2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:35 AM


ROOF, Steven, School of Natural Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002 and WERNER, Al, Department of Earth and Environment, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075, sroof@hampshire.edu

The Svalbard REU program provides research opportunities for undergraduate students in arctic Quaternary geology and climate change science. The Svalbard archipelago lies at the northern end of the warm Gulf Stream current and is sensitive to subtle climate changes. The Arctic is an area of active research because it is particularly sensitive to climate change and because climatically-induced changes in this region can instigate further changes of global consequences. Svalbard has warmed considerably during the last 90 years and climate proxies indicate even greater Holocene climate change. Despite this, little is known of sub-century climate change variability in this arctic region. In our program, undergraduate students are researching glaciolacustrine and glaciomarine systems on Svalbard in order to establish linkages between climate, glacier health, sediment transport, and lake and fjord sedimentation.

Our student participants are chosen from an application pool built from extensive advertising in print and online outlets, and presentations at geoscience meetings. We seek students participants with success in completing independent projects, sufficient geoscience background, and evidence of high motivation in their academic activities. We also require strong home academic advisors who will guide the student through the academic year following our fieldwork. All of our first year's participants in 2004 successfully completed senior theses or independent projects based on their Svalbard research projects and presented their results at professional meetings. A highlight of the year was a reunion at the Northeast GSA meeting where the 2004 participants shared results with the recently selected 2005 student participants. All 2004 participants are either continuing Arctic Quaternary geology studies in graduate school or are working for arctic researchers.

A key feature leading to the success of our field program is tight logistics and research objectives integration with UNIS (the University Centre on Svalbard). We work closely with UNIS faculty and international UNIS students during our planning and summer fieldwork. We will share our experiences leading a popular and successful international geoscience REU program and provide a status report from the 2005 field research season.