University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Anchorage, AK, United States
Recent publications
For more than 50 years, government programmes in the USA have been in place to help those in need have consistent access to food and education. However, questions have surfaced regarding whether or not these support impact traditional ways, such as cultural activities, food preferences, and overall health, particularly for Indigenous populations. In this paper, we share insights voiced by Alaska Native Elders in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Alaska and their perceptions of regulations, assistance, and the impact government assistance programmes have had on their culture. Elders raised concerns so that those administering these programmes will consider how best to meet food security and education needs without interfering with Indigenous cultural practices and traditional lifestyle.
In the spring of 2020, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) designed and built a sanitizing 23 treatment system to help address shortages of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). The design criteria 24 included sanitizing large numbers of FFRs for use in small rural hospitals; repeatedly achieving FFR fit 25 test requirements, and deactivating enveloped respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. The outcome 26 was the Mobile Sanitizing Trailer (MST), a 20 by 8-foot modified trailer designed to process up to 1,000 27 FFRs during a standard heat cycle. This paper reports on the MST’s ability to: 1) sustain a target 28 temperature of 75 degrees Celsius, 2) produce tolerable conditions for FFRs as measured by fit factor, 29 and 3) successfully deactivate an infectious model virus. We found that the MST reliably and uniformly 30 produced 75 degrees in the treatment chamber for the prescribed periods. Quantitative analysis showed 31 that the FFRs achieved acceptable post-treatment fit factor even after 18, 60-minute heat cycles. Finally, 32 the treated FFR materials had at least a log 3.0 reduction in viral RNA and no viable virus after 30, 60, or 33 90 minutes of heat treatment. As a sanitizing treatment during supply shortages, we found the MST a 34 viable option for deactivation of virus and extending the usable life of FFRs.
Are natural resources a curse or a blessing? The answer may depend on how natural wealth is managed. By transforming a temporary windfall into a permanent stock in the form of a sovereign wealth fund, resource-rich economies can avoid volatility and Dutch disease effects, save for future generations, and invest locally. We review the theory behind these resource funds and explore the empirical evidence for their success. Our review is complemented by case studies that highlight some of the moresnuanced features, behaviord, and effects of resource funds. While the theoretical research highlights the situational success of funds, empirical examinations are minimal. We discuss possible reasons for this gap in the literature and, in doing so, highlight some of the challenges associated with empirical research in this area and discuss possible paths forward. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Resource Economics, Volume 14 is October 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
This paper investigates the potential demand for improved bus service quality in India using the stated preference method. This paper evaluates the effect of passengers’ socio-economic characteristics on their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for improved bus services by focusing on tradeoffs concerning the improvements to passengers’ in-vehicle travel time and comfort level. The paper further compares more preferred improvements among the bus passengers between in-vehicle travel time and comfort level. The paper uses the ordered logit model to analyze decisive factors affecting the opinion of passengers’ WTP for various improvement scenarios. Travel time, fare per trip, family monthly income, motor vehicle ownership, and age are found to be statistically significant to estimate the mean WTP. The results show that users consider the service quality of the public transportation system to be poor and are willing to pay for improved service qualities. As an exciting result, the collected data suggest that passengers are not willing to pay the same level towards improvements in travel time.
Disability providers serve an important role in supporting the socio-sexual health and enabling the associated opportunities of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This study examined disability providers’ previous training, perceptions of barriers, and training needs to support the sexual well-being of individuals with IDD. In total, 263 disability professionals in Alaska, Kentucky, and Wyoming completed online surveys. Nearly all providers endorsed that people with IDD need training and support for sexual health. However, almost a third had not received training to address people’s sexual health. Further, less than half of professionals had received any training from their agencies. The highest-rated barrier across all providers involved insufficient training. Professionals’ perceptions of barriers differed based on whether they had received training for a given topic, with those who had received training rating the barrier as lower. In considering what topics should be included in trainings for staff, a majority of providers endorsed all topics included by the authors. Some associations were detected between whether providers desired certain training topics and their agreement with specific barriers. Providers’ responses highlight the pressing need for policy and training to support the sexual rights and autonomy of people with IDD. Specific recommendations for training content and format are provided.
Objective To assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of veterinary personnel and pet owners regarding ticks and tick-borne diseases in Alaska and to conduct a serosurvey for tick-borne disease pathogens among domestic animals visiting veterinary clinics for preventative care. Sample Across 8 veterinary clinics, we sampled 31 veterinary personnel, 81 pet owners, 102 client-owned dogs, and 1 client-owned cat. Procedures Information on KAP among veterinary staff and pet owners was collected via self-administered questionnaires. Tick and tick-borne disease prevalence were assessed via tick checks and benchtop ELISA antibody tests detecting Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Erlichia canis, Erlichia ewingii , and Borrelia burgdorferi . Results The veterinary personnel KAP survey showed a low average knowledge score (53.5%) but a moderate attitude score (71.7%). In contrast, owner average knowledge score was higher (67.5%) and attitude score was comparatively low (50.6%). Both veterinary personnel and owners had low average practice scores (64.5% and 56.3%, respectively). One dog was positive for anaplasmosis (unknown species) antibody, and 1 dog was positive for B burgdorferi antibody. No ticks were found during the study. Clinical Relevance This study was the first of its kind in the state and indicated a low prevalence of ticks and tick-borne diseases in the domestic pet population and highlighted significant knowledge gaps that could be targeted by public health efforts. Our results suggest the value of a One Health approach and of the veterinary-client relationship to address ticks and tick-borne diseases.
The profound impacts that maternal provisioning of finite energy resources has on offspring survival have been extensively studied across mammals. This study shows that in addition to calories, high hemoprotein concentrations in diving mammals necessitates exceptional female-to-pup iron transfer. Numerous indices of iron mobilization (ferritin, serum iron, total-iron-binding-capacity, transferrin saturation) were significantly elevated during lactation in adult female Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii), but not in skip-breeders. Iron was mobilized from endogenous stores for incorporation into the Weddell seal’s milk at concentrations up to 100× higher than terrestrial mammals. Such high rates of iron offload to offspring drew from the female’s own heme stores and led to compromised physiologic dive capacities (hemoglobin, myoglobin, and total body oxygen stores) after weaning their pups, which was further reflected in shorter dive durations. We demonstrate that lactational iron transfer shapes physiologic dive thresholds, identifying a cost of reproduction to a marine mammal.
The complete genome of Erysipelothrix sp. strain Poltava, isolated from fatal acute septic erysipelas of swine in Ukraine, was assembled using Nanopore sequences. One circular chromosome of 1,794,858 bp ( N 50 , 1,794,858 bp) encodes 16 putative antibiotic resistance genes and secreted virulence factors, highlighting the risk of cross-species livestock and human infection.
We explore how three parties bargain over a windfall created by a development project given negative spillover on only one party's property. We compare how weak and strong property rights affect negotiation outcomes and fairness. With strong property rights, parties secure equal payment. With weak rights, parties reimburse costs and divide surplus so the developer is simply indifferent, nothing more. These results are meaningful for Indigenous in Canada: without strong property rights, the Crown's duty to consult may still yield dissatisfaction because of improper compensation.
Understanding changes in substance use in a small population state is challenging. Many national datasets restrict data to reduce the probability of identifying persons. Alaska is a small population state (731,000 residents) with a large geographic region (25% the size of the lower 48), a diverse population, and highly variable seasons, with fewer than 10% of the state being road accessible. Given the uniqueness of Alaska, this project sought to understand what could be learned about addiction and its relationships with unemployment and median income in Alaska. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, State and Small Area Estimates (1999–2020) data were analyzed to measure prevalence changes. Outcome prevalence were independently correlated with median income and annual unemployment rate as the annual collection periods varied. Analyses were limited to simple bivariate analyses due to the data restrictions. Median income was found to have stronger correlational relationships and significant relationships with more negative outcomes compared to unemployment. While annual unemployment rates had statistically significant relationships with substance use outcomes, negative mental health outcomes appeared more related to unemployment than median income. Alcohol use in the past month, cigarette and tobacco use, and pain reliever misuse declined while binge drinking in the past month and illicit drug use increased. More people reported depression, serious mental illness, and suicidal ideation and planning over time peaking in the last year of data collection. While NSDUH data provide some idea of the changes in drug use over time, their effectiveness in Alaska is unknown. Many data sources claim they are nationally representative, but these statements cannot be objectively measured. We will use these outcomes and data as a baseline for future studies where we will explore state specific data sources.
In 2001, New Zealand substantially modified its approach to implementation of the Quota Management System to make deemed values a central administrative tool. Catches in excess of a fisher’s annual catch entitlements (ACE) incur payments, called deemed values. Deemed values are an example of a price cap tool within a cap-and-trade regulatory system. The purpose of this paper is to develop four economic explanations for why deemed values may improve administration of individual transferable quota systems. First, deemed values can reduce transactions costs for catch balancing for both industry and government. Second, deemed values can provide liquidity in thin markets and improve the functioning of markets for ACE. Third, deemed values can reduce the incentives for discarding. These three administrative advantages are achieved because deemed values provide simpler administrative processes and because deemed values provide the industry greater flexibility in catch balancing. But the flexibility to land against deemed values carries the risk that deemed values could intentionally be set so low that intentional over-quota catches are incentivized. Fourth, differential deemed values can create an increasing marginal cost of overfishing incentive structure for harvesters.
Purpose Prior cancer research is limited by inconsistencies in defining rurality. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of cancer risk factors and cancer screening behaviors across various county-based rural classification codes, including measures reflecting a continuum, to inform our understanding of cancer disparities according to the extent of rurality. Methods Using an ecological cross-sectional design, we examined differences in cancer risk factors and cancer screening behaviors from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and National Health Interview Survey (2008–2013) across rural counties and between rural and urban counties using four rural–urban classification codes for counties and county-equivalents in 2013: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, National Center for Health Statistics, USDA Economic Research Service’s rural–urban continuum codes, and Urban Influence Codes. Results Although a rural-to-urban gradient was not consistently evident across all classification codes, the prevalence of smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and binge alcohol use increased (all ptrend < 0.03), while colorectal, cervical and breast cancer screening decreased (all ptrend < 0.001) with increasing rurality. Differences in the prevalence of risk factors and screening behaviors across rural areas were greater than differences between rural and urban counties for obesity (2.4% vs. 1.5%), physical activity (2.9% vs. 2.5%), binge alcohol use (3.4% vs. 0.4%), cervical cancer screening (6.8% vs. 4.0%), and colorectal cancer screening (4.4% vs. 3.8%). Conclusions Rural cancer disparities persist across multiple rural–urban classification codes, with marked variation in cancer risk factors and screening evident within rural regions. Focusing only on a rural–urban dichotomy may not sufficiently capture subpopulations of rural residents at greater risk for cancer and cancer-related mortality.
Harmful algal blooms produce biotoxins that can injure or kill fish, wildlife, and humans. These blooms occur naturally but have intensified in many locations globally due to recent climatic changes, including ocean warming. Such changes are especially pronounced in northern regions, where the effects of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) on marine wildlife are of growing concern. In Alaska, seabird mortality events have increased in frequency, magnitude, and duration since 2015 alongside anomalously high ocean temperatures. Although starvation has been implicated as the apparent cause of death in many of these die-offs, saxitoxin (STX) and other PSTs have been identified as possible contributing factors. Here, we describe a mortality event at a nesting colony of Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) near Juneau, Alaska in 2019 and report elevated concentrations of PSTs in bird, forage fish, and mussel samples. Concentrations of STX and other PSTs in tern tissues (2.5–51.2 µg 100g⁻¹ STX-equivalents [STX-eq]) were of similar magnitude to those reported from other PST-induced bird die-offs. We documented high PST concentrations in blue mussels (>11,000 µg 100g⁻¹ STX-eq; Mytilus edulis spp.) collected from nearby beaches, as well as in forage fish (up to 494 µg 100g⁻¹ STX-eq) retrieved from Arctic Tern nests, thereby providing direct evidence of PST exposure via the terns’ prey. At maximum concentrations measured in this study, a single 5 g Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus) could exceed the median lethal STX dose (LD50) currently estimated for birds, offering strong support for PSTs as a likely source of tern mortality. In addition to describing this localized bird mortality event, we used existing energetics data from adult and nestling Arctic Terns to calculate estimated cumulative daily PST exposure based on ecologically relevant concentrations in forage fish. Our estimates revealed potentially lethal levels of PST exposure even at relatively low (≤30 ug 100g⁻¹ STX-eq) toxin concentrations in prey. These findings suggest that PSTs present a significant hazard to Arctic Terns and other northern seabirds and should be included in future investigations of avian mortality events as well as assessments of population health.
The Pacific Arctic region has experienced, and is projected to continue experiencing, rapid climate change. Large uncertainties exist in our understanding of the impact these physical changes have on the region’s ecology. This is, in part, due to the lack of long-term data. Here we investigate bivalve mollusc growth increment width chronologies (sclerochronologies) to develop a long-term biological data series in an Arctic species and address the hypothesis that benthic production in the Pacific Arctic region is in decline with implications for predators (e.g., walrus, whales, seals, and sea ducks). Growth increments formed in the shells of two bivalve mollusc species, Astarte borealis and Liocyma fluctuosa, were examined using conventional sclerochronological techniques. The A. borealis and L. fluctuosa samples exhibited measured longevities of >148 and >18 years, respectively, in the coastal waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Dendrochronology crossdating techniques facilitated the development of two robust (expressed population signal >0.85) independent growth increment width chronologies. These chronologies provide evidence of the growth conditions through time for each species (1985-2015 for A. borealis and 1997-2014 for L. fluctuosa). Linear regression analyses identified that both species grew more rapidly in years with warmer sea surface temperature and lower sea ice concentration. The results provide evidence that benthic ecosystems are benefiting from the warmer conditions and reduced sea ice that have accompanied recent Arctic climate trends. This result is encouraging for benthic predators in the eastern Chukchi Sea as it alleviates the concern that their benthic prey has already become food limited by weakened pelagic-benthic coupling. More broadly, this initial A. borealis chronology is among the longest biological data series for any Arctic species and highlights the feasibility of multicentennial biological data for the Arctic.
Surface and subsurface moored buoy, ship-based, remotely sensed, and reanalysis datasets are used to investigate thermal variability of northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA) nearshore, coastal, and offshore waters over synoptic to century-long time scales. NGA sea surface temperature (SST) showed a larger positive trend of 0.22 ± 0.10 °C per decade over 1970–2021 compared to 0.10 ± 0.03 °C per decade over 1900–2021. Over synoptic time scales, SST covariance between two stations is small (<10%) when separation exceeds 100 km, while stations separated by 500 km retain 50% of their co-variability for seasonal and longer fluctuations. Relative to in situ sensor data, remotely sensed SST data has limited accuracy in some NGA settings, capturing 60–70% of the daily SST anomaly in coastal and offshore waters, but often <25% nearshore. North Pacific and NGA leading modes of SST variability leave 25–50% of monthly variance unresolved. Analysis of the 2014–2016 Pacific marine heatwave shows that NGA coastal surface temperatures warmed contemporaneously with offshore waters through 2013, but deep inner shelf waters (200–250 m) exhibited delayed warming. Offshore surface waters cooled from 2014-2016, while shelf waters continued to warm from the combined effects of local air-sea and advective heat fluxes. We find that annually averaged Sitka air temperature is a leading predictor (r² = 0.37, p < 0.05) for following-year NGA coastal water column temperature. Our results can inform future environmental monitoring designs, assist forward-looking projections of marine conditions, and show the importance of in situ measurements for nearshore studies that require knowledge of thermal conditions over time scales of days and weeks.
Tephra is a unique volcanic product with an unparalleled role in understanding past eruptions, long-term behavior of volcanoes, and the effects of volcanism on climate and the environment. Tephra deposits also provide spatially widespread, high-resolution time-stratigraphic markers across a range of sedimentary settings and thus are used in numerous disciplines (e.g., volcanology, climate science, archaeology). Nonetheless, the study of tephra deposits is challenged by a lack of standardization that inhibits data integration across geographic regions and disciplines. We present comprehensive recommendations for tephra data gathering and reporting that were developed by the tephra science community to guide future investigators and to ensure that sufficient data are gathered for interoperability. Recommendations include standardized field and laboratory data collection, reporting and correlation guidance. These are organized as tabulated lists of key metadata with their definition and purpose. They are system independent and usable for template, tool, and database development. This standardized framework promotes consistent documentation and archiving, fosters interdisciplinary communication, and improves effectiveness of data sharing among diverse communities of researchers.
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1,814 members
Rhonda M. Johnson
  • Department of Health Sciences
Brendan James Babb
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Vivian M Gonzalez
  • Department of Psychology
John R. Nofsinger
  • Department of Accounting and Finance
John M Kennish
  • Department of Chemistry
3211 Providence Drive, 99508, Anchorage, AK, United States