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Alaska Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Names New Leader



CONTACT: Marie Gilbert, Institute of Arctic Biology information officer, 907-474-7412, megilbert@alaska.edu

Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology has announced that veteran researcher Brad Griffith will serve as the new leader of the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

“We are very pleased to have a leader with so much knowledge of and experience in the Alaska and circumpolar environment,” said IAB director Brian Barnes. “Brad is internationally recognized for his research in caribou biology, especially in migration and population dynamics of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, his research on Yukon River Basin ecological structure and function, and his work toward incorporating the effects of climate variability into the structured decisionmaking and adaptive management of Alaska’s wildlife resources.”

The Alaska unit is part of a nationwide cooperative program within the U.S. Geological Survey and Department of the Interior to promote research and graduate student training in the ecology and management of fish and wildlife and their habitats. The program has a record of high research productivity and, via graduate and post-graduate training, provides professionals whose science helps Alaska’s fish and wildlife managers make informed decisions.

“It is a great honor to have been selected leader of one of the oldest and largest Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units in the nation,” said Griffith, an associate professor of wildlife ecology who has been a scientist with the unit since 1989 and an assistant leader for wildlife since 1996.

The unit provides a direct link between UAF and the research needs of management agencies in Alaska.

“Our graduate training mission delivers trained natural resource professionals to Alaska,” Griffith said. “Our applied science program is explicitly focused on topics that are relevant to contemporary challenges faced by natural resource management agencies in Alaska.”

Those topics include lake drying and its effects on wetland biodiversity, enhanced ecosystem and salmon stock-recruitment models, and assessments of climate-change effects on invertebrate and shorebird communities in Arctic coastal lagoons. Griffith’s research focuses on the potential effects of industrial development and climate on circumpolar ungulates, such as caribou; the potential effects of climate on wetland biodiversity, and the implications of changing habitats for natural resource management agencies.

The Alaska unit exists as a cooperative agreement among the USGS, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Wildlife Management Institute.
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