ABOUT Liz O'Connell

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Liz is a media artist and wannabe scientist who loves the Alaskan frontier.


Liz O'Connell: All Posts


Sea ice is a polar bear conveyor belt

Posted 29 July 2015 by Liz O'Connell

“It’s very difficult to observe polar bears directly in their environment.” “They travel widely,” George Durner, research zoologist with the United States Geological Survey Alaska Science Center, explained the bears travel “Hundreds of thousands of square kilometers in the course of the year across the sea ice environment.” To enter the polar bear world Durner and other scientists use small aircraft, particularly helicopters, to fly over the sea ice off Alaska’s coast. Bears are located, tranquilized, and given temporary collars... Read more

New videos about Polar Bears

Posted 21 July 2015 by Liz O'Connell

July 21, 2015— Listen: intense noises sound when Alaska's polar bears gather to feed at a whale bone pile. At Frontier Scientists new discoveries in the Far North unfold on your screen. In new videos Hair Reveals Diet and In the Eyes of the Polar Bear, Frontier Scientists features current polar bear research. Scientists Todd Atwood, George Durner, Matt Rogers, and Jeff Welker share their work investigating how sea ice habitat changes and hunting strategies impact polar bear reproduction, health... Read more

What’s on the menu, grizzly bear?

Posted 7 July 2015 by Liz O'Connell

Wildlife biologists and Park rangers in Denali National Park & Preserve help the Park’s grizzly bear population thrive in their natural environment while promoting safe interactions between Grizzlies and visitors. Catch clips online at http://frontierscientists.com/projects/denali-bears-grizzlies/. Denali National Park & Preserve wildlife biologist Patricia Owen tells the story of finding the biggest bear she's ever caught in this FrontierScientists video clip: Pat's Big Bear. While bears south of the Alaska Range have access to more fish and often reach a weight... Read more

Discerning ocean currents at current

Posted 30 June 2015 by Liz O'Connell

Instruments made to measure currents tug against their moorings on the sea floor. Others bob and whirl, catching currents, winds and tides with their rectangular wings spread just under wavetops in the Bering Strait west of Alaska. Ocean water is on the move. "There's a strong connection between the world's ocean currents and what comes through Bering Strait; that's one of the controls on climate that Bering Strait offers for the global weather," said Seth Danielson. Danielson is a research... Read more

Sockeye Fire Summer Solstice

Posted 23 June 2015 by Liz O'Connell

June 21 2015 was this year's Summer Solstice. But for much of Alaska the long hours of sunlight were obscured by smoke. The Sockeye Fire near Willow Alaska started Sunday and raged, burning over 7,000 acres, forcing evacuations, ravaging homes and other structures and interrupting traffic on the Parks Highway. An admirable firefighting effort involving coordination between multiple agencies managed to contain the blaze. Yet the work is far from over. Hundreds of other wildfires are raging in the state... Read more

Ice and fire and permafrost

Posted 28 May 2015 by Liz O'Connell

May 20 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists' CHANGING PERMAFROST. Under the tundra thawing Permafrost forms thermokarst features, causing sinkholes and landslides. Shifting climate conditions release greenhouse gases locked beneath the tundra in previously frozen ground. The episode features University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute scientists. Catch clips online at http://frontierscientists.com/projects/permafrost/. Carbon-rich Vladimir Romanovsky is a geophysicist and a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University... Read more

Volcanoes in visual art

Posted 20 May 2015 by Liz O'Connell

May 20 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists' COOK INLET VOLCANOES. Volcanologists and geologists explore volcanic activity along Cook Inlet from ancient history to modern-day, monitor volcanic activity to provide important warnings, and even take a look at volcanoes from space. The episode features USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists. Catch clips online at http://frontierscientists.com/projects/cook-inlet-volcanoes/. Vulcan paint The natural destructive force of volcanoes and volcanic eruptions aren't easy to predict, monitor,... Read more

Frontier Scientists TV series premiers on KAKM May 6th!

Posted 5 May 2015 by Liz O'Connell

FRONTIER SCIENTISTS TV SERIES Welcome to Frontier Scientists, where new scientific discoveries in the Far North unfold before your eyes. A fascinating series of video programs brings Arctic science to life, following real scientists and their work. This is field science in one of the last great frontiers. TO BE AIRED on KAKM’s Science Wednesdays in Alaska at 9pm, after Nature & NOVA. After watching a Frontier Scientists program on KAKM, navigate to www.FrontierScientists.com to explore research topics in more... Read more

Ancient footprints on Beringia

Posted 7 April 2015 by Liz O'Connell

You can see the depressions in the earth when the archaeologists point them out. Each house had a central room connected by tunnels to side rooms. Female relationships guided living arrangements: in a grandmother's house, each of her daughters' families would occupy one of the small side rooms. When they gathered there in rooms partially dug into the earth with walls built up with driftwood or whale bone and covered by sod, they achieved safety and warmth even during harsh... Read more

Testing Alaska’s Sagavanirktok and Kuparuk rivers

Posted 31 March 2015 by Liz O'Connell

"We are interested in studying what happens to this material as it makes its way to the ocean... The transformations that it undergoes." Jason Dobkowski, lab manager in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, explained his work as he crouched on treacherous muddy ground to collect water at a sampling site on Wolverine Lake. Water colored like chocolate milk plumed into the lake from the collapsing permafrost on the bank and mixed with clearer... Read more