KUCB KIAL Unalaska Community Broadcasting

Science & Environment

Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.

Dave Schneider/Alaska Volcano Observatory & U.S. Geological Survey

 

To the untrained ear, volcanic thunder sounds like the rumble of a plane engine or a distant river. But scientists are really excited about the low hum, clicks and pops that were recorded during a March 2017 eruption at Bogoslof volcano.

Zoë Sobel/KUCB

 

In Unalaska, it can cost more than $500 a month to heat a typical home in the winter. Because the treeless island is 1,000 miles from Anchorage, everything is shipped in — including heating oil. It’s the source of heat for the vast majority of houses in the city.

Unalaska resident Travis Swangel heats his small home on the island with a Toyo stove.

The Cost of Cold is a series from Alaska’s Energy Desk about how Alaskans around the state heat their homes. Reporter Zoe Sobel produced this story.

Courtesy of Alaska SeaLife Center

After admitting a sick ringed seal from Unalaska, veterinarians at the Alaska SeaLife Center are cautiously optimistic about his chances for recovery.

The male seal was found earlier this month, lying on a rusty pipe on the beach.

In addition to being far outside his natural habitat, he was underweight, balding, and lethargic.

"Although this seal has a laundry list of health issues, his feisty demeanor shows promise," said Dr. Kathy Woodie of the SeaLife Center.

The seal is now receiving 24-hour care in Seward for dehydration, malnourishment, and parasites.

Kristin Cieciel/NOAA

 

Do jellyfish affect Bering Sea fisheries? And if so, how?

That’s what Yale University’s Jonathan Rutter wants to find out. The college senior is conducting a survey to learn more about the gelatinous creatures directly from fishermen.

 

“What are these impacts that jellyfish have on Bering Sea fisheries?" Rutter said. "And those impacts could be economic- or nuisance-based. I’m going in it with a pretty open mind.”

 

Courtesy of Melissa Good

 

In the past year, two ice seals have turned up in Unalaska — way outside their natural range. The first was spotted in late February 2017 and less than a year later another was photographed near town.

SeaGrant's Melissa Good says ringed seals don’t belong in Unalaska.

“Ringed seals are ice associated seals so they live and kind of work around the ice,” she said. “They want to haul out on the ice for pupping, molting, and resting.”

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