Cooperative Research Units
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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: 101

Masters Students: 232

Phd Students: 160

Post Docs: 58

University Staff: 268

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 677

Scientific Publications: 1887

Presentations: 4313



Funding Agencies

  • Alaska Climate Science Center


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey