What is Alaska EPSCoR?
Alaska EPSCoR is part of the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR), which provides funding opportunities to states that have received less than 0.75% of the NSF’s total national funding in recent years. EPSCoR’s mission is to “advance excellence in science and engineering research and education” so that EPSCoR jursidictions might be more engaged in NSF endeavors and more competitive for NSF funding.
What does Alaska EPSCoR Do?
Alaska EPSCoR is currently engaged in a 5-year project entitled “Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments” (Alaska ACE). This project focuses on the adaptive capacity of Alaskan communities — a community’s ability to effectively respond to environmental and social changes. Researchers at Alaska EPSCoR combine biological, physical and social research to provide insight into the mechanisms that enable Alaskan communities to adapt to such changes. EPSCoR has collaborated with the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) to install new sensors and conduct new mapping to monitor biophysical changes, while concurrent sociological research measures community responses to these biophysical changes. This research is organized around “test cases,” which focus on environmental changes in three geographic regions of the state, including the following: glacial recession in Southeast Alaska; hydrological and landscape changes to the Kenai watershed in Southcentral Alaska; and permafrost thaw, land cover change, and consequent effects on subsistence resources in Northern Alaska. The statewide Coordination, Integration and Synthesis (CIS) Working Group uses insights from these test cases to address broader-scale questions about adaptation and to create decision-support tools for land and resource managers.
How does ACCS Relate to Alaska EPSCoR?
Scientists at ACCS and EPSCoR and various federal agencies have collaborated on a number of projects that address conservation- or climate-related questions in Alaska. Notable examples include the Aquatic Ecology Departments’s Alaska Online Aquatic Temperature Site (AKOATS; Southcentral Test Case), the Vegetation Ecology Department’s Ecosystems of Conservation Concern (statewide), and the Botany Department’s Modeling the Distribution of Rare Plants on the North Slope (Northern Test Case).