke University studying the ecophysiology of tropical trees in Costa Rica. Dr. Oberbauer currently researches climate change effects in both the Arctic and the Tropics, specifically how plants adjust to changes in their environment and resource availability.
Paulo Olivas is a Ph.D student in the Department of Biology at Florida International University, under the supervision of Dr. Oberbauer. Paulo is originally from Costa Rica. He completed his undergraduate degree in Costa Rica in 2000 at the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, where he majored in Forestry. He also holds an M.S. in Biology at Florida International University (2007). Paulo has been involved in several tropical and polar research projects.