Research Fellows Selected for 2009 - Murie Science and Learning Center Expands Fellowships to Additional Parks

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: April 9, 2009
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583

The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) has selected seven research fellows for 2009. Four researchers are recipients of Discover Denali Research Fellowships for research in or near Denali National Park and Preserve. Three researchers are receiving funding from the Murie Science and Research Fellowships for research in one of the MSLC partner parks in northern Alaska, which are Bering Land Bridge, Cape Krusenstern, Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Kobuk Valley, Noatak, Wrangell-St. Elias and Yukon-Charley Rivers. This year’s research fellows are graduate students and faculty members from universities in Alaska and outside the state. They were selected on the significance of their proposed research to park management issues and the scientific or scholarly merit of their proposal. Their research will continue to expand the scientific efforts taking place at Denali and other Alaska national parks.

Research fellows are tackling research questions in botany, wildlife ecology, soil ecology, archeology, and the physical and biological aspects of climate change. Research topics include: vegetation change as permafrost melts; genetic diversity of a flowering plant species with a limited distribution; documenting possible occurrence of a fungal disease that affects wood frogs; soil development; pre-historic cultural use of sites and materials (obsidian) and finding artifacts on melting snow patches.

Each Discover Denali and MSLC Research Fellowship recipient will develop an educational outreach opportunity or product about their research, such as a poster, fact sheet, classroom study module for the MSLC, or a public lecture or seminar.

A complete listing of the research fellows and their topics is below:

Discover Denali Research Fellowships
(researcher conducts research in or near Denali National Park and Preserve):

  • Elizabeth (Fay) Belshe, University of Florida “Remotely sensing the effects of permafrost thaw on tundra carbon balance”
  • Tara Chestnut, Portland State University “Distribution and prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in the northern range of the Wood Frog (Rana [Lithobates] sylvatica) 
  • Barbara-Lynn Concienne, University of Colorado at Boulder “Microbial succession in newly deglaciated soils”
  • Craig Lee, University of Colorado “Ice on the edge: global warming and a new archeological/paleontological research frontier in Denali National Park and Preserve”

Murie Science and Learning Center Research Fellowships
(researcher conducts research in one of the eight MSLC partner parks in northern Alaska)

  • Chris Houlette, University of Alaska Museum of the North “Prehistoric obsidian procurement and use in Gates of the Arctic National Park”
  • Zachary Meyers, University of Alaska Fairbanks “Documenting genetic diversity in Oxytropis kokrinenesis from Kobuk Valley National Park” 
  • Ben Potter, University of Alaska Fairbanks “Understanding site formation and cultural activities at Teklanika West (HEA—001)” [Denali National Park and Preserve]

Three partners working toward the mission of the MSLC have made these fellowships possible: Alaska Geographic, Denali Education Center, and the National Park Service.

The Discover Denali Research Fellowships are made possible through proceeds from Discover Denali, an MSLC program developed in partnership between the Denali Education Center and the National Park Service. The Discover Denali program helps Royal Celebrity Tours participants learn about Denali’s natural and human history. The Denali Education Center seeks to connect people to Denali through research, education, and communication.

The Murie Science and Learning Center Research Fellowships are made possible by a partnership between Alaska Geographic and the National Park Service. The Murie Science and Learning Center was established in the spirit of the Natural Resource Challenge, a National Park Service initiative aimed at increasing research and education efforts in our national parks. As part of its mission to connect people with their public lands, Alaska Geographic provides staffing and funding for the MSLC operations.

Both research fellowship programs are expected to continue in 2010. They are open to undergraduate and graduate students, college and university faculty, and other researchers. Proposals for research that will help park managers make decisions about critical resource issues are particularly encouraged. A typical fellowship grant is around $3,500; however, proposals for up to $5,000 are considered. For more information, please contact Denali’s Research Administrator Lucy Tyrrell at (907) 683-6352 or e-mail us.


Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

Contact Us