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Kolyma River - Polaris Project

Led by the Woods Hole Research Center, other participating institutions include Carleton College, Clark University, Holy Cross College, St. Olaf College, University of Nevada -- Reno, Western Washington University, and Yakustk State University.

Begun in 2008, the Polaris Project offers participants a 3-week field course in the Siberian Arctic. While there, the students and scientists were based at the Northeast Science Station, which is located approximately 80 kilometers south of the Arctic Ocean on the Kolyma River, near Cherskiy. The participants stayed on a 30-meter barge that served as a mobile base for field trips up and down the river.

Andy Bunn, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at WWU, presents "The Polaris Project: A barge, twenty bunks, and a river at the top of the world," discussing his work in the Siberian Arctic with undergraduates from eight American and Russian universities.

The project's guiding scientific theme is the transport and transformations of carbon and nutrients as they move along the Kolyma River from terrestrial uplands to the Arctic Ocean. This is a central scientific issue as scientists struggle to understand a rapidly changing Arctic. Bunn discusses the involvement of WWU undergraduates during the past two summers and describe some of their scientific achievements and cultural experiences.

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