A young girl participates in a traditional blanket toss, part of the spring whaling festival in Barrow, Alaska. She is a member of one of the more than 40 ethnic groups living in the Arctic. Since these groups depend heavily on the region’s natural resources, research exploring the interplay of weather conditions, humans and existing resources is critical to the Arctic’s future. Through genetic studies, researchers are obtaining more accurate estimates of historical migrations within Asia and between Asia and the Americas. These studies are also providing data on the genetic adaptations responsible for human resistance to extremely low temperatures. Other studies are examining the intimate connections between whaling communities and the environment, and how a changing landscape may affect this activity so intricately tied to the region’s native populations.
Visit Website | Image credit: Elizabeth Eubanks (PolarTREC 2008), courtesy of Arctic Research Consortium of the United States