What Are They Doing?

Periphyton being collected at Cake Eater Lake. Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Photo by Ruth Rodriguez.
Periphyton being collected at Cake Eater Lake. Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Photo by Ruth Rodriguez.
The research team will maintain 6+ federally funded projects working across the Barrow Peninsula (NSF, NASA, NOAA, DHS). Collectively, these projects are helping to advance our knowledge of terrestrial, aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystem structure and function and how these systems are responding to arctic change. They will use observational, experimental, retrospective (i.e. resampling of historic sites), low- and high- tech approaches for our research. A typical day in the field is highly seasonally and weather dependent. On good weather days, we try and get out on the boat to work our coastal sites, on most days we visit our terrestrial and aquatic sites, and on bad weather days we catch up on equipment maintenance and data, cleaning, etc. in the lab.

Where Are They?

The Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) is run by Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Photo by Ruth Rodriguez.
The Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) is run by Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Photo by Ruth Rodriguez.
The research team will be based out of Utqiagvik, Alaska. From there they will hike, use a truck, ATV and boat to gain access to their field sites.

Expedition Map

Utqiagvik, Alaska
Project Funded Title
Monica Nunez - Educator
Santa Teresa High School

Monica Nuñez is a science teacher at Santa Teresa High School in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. She has 13 years of teaching experience at the secondary & elementary level. Monica taught 4th grade at Santa Teresa Elementary. During this time, Santa Teresa Elementary was awarded a National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 2010, by Former President Barack Obama.

Monica has received both her bachelor’s & master’s degrees, in education, from New Mexico State University. In 2018, she was awarded the TRiO New Mexico Alumni Achiever Award. This award is bestowed on outstanding former TRiO participants (NMSU-Upward Bound) that have made significant civic, community, or professional contributions in their professional and personal lives.

As a former state ambassador for the New Mexico Teacher Leader Network and a former member of the Secretary’s Teacher Advisory, Monica serves as an advocate for teachers, parents, and students in New Mexico.

As a 2017 National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, Monica was able to embark on an expedition to Antarctica this past December. She is now able to bring her experiences back into the classroom and community. As a former National Park Service Teacher-Ranger-Teacher, Monica understands the vital importance of bringing real-world experiences into the classroom. Her goal is to broaden her students’ understanding of the world around them. Monica’s work with National Geographic has led her to be a part of New Mexico’s Geographic Alliance. This alliance is essential to improving geographical education in New Mexico. In addition, Monica is the host and mentor of the newly launched National Geographic Educator Certification pilot in Mexico. Her participation in this program has led her to work with teachers at the international level.

Vanessa Lougheed - Researcher
University of Texas at El Paso

Dr. Vanessa Lougheed is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist interested in nutrient cycling (N, P, C); bioindicator development using plants, invertebrates and algae; and the use of remote sensing in monitoring ecosystem change. She is also interested in the role of hands-on research opportunities as transformative educational experiences. Her research focuses on wetland and coastal environments of the Arctic, as well as ephemeral waters of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Craig Tweedie - Researcher
University of Texas El Paso

Dr. Craig Tweedie is a Professor with the Department of Biology and Directs the Environmental Science and Engineering Program at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Dr. Tweedie earned his PhD in subantarctic climate change biology and switched to Arctic terrestrial ecology when he began his postdoc at Michigan State University in 2000. With many active collaborations both in the US and internationally, Tweedie maintains an active research program that is focused on land cover change and the impact this has on terrestrial and coastal ecosystem structure and function in the north Alaskan and Beringian Arctic and in the Chihuahuan Desert. Dr. Tweedie also has strong interests in education and outreach and the use of cyberinfrastructure to advance environmental science.

Latest Journals

2019 PolarTREC Educator Fellow, this is a new title that I am still getting used to. Many thoughts have gone through my mind as I begin the amazing journey that will take me to the ends of the world. I cannot help the excitement that has reinvigorated my passion for teaching. The Arctic, a place…

UTEP Arctic Change and Education Resources