I recently had the pleasure to work with a team of ecologists for eight days in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The point of the trip was to reoccupy and expand investigations of the Cooper Plots established over 100 years ago in the wake of the retreating ice in the West Arm. A nice rundown of this ecological succession work is presented here on Glacier Hub. The ecology team recently published on their rediscovery of the plots, which was heroic considering the immense lands, intense brush and sometimes cryptic description of the plot locations.
The accommodations and views in the West Arm of Glacier Bay were spectacular. Logistics of the project were supported by the National Park Service, who we gratefully acknowledge.
The team of ecologists included (left to right) Drs. Allison Bidlack (Director, Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center, University of Alaska Southeast), Sarah Bisbing (University of Nevada – Reno) and Brian Buma (University of Alaska Southeast). I was along to core trees at the sites (Wooster Tree Ring Lab) and to measure the size of alders.
Sarah and Brian cordon off one of Cooper’s 1-meter plots with string so we don’t trample the vegetation. Sarah reals out a 15-meter tape with Allison on
The high rainfall and high coastal ranges nourish the icefields of southern Alaska along and with the extensive carbon-rich forests and ecosystems of the Northern Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest (PCTR).
Chris surveys the North Pacific noting the extensive moisture source and ocean pasture that is just offshore of the terrestrial ecosystems we are studying.
Malisse sits atop a shore pine, another slow growing coastal species that is experiencing potential decline.
Kerensa sites atop an obducted ophiolite – we were 71% sure that there were pillows in the basalt.
Josh cores another Alaska Yellow cedar – we were able to sample three sites in the Juneau area. These cedars are in decline due to warming and loss of snowpack, which makes their fine roots vulnerable to frost. Our objective is to work up the tree-ring record of the sites to contribute to our understanding of the decline.
Alora takes a break from taking notes and GPS coordinates for each tree.
Ice caves fund to explore and act as a conduit to meltwater and warm air accelerating the melt.
Blue the dog – takes a break from pursuing porcupines in the muskeg.
Nick of the Ophiolite.
Kerensa wades through the deep texture of coastal carbon.
Buried forests emerge from the wasting margin of