ABOUT Liz O'Connell

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

 

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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

Tea water in Arctic rivers– carbon pathways

Posted 24 March 2015 by Liz O'Connell

At the turn of the season as snow and ice melt, Alaska's waterways open up. "This is the highest this river will be this season," Jason Dobkowski said. "Here is this giant flush of particulate and nutrients that flow through the river. So we are trying to make sure we sample at this big flush period at the beginning of the season." Water he collects from the Sagavanirktok River on the North slope of Alaska teaches us more about how... Read more

Mercury, cod, and climate change

Posted 17 March 2015 by Liz O'Connell

It's hard to imagine stalking the shores of Alaska hunting with spear or net more than four millennia ago. Harder still to know that the people living in that already-harsh time faced an even more insidious threat than hunger or the fierce elements. New archaeological findings show elevated levels of toxic mercury in Pacific Cod bones recovered from 4,000 - 5,000 year old settlements on Mink Island, one of many small islands in Amalik Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve,... Read more

That dress! – interpreting colors like an Arctic ground squirrel

Posted 10 March 2015 by Liz O'Connell

Two people are looking at a picture of the same dress on the same screen. When asked 'What color is this dress?' they might give entirely different answers. Some people see a white dress with gold trim. Others see a blue dress with black trim. Others see variations. The viral picture set people at odds and, frankly, spread confusion. No, we're not all being fooled. It seems our hardworking brains are merely interpreting the image differently. I imagine this happens... Read more

Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities

Posted 3 March 2015 by Liz O'Connell

The Ceremonial Start of the 2015 Iditarod, a sled dog mushing race, will be held in Anchorage on March 7th. The Restart will be Monday, March 9th, in Fairbanks. While the race is normally run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, low snow conditions have forced the race route north for the second time. You can follow the Iditarod from www.iditarod.com. ... Read more

New videos about Frozen Debris Lobes, geohazards

Posted 24 February 2015 by Liz O'Connell

February 24 2015— Slow landslides in permafrost slide downhill on mountain slopes in the Brooks Range of Alaska. These massive frozen debris lobes are geohazards. They pose a potential threat to the Dalton Highway, Alaska’s lone road to the North Slope. There are 23 identified frozen debris lobes situated less than one mile uphill from the Dalton Highway. In recent years the motion of some of these frozen masses has increased. In new FrontierScientists videos "Dynamic Slope – Frozen Debris... Read more

Young mountains versus CO2

Posted 17 February 2015 by Liz O'Connell

Considering that the research site was a lake 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle in northeast Siberia, Russia, I didn’t think the topic would turn to mountains. Yet I’ve found a new love for mountains. Everything is interconnected. Lake E project Lake El-gygytgyn sits in a crater that formed 3.6 million years before present at the site of a massive meteorite impact. An international team of scientists from the United States, Russia, Germany and Austria converged on Lake E... Read more

Wiggles and stacks: Paleoclimate 101

Posted 11 February 2015 by Liz O'Connell

Imagine standing on the top floor of the Empire State Building. Above you, the frigid ice-capped waters of a lake in Siberia. Below you sits nearly a quarter of a mile of lake sediment resting atop impact breccia, a layer of rock formed when a meteorite slammed into Earth 3.6 million years ago. Graph wiggles An international team of scientists with the Lake El'gygytgyn Drilling Project is studying a sediment core extracted from the site. The remnants of plants, pollen,... Read more

Aufeis may mark Grayling safe spots

Posted 4 February 2015 by Liz O'Connell

“Who’s eating our fish?!” Heidi Golden posed in her journalistic record of Arctic Research and Exploration studying Arctic grayling. “From the snow tracks we saw, it’s most likely a fox. Other predators in this area might include, birds, wolverine, ermine and wolves.” Golden is an aquatic ecologist and a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. She came to Alaska to study Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus), especially a population of migratory grayling, which range along... Read more