Frontier Scientists

Photo by Astronaut Jeff Williams, NASA Earth Observatory

The Frontier Scientists blog is for travelers, teachers, students, aspiring scientists, and anyone interested in scientific discovery in the Alaskan arctic.

Come here for videos, photos and summaries that put you in the front row for breaking scientific news in the Far North. Research by our team of Alaska-based scientists includes 10,000-year-old archeological finds, photos of active Cook Inlet volcanoes taken from the space station, climate change, Denali Park’s grizzlies, the nexus of Russian and native artistic traditions, and more.

Come along as scientists themselves are startled by the unexpected in field locations so remote researchers are often the first modern visitors to set foot in them.

Contact Liz O’Connell at

What I learned this Earth Day, 2014 - 4/22/2014 7:16 pm

Predicting the effect of anomalous sea ice loss and increasing sea surface temperatures on global storm systems - 4/15/2014 8:48 pm

The ground changing under our feet – Thermokarsts - 4/8/2014 2:24 pm

Snowy Owl Irruption - 4/2/2014 7:40 am

Tram Powered International Tundra Experiment - 3/25/2014 5:40 pm

Modeling shifting oceanscapes; a collective pursuit - 3/18/2014 6:29 pm

Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities - 3/12/2014 11:04 pm

68 million ton landslide in Alaska: Mount La Perouse - 3/5/2014 7:34 pm

Frontier Scientists presents videos about Understanding Climate Change Through Archaeology

Osteoarcheology - finds from a midden.: Attribution John Tustin (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license)Osteoarcheology - finds from a midden.: Attribution John Tustin (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license)

October 8 2013— You've seen ancient bones uncovered by archaeologists in museums, dusty and mysterious, and learned something new about the past. For a zooarchaeologist, bones will give up more secrets than most. Join Mike Etnier, zooarchaeologist at Western Washington University, as he exposes the secrets of bones.

In videos "A Zooarchaeologist's Take on Climate Change" and "Using Middens as Time Machines", Etnier displays bones found in sites once occupied by ancient hunters along the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and describes using those bones to discover information about the distant past. His work investigates how the populations and habitat ranges of animals like the Northern Fur Seal have changed over time due to weather events and human interaction, and even uncovers evidence of past climate shifts. Etnier's findings add more robust data to our ever-growing understanding of Earth's climate past.

Frontier Scientists is an interactive website which connects anyone curious about new scientific discoveries with stories from real Arctic field scientists. We share first-person accounts and insights from leading scientists including grizzly bear biologists, volcano researchers, technology developers and climate change specialists. View all videos featuring zooarchaeologist Mike Etnier by visiting our series Understanding Climate Change Through Archaeology, and explore more secrets once hidden underground with Arctic Archaeology.


You can learn to communicate science at the Science Storytelling Workshop: Video-making Tips and Tools with presenters from GoPro, Google Earth, Hoff Productions, and direct from the science field. We'll provide a hands-on opportunity to experience the latest video tools and techniques used by both professional and amateur videographer scientists. The workshop convenes in San Francisco on Sunday 8 Dec, 3:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M., at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Salon 4. During the workshop the panel will review short films and provide professional feedback. You are encouraged to submit your film for review by following these guidelines:

Entries must be viewable (for reviewing by panel) and downloadable from YouTube or Vimeo Submit your films by Midnight (PST) on Fri., Nov. 1, 2013!
–All formats on HD (720 p or higher) are welcome
–2-5 minute maximum film length
–Films should be in English (spoken or subtitled)


Email the Review Committee (Douglas.Harned [@] a web link for the film which allows download of the HD file
(allow this option in your preferences on YouTube or Vimeo).
Or mail a DVD with an HD .mp4 or .mov file to:
Douglas Harned
North Carolina Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 27607


Attending the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco this December? See even more short science films featured at the AGU Cinema Room.

Frontier Scientists: presenting scientific discovery in the Arctic and beyond. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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