Internal Awards

2022 Seed Grants

Alaska NSF EPSCoR announces the availability of seed grants to support research and outreach related to the Fire & Ice project.

Grants will be awarded in four categories: Faculty Research Seed Grants of up to $20,000 each; Student Research Seed Grants of up to $4,000 each; Education and Outreach Seed Grants of up to $12,500 each; and Visualization Seed Grants of up to $2,500 each. The deadline for submission of proposals is 5 pm AKDT October 15, 2021, and awards will be announced by November 5, 2021.

Below please find more information and paperwork related to each award.

Seed Grants

In late 2019 and late 2020, Alaska NSF EPSCoR awarded faculty research grants of up to $20,000 each and student research grants of up to $4,000 each. In 2019 the program also awarded Research and Education grants of up to $10,000 each. Grantees are listed below.

Boreal Fires

Thomas Ballinger, a Research Assistant Professor at the UAF International Arctic Research Center, for “Alaska wildfire activity and atmospheric blocking: An evaluation of subseasonal-to-seasonal linkages.” Ballinger was funded to assess and quantify subseasonal-to-seasonal connections between the Alaska Blocking Index – a measure of air circulation in the middle troposphere above Alaska - and wildfire activity.

Jessie Young-Robertson, a Research Assistant Professor with the UAF Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Extension, for “Tree Water Content: A multi-year dataset of live fuel moisture for Interior Alaska.” Young-Robertson was funded to process and share data on the live fuel moisture content (LFMC) of multiple species of boreal trees and shrubs over variable environmental conditions.

Micah Hahn, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the UAA Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies, for “Assessing the role of preparedness, social supports, and trust in leadership in reducing mental health problems associated with a recent Alaskan wildfire.” Hahn received partial funding to deliver a survey to people impacted by the 2019 Swan Lake Fire to help better identify who is most likely to experience distress during a wildfire, and to pinpoint adaptation strategies.

    Micah Hahn, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the UAA Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies, for “Modeling the association between cardiorespiratory hospitalizations and particulate matter from wildfire smoke in Anchorage and Fairbanks to support adaptation and resilience planning.” Hahn was funded to study data on air quality and emergency room visits to determine whether the heat and short-term cumulative smoke exposure experienced within a fire season may exacerbate the impact of acute smoke exposure on respiratory and cardiorespiratory health.

    Sveta Yamin-Pasternak, a Term Assistant Professor in the UAF Department of Anthropology and Water and Environmental Research Center, for “Morel trends in Alaska Boreal Forest, perspectives from local foragers.” Yamin-Pasternak was funded to use archived data and insight from morel foragers in Fairbanks and Galena to examine interdependencies of morel fruiting and boreal forest fires.

Elizabeth Hinkle, a Ph.D student in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Science, for “Arctic Grayling movement and genetic relatedness in response to wildfire.” Hinkle was funded to use DNA sequencing techniques to study how wildfires impact the dispersal patterns of Arctic Grayling in the Chena River basin.

    Elizabeth Hinkle, a Ph.D student in Fisheries at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Post-wildfire response of stream habitat and aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in the boreal forest.” Hinkle was funded to conduct sampling in two Interior Alaska streams, one of which burned in summer 2019 and the other of which has not burned for more then 80 years, to study the impacts of fire on stream habitat and on the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates.

    Chris Smith, a master’s student in Geography at the UAF Department of Geosciences, for “MaD BoV (Mapping Detection of Boreal Vegetation).” Smith was funded to engage Alaskans in collecting geotagged photos of vegetation cover from geographically dispersed and remote sites in order to ground truth Boreal Fires map products.

Coastal Margins

Eric Klein, an Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences in the UAA Department of Geological Sciences, for “High-resolution water isotope samples reveal changing water sources in proglacial streams feeding Kachemak Bay, Alaska.” Klein was funded to deploy high-frequency water samplers on two Kachemak Bay waterways to better understand the dominant water sources in glacially fed streams, and how these sources vary daily, monthly, and seasonally.

Schery Umanzor, a Research Assistant Professor in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Ecophysiological responses of Fucus distichus to varying physical and chemical conditions along a glacial to non-glacial gradient.” Umanzor was funded to conduct lab experiments on Fucus seaweed to study its physiological responses to environmental factors linked to glacial inputs.

    Benjamin Barst, a postdoctoral researcher at the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility at the UAF Water and Environmental Research Center, for “Investigation of mercury contamination of stream water and nearshore biota collected along a gradient of glacial influence.” Barst was funded to study mercury levels in Alaskan glacial watersheds, focused on mussels and coho salmon collected as part of Coastal Margins research in Lynn Canal and Kachemak Bay.

    William Burt, an Assistant Professor or Oceanography in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Characterizing groundwater input across a glacial gradient in Kachemak Bay using naturally-occurring radium isotopes: A proof-of-concept study.” Burt was funded to conduct a baseline survey of radium isotopes in Kachemak Bay to assess the role of submarine groundwater discharge and other key fluxes in the region’s hydrological and biogeochemical cycles.

    Gwenn Hennon, an Assistant Professor of Oceanography in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and Jason Fellman, a Research Assistant Professor at the UAS Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center, for “Investigating microbial productivity at the terrestrial-marine interface in Lynn Canal.” Hennon and Fellman were funded to use microbial incubation experiments to study how the concentration and source of riverine dissolved organic matter influence microbial community composition and productivity.

    Eric Klein, an Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences in the UAA Department of Geological Sciences, for “Understanding glacier precipitation sources and meltwater contributions to intertidal systems in Kachemak Bay, Alaska.” Klein was funded to collect water and core samples from the Harding Icefield, as well as rain and water vapor isotope samples, to better understand the past and present moisture sources supplying precipitation to Kachemak Bay glaciers as well as the water isotope signatures associated with the glaciers.

Brian Ulaski, a Ph.D student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Associations between drifting and beach-cast macroalgal communities along a glacial gradient.” Ulaski was funded to gather data from beach seines to investigate relationships between near-subtidal drift algae, beach wrack, and their associated macroinvertebrate communities along a glacial to non-glacial gradient.

Jordan Jenckes, a Ph.D student in the UAA Department of Geological Sciences, for “Trace metal micronutrient sources and transport to the intertidal waters of Kachemak Bay, Gulf of Alaska.” Jenckes was funded to study the seasonal origins of trace metals in Kachemak Bay to determine the relative amount of materials deposited from snow and ice versus those deposited from bedrock weathering and soils.

Lindsey Stadler, an M.S. student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Food web ecology of nearshore fishes along a gradient of glacially influenced watersheds.” Stadler was funded to conduct stomach content analysis of nearshore Kachemak Bay fishes to investigate if and how glacial coverage affects their diet composition.

Josianne Haag, an M.S. student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Characterizing groundwater discharge and bay connectivity in Kachemak Bay by constraining radium sources.” Haag was funded to use isotope tracing to study the contribution of submarine groundwater discharge to water flux in Kachemak Bay.

Courtney Hart, a Ph.D student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Using harmful algal bloom monitoring to understand PSP risks and mitigate testing burdens at a shellfish farm in Southeast Alaska.” Hart was funded to establish a water monitoring site at a Juneau oyster farm, to determine whether such sites can be used as an early-warning system for the accumulation of paralytic shellfish toxins.

    Amy Dowling, a master’s student in marine biology at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Variability in Pacific blue mussel (Mytilus trossulus) demographics in a glacially influenced estuary.” Dowling was funded to travel to Juneau to learn how to age Pacific blue mussels, enabling her to correlate the age of mussels collected through the Fire and Ice project with the drivers of environmental variability found along glacial gradients.

    Carolyn Hammam, a master’s student in fisheries at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “A regional comparison of thermotolerance in saffron cod Eleginus gracilis based on HSP70 concentrations at the critical thermal maximum.” Hammam was funded to use laboratory experiments to determine whether saffron cod populations from the Beaufort Sea and the Gulf of Alaska have adopted population-specific thermal adaptations for their respective regions.

    Jordan Jenckes, a master’s student in geology at the UAA Department of Geological Sciences, for “Groundwater contributions to streams and intertidal waters of Kachemak Bay.” Jenckes was funded to combine a stable isotope mixing model with tritium analysis to determine the timing and amount of groundwater entering stream channels in Kachemak Bay watersheds as a function of season and watershed type across a glacial- to precipitation-fed gradient.

    James Schloemer, a master’s student in marine biology at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Watershed influence on terrestrial resource use in nearshore marine consumers.” Schloemer was funded to combine isotope mixing models and remote sensing of watersheds to document terrestrial resource use by terrestrial invertebrates, and to identify which watershed characteristics contribute most to the type of organic matter being used by the invertebrates.

Diversity, Education and Workforce Development

Alison Gardell, an Assistant Professor of Biology at UAA Kenai Peninsula College, for “Student-centered leadership for a newly established citizen science beluga monitoring project in Cook Inlet, Alaska.” Gardell was funded to support students at Kenai Peninsula College to participate in a project to collect and analyze the distribution and habitat use of endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales.

Carie Green, an Associate Professor of Graduate Education in the UAF School of Education, for “Equipping educators to empower children as environmental stewards.” Green was funded to support a class of six UAF graduate students to investigate childrens’ concepts of environmental stewardship through participatory research projects in Fairbanks, Kenai and Scammon Bay.

Shannon Atkinson DeMaster, a Juneau-based Professor of Fisheries at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, for “Engaging pedagogies for STEM students studying ecological change in Alaska.” DeMaster was funded to  hold a pair of workshops designed to excite members of underrepresented groups about STEM fields, on the topics of “Anatomy and physiology of Alaska’s culturally important marine mammals” and “Environmental applications of drone technologies.”

Anita Moore-Nall, a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Population Health Sciences at UAA, for “Digital Storytelling: Bridging a Gap in Place-Based Science.” Moore-Nall plans to work with students at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka to create digital products focused on ecosystem change that are rooted in oral storytelling traditions.

Katie Spellman, a Research Assistant Professor at the International Arctic Research Center, for an effort entitled “Fostering Science: Expanding Access to Science Camp to Youth in Care of the State.” Spellman was funded to lead a team in support of a weeklong summer science camp (picture, above) at the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest exclusively for youths in the Fairbanks-area foster care system.

Travel/Conference and Development Awards

Alaska NSF EPSCoR travel awards go to UA faculty, staff or students with plans to present their research at conferences or to travel for research collaborations. EPSCoR did not offer awards in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, while the first round of 2021 travel awards were renamed "Conference and Development Awards" to reflect that awards can also be applied to remote participation in events. These were supplanted by rolling travel awards offered during summer 2021.

UAF graduate student Hannah Myers was funded to drive from Fairbanks to Seward (twice) and Homer (once) in June-September 2021 to perform fieldwork and to meet with an expert in the field of killer whales.

UAF graduate student Alexandra Reich was funded to travel to Dillingham from June-July 2021 to attend a salmon population dynamics field class.

UAF graduate student Abigail Schiffmiller was funded to travel to the NOAA Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle in June-July 2021 to meet with researchers who collected cetacean survey data in Southeast Alaska, which she is using for her thesis. 

UAF postdoctoral researcher Scott Gabara was funded to attend a virtual workshop in August 2021 on Primer-e PERMANOVA+ statistical analysis software.

UAF graduae student Margaret Rudolf was funded to acccompany UAF scientists to Camp Sivunniigvik outside Kotzebue in September 2021 to gain first-hand knowledge of community engagement and knowledge co-production practices. 

UAS faculty Andrzej Piotrowski and UAS undergraduate student Joshua Walsh were funded to virtually attend the Mathematical Association of America Mathfest in August 2021.

UAA staff Natalie Rouse was funded to virtuallly attend the Wildlife Disease Association Joint Virtual Conference in August-September 2021.

UAF graduate student Karen Grosskreutz was funded to virtually attend the Pathways-Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management conference in September 2021.

UAF faculty Thomas Ballinger was funded to attend the 16th Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography Virtual Meeting in June 2021 to present on “Variability and Trends of Pacific Arctic atmospheric circulation according to an updated Alaska Blocking Index.”

UAF graduate student Jonathan Chriest was funded to attend the American Meteorological Society’s Fire and Forest Meteorology Symposium in May 2021 to present on “Examining seasonal predictability of lightning in Alaska using ERA5 reanalysis.”

UAF graduate student Gail Dabaluz was funded to travel to Washington, D.C. in July 2021 to conduct research at the National Museum of Natural History into the application of the Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act.

UAF graduate student Chris Guo was funded to attend a pair of online workshops put on by PR Statistics in April and May 2021.

UAF graduate student Josianne Haag was funded to travel to the University of Hawaii-Manoa in August 2021 to receive field and laboratory training in the the lab of Dr. Henrietta Dulai, an expert in the field of submarine groundwater discharge.

UAF graduate student Sonia Kumar was funded to attend a course in bioacoustics at the University of New Hampshire in June 2021.

UAA postdoc Zhiyang Li was funded to travel to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists annual convention in Denver in May 2021 to present on both “Constraining the effects of dynamic topography on the development of late Cretaceous cordilleran Foreland Basin, Western United States” and “Characteristics and origin of mud-dominated composite particles (aggregates) in late Cenomanian Dunvegan Prodelta “mudstones”: Implications for depositional processes and reservoir quality.”

UAF faculty Judith Ramos was funded to visit collections related Alaska Native people in Juneau, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to conduct research into Indigenous knowledge of seal hunting camps.

UAA faculty Raghu Srinivasan was funded to attend virtual training in Designing for Corrosion Control offered in May-June 2021 by the National Association for Corrosion Engineers.

UAF graduate student Lindsey Stadler was funded to attend a Field Methods in Marine Ecology and Fisheries course in Juneau in May 2021.

UAF-Kuskokwim Campus faculty Lisa Strecker was funded to travel to Bethel in July-August 2021 to teach an ethnobotany module for a Kukskokwim Summer Science and Culture class organized by the Orutsararmiut Native Council.

UAF graduate student Kristin Timm was funded to attend a pair of summer 2021 courses in the online Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.

    UAF graduate students Rebecca Cates and Lia Domke were funded to travel to the NCEAS Reproducible Research Techniques for Synthesis workshop in Santa Barbara, Calif. in November 2019 to learn about current data science techniques, with an emphasis on “R” software.

    UAF graduate student Jonathan Chriest was funded to attend the American Meteorological Society’s Fire and Forest Meteorology Symposium in Palm Springs, California in May 2020 to present his research on “Convective precipitation as a proxy for lightning across Alaska.”

    UAF staff Patrick Church was funded to attend the NCURA Conference in Washington, D.C. in August 2020 to expand his knowledge of post-award grant management.

    UAF graduate student Gail Dabaluz was funded to attend the Association of American Indian Affairs Repatriation Conference in Fort McDowell, Ariz. In November 2019 to present research into the legal definition of the Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act and its applicability to Alaska’s Tlingit and Haida tribes.

    UAF graduate student Emilia Grzesi was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present her research into the impacts of an intensified fire regime on Interior Alaska’s black spruce-dominated landscape.

    UAA Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff Chris Guo was funded to travel to Juneau in October 2019 to receive training from the UAF Coastal Fisheries Ecology Lab in data collection and sample processing of juvenile salmonid diets.

    UAF graduate student Luke Henslee was funded to attend the Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting in Fairbanks in March 2020 to present his research into nearshore migration trends of salmon stocks in Norton Sound.

    UAF graduate student Julia Hnilicka was funded to travel to multiple rural Alaska communities as part of a project to create a school curriculum based around PurpleAir air quality sensors.

    UAS faculty member Eran Hood was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present data on physical and chemical properties of coastal rivers in Southeast Alaska.

    UAA faculty Britteny Howell was funded to attend the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Austin, Tex. in November 2019 to present findings on the impact of climate change to vulnerable older adults in Anchorage.

    UAA graduate student Jordan Jenckes was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present his research on the impacts of freshwater and nutrients to the intertidal zone in the Gulf of Alaska.

    UAA faculty Eric Klein was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present his research into how discharge across a gradient of glacially fed rivers varies as a function of climatic variables.

    UAF graduate student Nina Lundstrom was funded to attend the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage in January 2020 and the Western Groundfish Conference in Juneau in April-May 2020 to share her research into the impacts of glacial meltwater on nearshore fish communities in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

    UAF graduate student Katie McCabe was funded to attend the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage in January 2020 to present findings on the impact of glacial melt on estuarine ecosystems.

    UAF graduate student Margaret Rudolf was funded to travel to Utqiagvik in January 2020 to serve as a participant-observer on a sea ice-related climate change adaptation project.

    UAF faculty Madhumita Sahoo was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present research into modeling of soil nutrient movement in a warming climate.

    UAA faculty Jennifer Schmidt was funded to attend the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2019 in San Francisco to present her research on assessing the effects of firebreaks on ecosystem services and wildfire risk.

    UAF graduate student Chris Smith was funded to attend the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium in Waikoloa, Hawaii in July 2020 to present his research into using hyperspectral imagery and scale-up methods to produce more accurate fire fuel maps.

    UAA undergraduate Jeffrey Wagner was funded to attend the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Course in Front Royal, Virginia in June 2020 to study camera trapping study design and data analysis.

    UAF graduate student Marina Washburn was funded to attend the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage in January 2020 to present her research into the effects of ocean acidification on the Pacific razor clam.

    UAF undergraduate Emily Williamson was funded to travel to Juneau twice in early 2020 to collaborate with a PhD student on a project to use homesteader journals as a source of historic streamflow data.

    UAF graduate student Jiake Zhou was funded to travel to Fort Collins, Colo. and Jackson, Wyo. In October 2019 to meet with experts in agent-based modeling to strengthen his research into shrub expansion in the Arctic.

  • Kay Shoemaker, an Anchorage faculty member with the UA Cooperative Extension Service, was funded to attend the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators Conference in Port Townsend, Wash., and present on “Reflective Storytelling and Climate Change Education in Alaska.”
  • Ragen Davey, a graduate student in the UAF Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was funded to attend the American Chemical Society National Conference in San Diego and present on “Characterizing Wintertime Aerosol Composition and Sulfate Formation, Fairbanks, Alaska.”
  • Rachel Lekanoff, a graduate student in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, was funded to attend “Ocean Hack Week” at the University of Washington to learn methods for applying programming languages to large oceanographic data sets.
  • Kristen Gorman, research faculty at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, was funded to attend “AniMove,” an analysis workshop in animal movement ecology at Yale University, to learn current computational methods for analyzing animal movement data.
  • Katie McCabe, a graduate student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, was funded to attend a PRIMER workshop in San Marcos, Texas, focused on multivariate analysis in ecology and understanding relationships between biological and environmental data sets.
  • Amanda Droghini, a research professional at the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at UAA, was funded to travel to Washington, D.C. for a course at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation on “Estimating Animal Abundance and Occupancy.”
  • Eran Hood and Sonia Nagorski, both UAS faculty, were funded to attend the Geological Society of America Penrose Conference on “Climate Controls on Sediment Transport Across Coastal Margins” in Juneau.
  • Jingqiu Mao, faculty in the UAF Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was funded to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry in Newry, Maine to present a project on “Characterizing Brown Carbon in Northern High Latitudes.”

Other Information

This reporting template describes how to structure final Seed Grant reports for submission to EPSCoR.

Here's where you can find Terms and Conditions as well as other information for new awardees, including our Collaboration Agreement and student onboarding packets for UAA, UAF and UAS. The packets contain information on the Fire & Ice project, F&I external evaluations, social media, and also a list of useful campus resources.