Monday, July 25, 2016

Team Members Begin to Arrive in Nome…

A lot of people are committed to the success of the NGEE Arctic project. And thankfully, many of them have traveled to Alaska. Some come to conduct research in the field, while others collect samples for analysis back in laboratories at their home institution. Still others come to get a better sense of how multi-scale models should be developed, parameterized, and evaluated using knowledge generated by their colleagues. So, whenever we have large field campaigns, like we are having now, it is especially enjoyable to see members of the NGEE Arctic project from all over the country begin to arrive.

Brent, Jeff, and Carli arrived from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Brent and Jeff have been associated with the project since our beginning and contribute in areas of hydrology and geochemistry. Carli is a post-doctoral research associate and is new to the project; she will assist with installation of equipment and initial collection of surface- and pore-water samples. Lauren, a post-baccalaureate student, will join us in a few days.

Alistair and Shawn from Brookhaven National Laboratory have also arrived. Both have extensive experience working at our field site in Barrow and will spend the next week in Nome conducting leaf gas-exchange and spectral signature measurements on a variety of tundra plants. Mark is completing his post-doctoral research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and will soon be moving to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He has undertaken some exciting analyses of landscape features on the Barrow Peninsula and estimated their contribution to greenhouse gas production. Mark is a creative scientist and we hope that he will continue to work with us once he gets settled into his new position.

Peter from Oak Ridge National Laboratory arrived last night, along with Eugenie from UAF. Both Peter and Eugenie are terrestrial ecosystem modelers who work at a range of scales, including the regional and global scale. They each also have conducted field research and know the value of collecting quality data for use in model development and parameterization. It is great to have them join us in the field as they benefit from, and contribute to, many stimulating discussions that happen in the field.

Several additional colleagues from ORNL also arrived last evening – Colleen, Joanne, and Verity. Colleen leads a Phase 2 task on plant traits. We are looking at shoot and root structure-function relationships and exploring whether this area of research can be used to inform models. The utility of plant traits in modeling is being championed by our sponsor at the DOE and we, along with our sister project NGEE Tropics, are keen to test ideas using field data from our respective field studies. Colleen and Joanne will be busy keeping us organized and on task this week. Amy (UAF) and Holly (ORNL, not pictured) have been in Nome for a week completing community composition assessments. We are fortunate to have Amy on the project as she brings a wealth of knowledge on arctic and boreal vegetation. Finally, Verity just finished her PhD dissertation at the University of Florida last Friday. She will join Colleen at ORNL as a post-doctoral research associate in another month or two. Congratulations Verity on receiving her PhD and welcome to the project!

Others will be joining us in the next few days. I’ll be sure to mention them in the coming week, along with the scientific and technical expertise they bring to the NGEE Arctic project.