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

 
 

How to catch an Arctic ground squirrel – for science!

Posted 26 September 2014 by Liz O'Connell

At Atigun River, north of the Arctic Circle, the sandy soil is run through with an interlaced network of burrows. The Arctic ground squirrels which call those burrows home have encountered something mundane to you or me, but no-doubt wondrous to them: big tasty taproots, stunningly orange. Carrots! Trapping squirrels The carrots are bait, placed carefully in wire cage traps by scientists working to learn more about the very unusual Arctic ground squirrel. Cory Williams, postdoctoral fellow at the University... Read more

Arctic ground squirrel videos

Posted 10 September 2014 by Liz O'Connell

Arctic Ground Squirrel Videos The extraordinary life of the Arctic ground squirrel is described by dedicated scientists who study the handsome creatures. In videos: The Perfect Yuppie Pet, In the Field, In the Lab, And the Circadian Clock, the scientists reflect on questions about the Arctic ground squirrel and its unusual lifestyle. Discover what makes these animals so unique by hearing the scientists' newfound insights. In these videos Professor Loren Buck of University Alaska Anchorage, Professor Brian Barnes of University... Read more

Beating hearts in Denali

Posted 3 September 2014 by Liz O'Connell

“It never ceases to amaze me. No matter what the conditions are, what time of year it is, the place still awes me.” ~ Patricia Owen, wildlife biologist, Denali National Park & Preserve Cold nights have prompted the Denali landscape to turn colors; reds and purples are spectacular tundra accents spread across the wild vista. We’re at Denali National Park & Preserve meeting park rangers and scientists; searching for bears. While park visitor numbers are usually calculated to number about... Read more

On the back of the beast

Posted 27 August 2014 by Liz O'Connell

We’ve joined scientists atop a frozen debris lobe, a slow-moving landslide in permafrost. They say we’re ‘on the back of the beast’. In the heavy rain and among fog-shrouded mountains, the scientists are making these uphill treks to record how temperature, water pressure, and local geological properties determine the slope movement of the massive lobes. These repeat measurements obtained at incredible accuracy can one day help us decode the secrets of the many massive frozen debris lobes (FDLs) currently approaching... Read more

When your only highways are ice

Posted 30 July 2014 by Liz O'Connell

“The first half of the trip was in the forest and the second half on the tundra. The difference that those ecosystems imposed on the snow cover was beautifully manifest,” Matthew Sturm reminisces. He’s referencing a long snowmobile journey from Fairbanks, Alaska to Hudson Bay in Canada, chronicled in his book Finding the Arctic (University of Alaska Press, 2012). But where you or I might notice the old gnarled trees of the forest or the howling wind over vast open... Read more

Matthew Sturm – insight into the Arctic

Posted 23 July 2014 by Liz O'Connell

Over four decades after entering the Arctic Circle for the first time, Matthew Sturm, snow scientist and University of Alaska professor, still looks on the Arctic as a place of wonder. In Finding the Arctic (University of Alaska Press, 2012), a story of history and culture along a 2,500 mile snowmobile journey from Alaska to Hudson’s Bay, Matthew Sturm tackles an epic path across Alaska and Canada. ... Read more

Arctic ground squirrel chronobiology; Wake up, guys, my biological clock says it’s…spring?

Posted 10 July 2014 by Liz O'Connell

Biology major Brady Salli spends seven days a week in the vivarium making sure UAA’s arctic ground squirrels are fed, watered and, for those that are hibernating, tucked snugly into clean cotton batting. The kicker? He has to maintain a random schedule so the animals don’t “cheat” off of him. Professor Loren Buck, Department of Biological Sciences, is Brady’s mentor and boss. He is leading a team of researchers in a four-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-funded study of the... Read more