Article Series

Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 6 Issue 2: Crossing Boundaries in a Changing Environment

This issue covers the proceedings of the Central Alaska Park Science Symposium, held in Denali National Park. Topics include climate change monitoring, landscape and wildlife ecology, physical sciences, fisheries, subsistence, and using science as a tool for park management.

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 1: Long-Term Air Quality Monitoring in Denali National Park

    clouds brewing over a snowy mountainside

    Air quality monitoring in Denali has been ongoing for over three decades. With global pollution projected to increase over time, Denali’s clean air is dependent upon international as well as national efforts to limit emission increases. As a prominent wilderness tourist destination, the park may help inspire global citizens to protect clean air partly because it is an integral part of Denali’s intact ecosystem. Read more

  • Chapter 2: Monitoring Seasonal and Long-term Climate Changes and Extremes in the Central Alaska Network

    rain squall over a mountain landscape

    Climate is a primary driver of ecological change and an important component of the Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network (CAKN). By monitoring seasonal and long-term climate patterns in the region, we can correlate climate changes and extremes to other variations in the ecosystem, such as changes in permafrost extent or vegetation composition. Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 3: A Baseline Study of Permafrost in Denali's Toklat Basin

    person digging next to a thick wall of ice covered by a thin layer of soil

    Learn about a 2003 baseline study of 160,000 acres in the Toklat River basin of Denali. Permafrost was known to exist in the area, but this study provided specific details which will benefit park managers and future scientists. Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 4: Dinosauria and Fossil Aves Footprints from Denali's Lower Cantwell Formation

    three-toed fossilized footprint on a rock

    Denali's Cantwell Formation contains the first record of dinosaurs in the Alaska Range. This record consists of tracks of small, medium, large, and very large-sized theropods, as well as hadrosaurs. Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 5: Interpreting Denali's Landcover Types with Fabric

    patchwork quilt

    Combining art and science, Denali Quilters created a quilt (approximately 3.3 meters square) to interpret Denali National Park and Preserve’s landcover types. The central map is a satellite image of 23 land-cover types (13,600 colored fabric pixels). Twenty-two blocks surround the map, each depicting a close-up view of selected plants and animals found in a cover type. The machine quilting outlines the park’s boundary, highlights drainages and topographic lines, and depicts a Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 6: Grizzly Bear Population Ecology in Denali

    brown bear sitting on a hillside

    What have 25+ years of studying grizzly bears in Denali taught us? Read more

  • Chapter 7: Wolf Foraging and Related Social Variations in Denali National Park

    three wolves surrounding a caribou in the snow

    Extensive studies suggest that wolf behavior varies greatly based on prey diversity, and in the process certain wolf groups express greater social and other non-migratory adaptations. Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 8: Dynamics of Small Mammal Populations in the Rock Creek Watershed of Denali

    closeup of a hand, holding a vole

    Through a 14 year mark-recapture study, scientists tracked the population dynamics of voles in a watershed near Denali's entrance. In the process, they discovered the date of spring onset most-notably influences their populations. Among other reasons, voles are an important species because their abundance influences carnivore populations higher up the food chain. Read more

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Chapter 9: An Integrated Study of Road Capacity at Denali

    two green buses on a grassy hill with people standing outside taking photos

    A sole road provides access to the interior of Denali. Traffic on it is restricted mostly to buses, with a cap on how many total trips can occur in a summer. Though the limit hasn't been reached, visitation increases annually. In order to evaluate the traffic limits and how traffic impacts wildlife, we have designed a multidisciplilnary study. This research will inform decisions about managing traffic to protect resources and maintain quality visitor experiences. Read more