From the Field

Rising Temperatures Affect the Number of Mosquitoes in the Arctic

Lauren Culler, Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Dickey Center Arctic Fellow and Outreach Coordinator

Climate change is causing temperatures to rise in the Arctic and Lauren is studying how these changes in temperature affect mosquito emergence from freshwater ponds.

During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Lauren Culler counted the number of mosquitoes in several ponds near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, every few days and measured how many mosquitoes emerged from each pond. (See picture of individually wrapper mosquitoes.) She also used lab studies at Kangerlussuaq International Science Support to measure how temperature affects the number of days it takes a mosquito larva to grow into an adult.

So far, she has leaned that warmer temperatures are likely to increase the number of mosquitoes that emerge because the larvae grow much faster when it’s warmer and thus spend fewer days exposed to predators. She has also discovered that the amount of rainfall in the spring is a crucial factor because very dry weather leads to the death of mosquito larvae as their habitat dries.

How Climate Warming Alters Soil Carbon Content

Julia Bradley-Cook, Ph.D. Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Julia Bradley-Cook is studying how climate warming is altering the biological processes that control carbon flow through natural ecosystems. She investigates microbial decomposition in tundra soils where permafrost and cold soil temperatures have allowed for the buildup of large stores of carbon.

In 2011 and 2012, Julia collected samples from soil pits to measure soil carbon content across two spatial scales:  the local area near Kangerlussuaq and the regional area of western Greenland (Kangerlussuaq, Sisimiut, and Nuuk). She used a combination of field experiments and laboratory studies to measure how decomposition rates vary with moisture and temperature.

Soil organic carbon storage varies substantially at local and regional scales and she will soon be able to describe how the “quality” of carbon varies as well. This determines the biological availability of the carbon and how sensitive it is to warming.

Alden Adolph, Ph.D. Student

Engineering Sciences

Alden is studying how the Greenland Ice Sheet keeps records of historical atmospheric composition in the tiny bubbles of air trapped within the ice.

She focuses on understanding how the gases in the atmosphere travel through the snow and firn (snow that is more than one year old) so that we know how long the air has been trapped within the ice.

In 2007, Alden and her colleagues collected a firn core from Summit Station on the Greenland Ice Sheet and have since been studying how gas travels through the firn. The first step has been determining the best method to measure gas transport, which is important for correctly reconstructing the history of atmospheric composition and relating that to past temperature.

Once Alden and her colleagues understand the way that the earth has behaved in the past, they can hopefully improve predictions about what might happen with regards to future changes in the atmosphere, as well as the implications for the Greenland Ice Sheet, ecosystems, and people.

Helping Orphans in Korea

Kathleen Herring ’14, Holt International Children's Services

Kathleen did a Dickey Center internship at Holt International Children’s Services in South Korea. Holt helps orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children to thrive by finding them loving families.

The Republic of Korea Special Adoption Act, which went into effect in August of 2012, reduced the number of international adoptions and prioritized domestic adoption. All inter-country adoptions now require the approval of Korean’s Family Court. As a result, it is now harder for Holt to find families for the orphans.

Kathleen was based in Ilsan Town Center, which housed 270 residents. She provided schooling and therapy for the residents, which included many children with a disability. 

Kathleen is not sure how long it will take for domestic adoption in Korea to increase or for international adoption to be accepted so that more children can be placed with families. She believes change will only occur when society prioritizes the needs of the children over cultural differences and disparities in intellectual and physical capacity.

Shooting a Film in Chile on Women in Prison

Jenna van de Ruit '15, International Internship, Chile

While on a Dickey International Internship during Winter term 2014, Jenna van de Ruit ’15 filmed a documentary in Chile in collaboration with Fundación Mujer Levántate, an organization that provides halfway housing, job networking, and other services to inmates and ex-inmates.

Jenna originally planned to focus her documentary on the stories of three or four women living there. However, most of the women were working long hours during the week and Jenna was only allowed there during limited hours.

But Jenna managed to interview Raquel, an ex-inmate who had been out for five months but who also was the janitor of Fundación Mujer Levántate. Raquel poured out her story to Jenna, who recognized it was a compelling story that could stand on its own.

“I had never undertaken a project this challenging before,” says Jenna. “I was new at a language, in a foreign country, learning a technical skill while working with a topic of a difficult nature.”

Student Learns About Poverty Working on Microfinance in the Dominican Republic

by Elliot Sandborn ‘14, International Internship, Dominican Republic

I lived in the barrios of East Santo Domingo and worked at a Banco ADEMI, the largest private, for-profit microfinance bank in the Dominican Republic, and one of the largest and most successful microfinance banks in Latin America. I lived with a local Dominican friend, Sam, whom I had met in the summer of 2009 as a high school volunteer in rural community in San Juan, DR.

At ADEMI, I worked alongside loan officers, visiting clients and following up on loans. I did research on ADEMI's history, their model of microfinance, and tried to tap into what was it that made them so successful. Drawing on my experiences in the field with the loan officers, executive interviews and a 1997 World Bank case study on ADEMI, I compiled a 13,000-word report for the president of the bank that reflected on what I - and my informants - considered to be key aspects of the ADEMI model, including the continuity of leadership and vision the bank has experienced and the strong commitment to a "business-like approach" to service.

Kayaking Siberia's Lake Baikal to Evaluate the Effect of Climate Change

by Anna Gleizer ‘14, Stefansson Research Fellowship, Lake Baikal, Russia

During summer 2012, I became the youngest woman to kayak the circumference of Siberia’s Lake Baikal. The journey through Russia and into eastern Siberia took two weeks and the circumnavigation itself lasted 45 days, during which I collected hydrology data for an independent research project aimed at evaluating the effect of global climate change and localized anthropomorphic pollution on the quality of Baikal water.

Fieldwork in Denali National Park

by Sam Streeter '13, TH '14

Watch Sam's video about his work

During the spring-summer 2013 interim and continuing through the summer 2013 term, I performed research in the Dartmouth College Earth Sciences (EARS) Department as an engineering senior honors thesis student, Stefansson Research Fellow, and John Lindsley Fund grant recipient. The first portion of my experience involved fieldwork on the Kahiltna Glacier in the Alaska Range in Denali National Park, Alaska, and the second portion was laboratory-based in the Dartmouth EARS Department.

My research experience involved fieldwork with Professor Erich Osterberg and his team on the Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park. At the Kahiltna Glacier basecamp, I helped transport from the field all ice cores drilled on the slopes of nearby Mt. Hunter, helped setup a remote weather station on the Kahiltna Glacier, and helped organize, collapse, and transport research team supplies from the field.

Working with Grassroots Community Clinic in Rural Peru

by Sam Steeter '13, TH '14, International Internship, Peru, Sacred Valley Health

In addition to my academic interests in engineering, I have a long-term interest in global health and medicine in rural and under-resourced locations. In the spring of 2012, I undertook a Dickey Center internship in a small mountain community called Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Peru, with a newly formed, non-governmental, non-profit organization called Sacred Valley Health.

SVH provided mobile medical clinics in a number of communities throughout the Sacred Valley free of charge and was in the early stages of implementing a collaborative, grassroots community health workers education program in isolated Quechua villages throughout the Sacred Valley. My work involved organizing and processing remote community baseline health data from mobile clinics, which was eventually used in the training, monitoring and evaluation of the SVH community health workers education program.

Expanding Education in Nepal

by Wouther Zwart '14, International Internship, VillageTech Solutions, Nepal

I spent four wonderful months in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, with a small NGO called VillageTech Solutions. Their education project is an audio-visual teaching aid, which is aimed to improve both the method of teaching as well as to augment the teaching material available to Nepalese public schools.

During my time in Nepal, I collaborated with Nepalese universities, local start-ups, open source groups and companies to finalize the development of the project and to build a community of students, engineers and entrepreneurs in order to expand education methods in public schools.

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