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Tundra Ecology: Responses to Human-Induced Environmental Changes

June 11 - July 2, 2005 | Toolik Field Station, Alaska


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Tom Crumrine Teacher
Tom Crumrine
Concord High School
Concord, NH
Syndonia Bret-Harte Researcher
Syndonia Bret-Harte
Institute of Arctic Biology
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Listen to researcher Donie Bret-Harte describe her research project and teacher Tom Crumrine talk about his expectations of the field experience in this audio file from a recent TREC webinar. To listen, click the link below:

mp3 Audio - Webinar (2.5 MB - MP3)

Teacher Tom Crumrine joined Syndonia Bret-Harte in the Alaskan tundra to investigate how species abundance, species diversity, and carbon storage in this ecosystem may change under human-induced environmental changes. Tom and the research team proceeded to Toolik Lake Field Station for the 3rd research expedition in the 7th year of this project. The primary aim of this research is to understand the extent to which plant species can substitute for each other in ecosystem functioning and response to perturbation. The field experiment in Alaskan tussock tundra investigated this question by removing different combinations of plant species in the presence and absence of fertilization.

The Toolik Field Station (TFS) is located over 250 km above the Arctic Circle, and is administered by the Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The mission of TFS is to "support research and education that creates a greater understanding of the Arctic and its relationship to the global environment." Go to the Toolik Field Station homepage for more information, including maps and photos.

TREC teacher Tom Crumrine teaches biology, general chemistry, and organic and environmental chemistry at Concord High School in Concord, N.H. Tom's professional interests lie in winter ecology, climate change, and science education, and he has recently developed a lesson plan for his chemistry classes involving the research of biodiesel and renewable energy sources. Tom looks forward to working with the scientists in the field, in hopes of having an opportunity to make science 'real' for his students, and to create new project units that will change in concert with the world.

Researcher Donie Bret-Harte is a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is confident that the research experience offered at Toolik Field Station will further science education by forging links between teachers and active researchers. Donie believes it is a particularly exciting time for a TREC teacher to be involved with the project, because the experiment has been running long enough to see obvious changes in the vegetation induced by the treatments.

Dr. Bret-Harte's main collaborator on the project is Michelle Mack, from the University of Florida, who hosted a TREC teacher during the 2004 field season.

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