Wolverine Glacier Ecosystem Studies

Science Center Objects

This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems.

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Glacial basins are increasingly recognized as critical sources of nutrients to rivers and the ocean, but little research has been done to understand the importance of glaciers in southcentral Alaska. This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems. Such understanding is particularly important given that glacial mass in Alaska is drastically decreasing, such that nutrient sources may be derived only from the catchment (and not the glacier) in the future. This project recognizes that all nutrient sources are not equal and that the amount and quality of nutrients will shift as glacial mass is lost. Work is ongoing to fully describe these changes and their likely impact on downstream ecosystems.

The "From Icefield to Ocean Poster" depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean.

The "From Icefield to Ocean Poster" depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean. The product is a result of Alaska Climate Science Center research projects and workshops. The team felt that it was particularly important to find a compelling way to communicate these research findings to Alaskans because Alaska’s coastal glaciers are among the most rapidly changing areas on the planet and glacier runoff can influence marine habitats, ocean currents and economic activities. Available at: https://csc.alaska.edu/resource/icefield-ocean-poster(Public domain.)