CIFAR

Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research

News from CIFAR

Innovative Outreach Film Featuring CIFAR Research Nears Completion

July 10, 2014

Steve Okkonen
Steve Okkonen. Photo by Bill Kopplin.

Several years ago, CIFAR PI Steve Okkonen of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (SFOS) had an inspiration for a unique outreach project.

He wanted to incorporate traditional knowledge, earlier published research, his own ongoing CIFAR-funded research and that of many colleagues from different agencies and institutions (funded by NOAA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management/BOEM) to illustrate aspects of bowhead whales’ life history related to their annual migration through the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. The annual nature of the migration itself suggested a calendar as an organizing and presentation format.

This highly successful 2013 calendar, produced and distributed with CIFAR outreach funds, then became the basis for an animated film project funded through the University of Alaska Coastal Marine Institute with support from BOEM, SFOS and the UAF Center for Global Change. The film, “Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale,” is in the final stages of production by a talented young team at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, who have kept a fascinating blog about the experience.

An engaging scientific storyline relates biological, oceanographic and behavioral aspects of the bowhead whales’ lives that are brought to life through 3-D photorealistic animation. The Museum’s animation team received valuable editorial assistance from and facilitated by the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management. The film will be released with Iñupiat, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, and English narration tracks.

Steve, his research colleagues, the many people who have contributed in large and small ways to the film, along with all of us at CIFAR, are anticipating with great excitement its scheduled premiere this October at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

For more information, contact CIFAR PI Steve Okkonen.

CIFAR to Support Eight Awardees from the 2014 Global Change Student Research Grant Competition

May 13, 2014

Results from the 2014 UAF Global Change Student Research Grant competition have been released, and CIFAR, a long-standing funding partner in the competition, will be supporting eight of the 14 projects that were selected for funding from a total of 26 submitted. These eight projects address a variety of issues related to CIFAR’s research themes, on topics from sea level change to the impact of climate change on marine organisms and shorebirds. CIFAR’s ongoing partnership in this competition reflects a deeply held commitment to support student research on issues relevant to NOAA and the Alaska region. The 2014 CIFAR-funded students and their projects, along with students and projects funded by CIFAR in prior years, can be found here.

CIFAR-supported Student Grant Awardee Profiled

May 13, 2014

Lauren Bell
Lauren Bell. Photo by Julia Dissen.

CIFAR-supported student Lauren Bell is currently featured on the UAF Center for Global Change website. Lauren, who is pursuing a master’s degree in marine biology at UAF, was awarded funding for her project “Lower trophic level food web structure on the Beaufort Sea slope” through the 2013 UAF Global Change Student Research Grant competition. CIFAR is a long-standing funding partner in this annual competition. You are invited to read Lauren's story here.

CIFAR Leadership Transition

December 9, 2013

After nine years at the helm of the Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research, John Walsh retired this fall. Associate Director Susan Sugai has been appointed as the new director. Congratulations to Susan, and best wishes to John in his retirement!

For more information, contact CIFAR Director Susan Sugai.

New paper: Does calving matter? Evidence for significant submarine melt

November 20, 2013

Tim Bartholomaus
Tim Bartholomaus. Photo by Nathan Rice.

For many glaciers that flow into the sea, including some in southern Alaska and most of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the loss of ice to the ocean can dwarf that which is lost to melt beneath the sun’s rays or warm skies. But the exact fate of the ice that reaches the sea is uncertain, and the relative importance of icebergs breaking off the terminus in a process called calving, compared to ice melting in contact with warm ocean water, is unknown at nearly all glaciers. Several recent studies, including some in Alaska, have shown that submarine melt rates can equal, and sometimes exceed, calving rates, but few studies have examined mass loss at glacier termini, and the geographic extent over which rapid submarine melt occurs is not yet clear.

The question of mass loss was addressed by Tim Bartholomaus, a Ph.D. student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and colleagues in a recent paper (October 2013) in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Tim’s work was partially supported by a UAF Global Change Research Grant awarded in 2010 with funding from CIFAR. Read full story.

CIFAR-funded Student Grant Awardee Featured

August 27, 2013

Greg Deemer
Greg Deemer

UAF Atmospheric Sciences graduate student Greg Deemer, whose proposal “Towards improving operational sea-ice forecasts: Serving commercial and societal needs in the North Pacific” was funded by CIFAR through the 2013 Global Change Student Research Grant Competition, is currently the featured student on the Center for Global Change website. See story here.

CIFAR Begins New 5-year Cooperative Agreement

August 16, 2013

As of July 1, 2013, the Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research (CIFAR) is operating under a new 5-year cooperative agreement (NA13OAR4320056), a renewal of the original 5-year agreement (NA08OAR4320751) that established CIFAR in 2008. This renewal is based on the “outstanding” rating CIFAR received during its program review in July 2011. For more information on the new cooperative agreement, contact CIFAR Associate Director Susan Sugai.

CIFAR Research Used by National Weather Service to Better Predict Flooding

August 8, 2013

Galena flooding 2013
Flooding in Galena, Alaska, May 2013. National Weather Service photo.

Severe late-spring flooding this year along the Yukon River dramatically underscored the importance of accurately predicting snowmelt and river ice breakup in Alaska, when residents of Galena were evacuated with only a moment’s notice as their community was inundated with water and ice on Memorial Day weekend.

CIFAR researchers Katrina Bennett and Jessica Cherry have been working with the National Weather Service’s Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC) to improve the accuracy of snowmelt processes in the models used by the APRFC. Read full story.

Six Global Change Student Research Grants Funded by CIFAR through 2013 Competition

April 29, 2013

Once again CIFAR is pleased to announce their support of student research proposals selected for funding through the UAF Center for Global Change’s annual student research competition. Twenty-six proposals from a variety of disciplines were submitted to the 2013 competition; the review panel recommended 13 of them for funding. Six projects focused on CIFAR themes will be supported by CIFAR task I education and outreach funds. In addition CIFAR will fund the second year of a two-year project from the 2012 competition. CIFAR’s long-time role as major funding partner in this competition reflects our ongoing commitment to support student research that addresses issues relevant to NOAA and the Alaska region. A list of the 2013 CIFAR-funded students and their projects can be found here.

2012 RUSALCA Field Season Successfully Completed

scientists working on a ship
Lauren Bell and Bodil Bluhm work with samples on the RUSALCA research cruise. Photo by Katrin Iken, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

October 22, 2012

During the first leg of the summer 2012 RUSALCA research cruise, scientists retrieved three moorings that had been left in the Russian waters of the Bering Strait for two years. The multidisciplinary second leg successfully concluded on September 17, 2012, when Russian and American scientists and their extensive sample collections made their way home after two and half weeks in the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea. In spite of bad weather and sea ice, most research objectives were achieved. Additional information on the 2012 RUSALCA cruise and findings is available on the RUSALCA website and will be included in the next CIFAR annual report.

See earlier news items in the

CIFAR news archives

More about CIFAR

Founded in 2008, the Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research (CIFAR) conducts ecosystem and environmental research related to Alaska and its associated Arctic regions, including the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Chukchi/Beaufort Seas, and Arctic Ocean. Read more about CIFAR.

Education

In the Alaska region, where rapid environmental and socio-economic changes are occurring, CIFAR places priority on education and two-way outreach between scientists, managers, communities, and local stakeholders. Read more about education.

Research Priorities

CIFAR research focuses on a number of high priority issues for the Alaska region, specifically, marine ecosystems, coastal hazards, and climate change and variability. Read more about research.

Proposals

Submitting a proposal to CIFAR? Find out useful information to help in preparing your proposal. Read more about proposals.

Funding Opportunities

There are no funding opportunities available at this time.