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Svalbard, Norway - Research Project
Holocene Climate Change

Svalbard, Norway Sandra and the Svalbard team will be investigating modern processes associated with a glacier-river-lake system in order to understand Holocene climate change. This project is part of the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and will provide undergraduate students genuine field and research experience in the remote Arctic. The over-arching questions that this extended project will address are:

(1) What are the links in environmental processes between climate, glacial, fluvial lacustrine (lake) and fjord systems?
(2) How are measured environmental changes expressed in the sediment records of the fjord and lacustrine systems?
(3) Can relationships be derived from the current sedimentation and meteorological observations that will allow for the historic sedimentation record to be better interpreted?

Click here for more about the research project.
Svalbard, Norway Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean located between Norway and the North Pole, is an excellent location for this project since it is accessible and has a wide variety of terrains to examine. This region has been marked by the retreat of glaciers, reductions in sea ice, and measurable warming throughout the Holocene period and thus can provide direct evidence of historical and geological climate change.

Meet the Teacher:

Sandra Geisbush Sandra Geisbush has recently completed a fellowship with the National Science Foundation, where she had the opportunity to contribute to science education program development and policy-making in the national arena. Sandra has taught grades 3-12, generally in math, science, and technology, and has received several awards for her teaching. Sandra enjoys being part of innovative and exciting projects that serve to move the teaching of science and technology forward, making it "real" for students and teachers alike.

Meet the Researchers:

Steve Roof Steve Roof is Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Steve's research and courses focus on reconstructing Earth's climate change of the past 500,000 years. He currently has two active research projects focused on reconstructing past climate changes in order to better understand future climate change; both projects involve undergraduate students in all phases of the research. Steve has a great interest in improving K-12 science education and hopes that the Svalbard project will provide Sandra with a memorable experience so that she can communicate the excitement and importance of Arctic climate change research to students.
Al Werner Al Werner is Associate Professor of Geology at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Al believes that research is an important part of the educational experience and views research as "a 'whodunnit' investigation - you typically have some information, you collect bits and pieces of additional information, and you use your insights and wits to figure things out." His primary research involves taking sediment cores from lakes in Arctic areas and analyzing them to interpret records of environmental change. As the Svalbard-REU project director, Al will be taking to the field his teaching philosophy that "people learn best by doing."

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