Welcome to the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research (ARC LTER) site, part of a network of sites established by the National Science Foundation to support long-term ecological research in the United States. Our
research site is located in the foothills region of the
North Slope of Alaska
(68° 38'N, 149° 43'W, elevation 760
m) and is based out of the University of Alaska's Toolik Field Station.
The project is based year-round institute at The Ecosystems Center,
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
The Principal Investigator of the Arctic LTER is Gus Shaver
while Breck Bowden, Laura Gough, Anne Giblin, Chris Luecke,
Phaedra Budy and George Kling form an executive committee and direct the
four main components of the research including groups focused on tundra, streams, lakes, and
landscape interactions. (Arctic LTER personnel)
The long-term goal of
Arctic LTER project is to understand and predict
the effects of environmental change on arctic landscapes.
To achieve this goal the Arctic LTER studies the ecology of the surrounding tundra, streams, and lakes. We hope to gain an understanding of the controls of ecosystem structure and function through long-term monitoring and surveys of natural variation of ecosystem characteristics, through experimental manipulation of ecosystems for years
to decades and through synthesis of results and predictive modeling at ecosystem and watershed scales.
The arctic region has warmed significantly over the past 30 years
and arctic lands and freshwaters are already changing in response.
The changes include a general “greening” of the arctic landscape,
changes in species distributions and abundance, and changes in
geophysical and biogeochemical processes and cycles at local and
regional scales. Recently it has become apparent that climatic warming in the Arctic is accompanied by dramatic changes in disturbance regime, including disturbances related to thawing of permafrost, a surprising increase in wildfire, and changes in the seasonality and synchrony of ecosystem processes. These disturbances have important feedbacks on climate as well as human use of the land, in particular subsistence hunting and harvesting but also tourism and commercial resource extraction.
For the years 2010-2016, our Overall Goal is to understand changes in the arctic system at catchment and landscape scales as the product of: (i) Direct effects of climate change on states, processes, and linkages of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and (ii) Indirect effects of climate change on ecosystems through a changing disturbance regime.(See Arctic LTER 2010 proposal).
The Arctic LTER
addresses an important societal goal: the
prediction of response of arctic ecosystems
to environmental change,
both natural and anthropogenic. The
data and insights gained
are provided to federal, Alaska state and
North Slope Borough officials who regulate
the lands on the North Slope.
Arctic LTER News
2013 Arctic LTER Site review documents, including past proposals and reviews are available here.
Arctic LTER synthesis book
A Changing Arctic: Ecological Consequences for Tundra, Streams, and Lakes. edited by John E. Hobbie and George W. Kling has been submitted to Oxford University Press.
This book in the Long Term Ecology Research (LTER) Synthesis Series, ..
Long-Term Tundra Warming Study Yields Unexpected Results
Greenhouses at the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research site at Toolik Lake, Alaska, have been used by Gus Shaver and other Ecosystems Center scientists for more than two decades to observe the effects of climate warming on the Arctic tundra. Using these experiments Seeta Sistla, a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, her adviser, Josh Schimel, Shaver and colleagues reports that decades of slow and steady warming have not changed the amounts of carbon in the soil, despite changes in vegetation and even the soil food web.
The research was published in the May 15 Advance Online Publication of the journal Nature. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12129
Natural History of the Arctic North Slope
Land of Extremes: A Natural History of the Arctic North Slope of Alaska (Huryn, A. and J.E. Hobbie. 2012. Univ of Alaska Press, 311 pp.) is an official LTER book. The book is written for naturalists with hundreds of color pictures...
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants #DEB-1026843, 981022, 9211775, 8702328; #OPP-9911278, 9911681, 9732281, 9615411, 9615563, 9615942, 9615949, 9400722, 9415411, 9318529; #BSR 9019055, 8806635, 8507493. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.