Andrew Balser joined the Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL in 2014 working on landscape to regional-scale questions in arctic permafrost degradation, ecological associations among permafrost and terrain properties, and permafrost carbon feedbacks to climate. Current projects also include updated land cover mapping and decadal-scale change detection on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.
Research interests include terrain suitability for thermokarst processes, regional-scale changes in permafrost- related ecological processes and land cover, and linking permafrost cryostructure and ground ice distribution with surficial geology, geomorphology, and vegetation.
Prior to joining CCSI, Balser pursued research in arctic and boreal ecology with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1994-2014) and the US Forest Service (1993-1995) in Fairbanks, Alaska. Balser received his B.A. in Northern Studies/Geography from Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT in 1993, and worked closely with Dr. Steven B. Young and Dr. William G. Howland. He went on to earn an M.S. in Natural Resources Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1996) under Dr. David L. Verbyla, examining boreal wetland ecology using optical and SAR remote sensing techniques. He worked on arctic ecology at The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Toolik Field Station, on Alaska’s north slope, developing a Remote Sensing and GIS program for the field station and community of roughly 300 U.S. and international researchers, and engaging in collaborative research projects working closely with Dr. Donald A. Walker (UAF), Dr. W. Breck Bowden (UVM), and others. Balser went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2015) under Dr. Jeremy B. Jones as part of the ARCSS-Thermokarst Project (NSF), examining permafrost thermo-degradation and related ecology in the central and western Brooks Range of northern Alaska.