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Creators/Authors contains: "Albeke, Shannon E."

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  1. Abstract

    The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 created a path of totality ~115 km in width across the United States. While eclipse observations have shown distinct responses in animal behavior often emulating nocturnal behavior, the influence of eclipses on plant physiology are less understood. We investigated physiological perturbations due to rapid changes of sunlight and air temperature in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentatassp.vaseyana), a desert shrub common within the path of eclipse totality. Leaf gas exchange, water potential, and chlorophyllafluorescence were monitored during the eclipse and compared to responses obtained the day before in absence of the eclipse. On the day of the eclipse, air temperature decreased by 6.4 °C, coupled with a 1.0 kPa drop in vapor pressure deficit having a 9-minute lag following totality. Using chlorophyllafluorescence measurements, we found photosynthetic efficiency of photosystem II (Fv’/Fm’) recovered to near dark acclimated state (i.e., 87%), but the short duration of darkness did not allow for complete recovery. Gas exchange data and a simple light response model were used to estimate a 14% reduction in carbon assimilation for one day over sagebrush dominated areas within the path of totality for the Western United States.

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  2. Abstract

    Recent reductions in thickness and extent have increased drift rates of Arctic sea ice. Increased ice drift could significantly affect the movements and the energy balance of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which forage, nearly exclusively, on this substrate. We used radio‐tracking and ice drift data to quantify the influence of increased drift on bear movements, and we modeled the consequences for energy demands of adult females in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas during two periods with different sea ice characteristics. Westward and northward drift of the sea ice used by polar bears in both regions increased between 1987–1998 and 1999–2013. To remain within their home ranges, polar bears responded to the higher westward ice drift with greater eastward movements, while their movements north in the spring and south in fall were frequently aided by ice motion. To compensate for more rapid westward ice drift in recent years, polar bears covered greater daily distances either by increasing their time spent active (7.6%–9.6%) or by increasing their travel speed (8.5%–8.9%). This increased their calculated annual energy expenditure by 1.8%–3.6% (depending on region and reproductive status), a cost that could be met by capturing an additional 1–3 seals/year. Polar bears selected similar habitats in both periods, indicating that faster drift did not alter habitat preferences. Compounding reduced foraging opportunities that result from habitat loss; changes in ice drift, and associated activity increases, likely exacerbate the physiological stress experienced by polar bears in a warming Arctic.

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