The Thule Biocomplexity project, funded by the National Science Foundation, brings together researchers from three universities: University of Alaska-Anchorage (Jeff Welker), University of Washington (Ron Sletten & Bernard Hallet), and University of California (Joshua Schimel). The photo above was taken in July 2004 and includes our field party for this season plus two guests on our visit to the "Green Valley" at the southern end of the Thule peninsula. From left to right: Bernard Hallet, Patrick Sullivan, Heidi Seltzer, Rod Chimner, Ron Sletten, Andrew Vigna, Birgit Hagedorn, Heather Heuser, Joe DecCant, Megan Smith, Jennifer Horwath, Liz Addis (University of Washington Biology graduate student), Jeff Welker, Molly Welker, David Banks, Sudha Brown (Corp. of Army Engineers)
Ron's expertise is in polar soils. He is leading the Thule studies on soil geochemistry and automated monitoring of microclimate and soil physical parameters.
Dr. Welker's research program today focuses on the physiological ecology of tundra and temperature plants, on the processes governing carbon, water and nitrogen cycling in ecosystems and on isotope biogeochemistry. Welker's most recent studies include: climate warming effects on in situ root growth responses of a tundra graminoid, the depiction of the snow depth effects on the annual N cycle in Alaskan arctic tundra, CO2 exchange responses of High Arctic ecosystems to long-term climate warming, isotopic (d18O and d13C) records of changes in the AO/NAO in long lived Arctic plants, a reanalysis of d18O-temperautre correlations in precipitation, a synthesis of climate change effects in the arctic and a synthesis of the processes governing shrub expansion in the Arctic.
Bernard's speciality is geomorphology and patterned ground.
Birgit leads hydrological studies and uses stable and radiogenic isotopes to trace water sources and element sources and to estimated weathering rates.
Josh Schimel (not pictured)
Jennifer is a fourth year Ph.D student in the department of Earth and Space Sciences. She received her master's degree from the University of Illinois in 2002. Her current research interests in Thule involve the quantification and distribution of soil organic carbon through field studies and correlations to remote sensing data. Visit the soil science page for more details of her research.
Paddy is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University. He received his B.A. in Biology from Colby College in 2000. Paddy investigates constraints on leaf physiology and growth of high arctic plants, effects of supplemental long-wave radiation and precipitation on vegetation and soil microclimates, and patterns and processes of root production and carbon cycling in a high arctic fen. Visit the Ecology page to view results of his research.
Heather is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. She received her Master's degree in Forest Ecosystem Analysis from the University of Washington College of Forest Resources in 2004, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 1999. Her research interests include Quaternary paleoclimatology and paleoecology; anthropogenic versus natural climate variability, stable isotope geochemistry, and natural processes within arctic lakes and ecosystems. Visit the lake research page for more information about her summer fieldwork and future research plans.
Andrew graduated from the University of Washington department of Earth and Space Sciences in 2004.