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International team of students and scientists on month-long field course in Siberian Arctic
Date:7/1/2009

Scientists and undergraduate students from across the United States and Russia are departing July 2 for a month-long field course in the Russian Arctic. The program, known as The Polaris Project, is training future leaders in arctic research and education, and informing the public about the impacts of climate change.

Dr. R. Max Holmes, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and director of the Polaris Project, says, "The Arctic is central to the global climate change issue, and Russia has by far the largest share of the Arctic. Yet few western scientists, much less students, ever get the chance to work in the Siberian Arctic. This research experience is a unique collaboration among students, educators, and scientists from distinct cultures working together to address a critically important scientific challenge."

Holmes, adds, "The education and outreach aspects of this project are essential goals given the rapid and profound transformations underway in the Arctic in response to global warming."

This is the second year of the Polaris Project field course. The focus of the students' and scientists' work will be the transport and transformations of carbon and nutrients as they move with water from terrestrial uplands to the Arctic Ocean, with an emphasis on the linkages among the different ecosystems, and how processes occurring in one component influence the others.

Participating institutions include The Woods Hole Research Center, Carleton College, Clark University, Holy Cross College, St. Olaf College, University of Nevada Reno, Western Washington University, and Yakustk State University.

Andy Bunn, a faculty member at Western Washington University, comments, "I did not appreciate the massive changes underway in the Arctic before traveling to Siberia last year. Yet, that change is just likely beginning. I'm excited to return this year and to see this anew with the fresh crop of students. They
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Contact: Elizabeth Braun
ebraun@whrc.org
508-540-9900
Woods Hole Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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