How shrinking glaciers are affecting Alaska's coastal ecosystems
(The 2018 lectures will be held at the Raven Landing Center, 1222 Cowles Street, across from the Noel Wein Public Library.)
Professor of Environmental Science
Alaska’s glaciers are losing mass at some of the highest rates on Earth. These changes in glacier volume influence glacier meltwater release, which has a variety of downstream impacts including modifying the temperature of coastal streams as well as nutrient and light availability in estuary ecosystems. Glacier recession is also expected to influence marine ecosystem productivity in areas where tidewater glaciers are being lost from highly productive glacial fjords. Given current rates of glacier change in Alaska, it is critical to improve our understanding of the linkages between icefields and downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems. This talk will explore how changes in glacier volume will affect the physical and ecological properties of rivers and estuaries along the Gulf of Alaska that support a wide variety of culturally and commercially relevant species including Pacific salmon.