Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
Home | Intranet | Digital Measures | Help

Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) otoliths as biochronological indicators of recent climate patterns in high Arctic lakes.


August 2014 - May 2016


High latitude ecosystems, such as Arctic Alaska, show increased effects of climate change. Due largely to costs and logistics associated with this region, long-term air temperature data only exists from a few locations. Lake temperature has only just begun to be more routinely monitored. Studies to obtain more spatially comprehensive data are needed. In terrestrial systems the use of tree-ring data and dendrochronolgy techniques are often used as a reliable proxy to reconstruct temperature regimes, however, most of Arctic Alaska is devoid of trees. These same dendrochronolgy techniques can be applied to growth-increment widths found in Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) otoliths. Lake trout are present across the Arctic landscape and are a long-lived fish, thus may provide a reliable mulitdecadal proxy to reconstruct temperature regimes across the region. This project will focus on the Fish Creek and Ikpikpuk Sand Sea/Teshekpuk Lake watersheds which are experiencing the impacts of climate change as well as large-scale changes in land use involving oil and gas development. This project will provide valuable information with respect to these challenges.

Research Products and Activities


  • Torvinen, E., Falke, J., Arp, C., Whitman, M., Adams, J. and C. Zimmerman. 2015. Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) otoliths as biochronological indicators of recent climate patterns in Arctic lakes. Alaska Chapter American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Homer, Alaska, 4-6 November, 2015.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 4

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 3

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 23

Scientific Publications: 124

Presentations: 226



Funding Agencies

  • Alaska Climate Science Center


Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Alaska Fairbanks
  5. Wildlife Management Institute