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Lecture explores the ingenuity of Alaska's lemmings, voles

Submitted by Amy Hartley
Phone: 907-474-5823


A complex world resides beneath the snow. Alaska's lemmings and voles create intricate tunnel systems and stash food beneath the snow layer, providing a relatively cozy habitat that hovers at about zero degrees Fahrenheit all winter long. Mastering the subnivean environment--or the layer beneath the snow--is a survival technique that Alaska's minute mammals hone in order to endure the long, cold winters.

On Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., Ian van Tets will discuss how important lemming and vole populations are to larger predators, as well as the challenges these small mammals face in the wake of a warming climate. Van Tets, an associate professor of biology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, will present "Surviving Sub-Zero: The Ingenuity of Alaska's Lemmings and Voles" in the Westmark Gold Room. The lecture will be the sixth and final installment in the 2010 Science for Alaska Lecture Series.

Science for Alaska is sponsored by the Geophysical Institute, UAF and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

Hands-on activities for all ages begin at 6 p.m. inside the Gold Room. Families are welcome.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Ian van Tets, 907-786-4705, or afivt@uaa.alaska.edu. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.scienceforalaska.com