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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT & STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE
Doing Business As Name:University of Vermont & State Agricultural College
PD/PI:
  • Paul R Bierman
  • (802) 656-4411
  • pbierman@uvm.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Andrew J Christ
  • Nicolas Perdrial
Award Date:06/24/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 365,859
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 365,859
  • FY 2021=$365,859
Start Date:07/01/2021
End Date:06/30/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.078
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: A fossil ecosystem under the ice: deciphering the glacial and vegetation history of northwest Greenland using long-lost Camp Century basal sediment
Federal Award ID Number:2114629
DUNS ID:066811191
Parent DUNS ID:066811191
Program:ANS-Arctic Natural Sciences
Program Officer:
  • Marc Stieglitz
  • (703) 292-4354
  • mstiegli@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:85 South Prospect Street
City:Burlington
State:VT
ZIP:05405-0160
County:Burlington
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Vermont & State Agricultural College
Street:85 South Prospect Street
City:Burlington
State:VT
ZIP:05405-0160
County:Burlington
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Climate warming is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet and contributing to global sea level rise. In order to understand how the Greenland Ice Sheet will behave in the future, we will look to the geologic past. Material recovered from the bottom of ice cores, such as sediment and bedrock, can contain evidence about the ecosystems and landscapes from past ice-free times in Greenland. Drilled through nearly 1400 m of ice during the 1960s, the Camp Century ice core recovered ~3.5 m of frozen sediment at its base that was lost for several decades in a freezer. In this project, we will conduct a comprehensive study of the sediment at the bottom of this ice core. We will use laboratory analyses to determine when and how many times the Greenland Ice Sheet melted in the past, to study the types of ecosystems that thrived during those times, and to understand how the ice sheet erodes the landscape. This new information will allow us to better understand how Greenland Ice Sheet responds to warming and its potential contribution to sea-level rise, as well as understand what types of ecosystems develop in Greenland when ice melts away. Our team includes a filmmaker who will engage with media outlets to tell a story about how ground-breaking research, both in the 1960s and today, has advanced our understanding of Earth’s climate and its polar regions. Along with videos, websites, and social media, we will develop K-12 curricula that tell the story of Camp Century and teach the process of scientific research. In order to understand how the Greenland Ice Sheet may respond to future climate warming, we look to the geologic past. Material recovered from the bottom of ice cores, such as sediment and bedrock, contains information from past times when the ice sheet was smaller and sea level was higher. In northwestern Greenland, the Camp Century ice core was drilled through 1400 m of ice and recovered ~3.5 m of frozen sediment at its base; however, this sediment was not fully studied and then misplaced for decades in a freezer. In this international collaborative project, we will conduct a comprehensive study of the sediment at the bottom of the Camp Century ice core by applying a range of biologic, isotopic, and geochemical analyses along a depth profile in the sediment. We will use a wide range of analyses to determine the timing and number of ice-free events in northwest Greenland, to fully characterize the ecosystems that emerged during those times, and to understand the erosional processes operating at the base of ice sheets. The new information will allow us to better understand the sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet to climate warming, as well as what types of ecosystems may develop in Greenland as ice melts away. Our work will be a blueprint for future analyses of sediments recovered from beneath ice sheets. The climate information extracted from this ice core tells the exciting history of climate change and climate science over 50+ years. Our team includes a filmmaker who will engage with media outlets to tell a story about how ground-breaking research, both in the 1960s and today, has advanced our understanding of Earth’s climate and its polar regions, and to show the utility of science to society. Along with videos, websites, and social media, we will develop K-12 curricula that tell the story of Camp Century and teach the process of interdisciplinary science. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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