Discovering the role of cryobiota in glacial melt on an Alaskan icefield--Developing a course in experimental data collection and analysis

This project establishes a new field course at Alaska Pacific University (APU) on glacial ecology for 2014 with a curriculum based on student-driven, manipulative experiments. The primary goal of the course is to experimentally test hypotheses concerning several fundamental aspects of glacial ecology in south central Alaska, including (1) the role of snow algae (primarily Chlorophyta), and other glacial biota in glacier melt, (2) the identity and abundance of glacial biota (primarily eubacteria) that recruit locally and those that recruit allochthonously, and (3) the role of overwintering temperatures on ice worm (Annelida: Mesenchytraeus solifugus) survival. The data will be collected and analyzed by a September Block university course at Alaska Pacific University. This proposal seeks funding to set up the experiments during 2013 and 2014 in advance of the September 2014 course. Because the hypotheses address between-season processes, the experiments must be begun a year prior to the class.


Name: Roman Dial, Assistant Professor of Biology and Mathematics

Institution: Alaska Pacific University

Award: Higher Education, Project

Funding Period: 2013