Shrubs Snow and Nitrogen in the Arctic
What Are They Doing?
Ecosystems develop and change through interactions between living things and their physical environment. A shift in vegetation is one of the most important changes an ecosystem can experience, because it can alter exchanges of energy (originating from sunlight), water, and elements such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) between air, plants, and soil. In the Arctic, a widespread shift from tundra to deciduous shrub-dominated vegetation appears to be occurring.
This project will assess contributions of different shrub feedbacks to carbon and nitrogen cycling, and improve predictions of the consequences of shrub expansion in the Arctic for regional and global climate.
Where Are They?
The research team was based out of Toolik Field Station, an 8-10 hour drive north from Fairbanks, Alaska. Toolik Field Station is operated by the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has hosted hundreds of researchers and students every year since 1975. The team will drive to an additional field site ninety miles north of Toolik Field Station.
Meet the Team
Svea Anderson is a 6th grade Science and Math teacher at Agua Caliente Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to teaching sixth grade, Svea is also the Tanque Verde Unified School District’s STEM Coordinator, a Mentor Teacher for Pima County’s STEMAZing Project, and a Lead Ambassador for a collaboration between the Arizona Science Teachers Association and the Arizona Department of Education. Svea has a BS from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her Masters in Education from Antioch New England University in Keene, New Hampshire.
Svea enjoys spending time with her family outside in the desert environment, hiking, bike riding, traveling, and playing disc golf.
Donie Bret-Harte is a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Bret-Harte is a plant community and ecosystem ecologist who examines how global climate change affects arctic vegetation composition and nutrient cycling.