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Stan Boutin has climbed more than 5,000 spruce trees in the last 30 years. He’s fallen only once, and he has often returned to the forest floor knowing if a ball of twigs and moss contained newborn red squirrel pups. Over the years, those squirrels have taught Boutin and his colleagues many things, including their apparent ability to predict the future.

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Heidi Rader describes the new Grow & Tell app and website she developed as “essentially Yelp for gardeners.” The free app, which was released today, allows gardeners in the United States see what vegetable varieties grow best in their areas based on what other gardeners say.

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Sarah Black recently came to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to create Martian rocks, and is now back in Colorado destroying them. No, it’s not out of frustration. The doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder is conducting an experiment that will help scientists determine if suspected hot spots for potential life on Mars were truly once hot spots.

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With dogs’ breath fogging the 30-below-zero air at their knees, 71 Iditarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fairbanks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in a one-mile stretch of open water. You might think the mallards that did not migrate from the sub-Arctic in fall would be skinny and weak, but a UAF graduate student found the Fairbanks ducks have the highest midwinter body mass of just about any mallards in North America.

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Are we living in a warm peak between ice ages?

As another major rainstorm hit California in February, downtown San Francisco surpassed its normal rain total for an entire year. Reservoirs in the high country were spilling over. So ended a five-year drought in the state that some people attributed to human-caused climate change. Those pictures of dried-up California lakes bothered Syun-Ichi Akasofu, who recently gave a talk “The Forthcoming Ice Age” at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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A landmark antenna at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be removed and replaced by a similar one during spring break week in March 2017. After more than 25 years of service, the pale blue antenna dish on the roof of the Elvey Building will retire. In the 10-meter dish’s place will go a 9-meter antenna that will be colored Nanook blue.

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In early March up on the frozen Arctic Coastal Plain, as the wind sculpts snow into drifts, it’s hard to tell northern lakes from surrounding tundra. But lurking deep beneath that flat white world are toothy predators as long as your arm.

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A 20-year effort by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers to monitor the northern Gulf of Alaska’s animals and environmental markers will soon expand. The National Science Foundation has designated the northern gulf as a Long-Term Ecological Research site and will provide grant money for future science in the area.

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