John Ziker, professor of and chair of the anthropology department is a principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant titled Navigating the New Arctic Research: Collaborative Research: Interactions of natural and social systems with climate change, globalization, and infrastructure development in the Arctic. Ziker is one of three lead PIs and is heading the human subjects research for the project which includes 28 scholars.
The goal of this five-year project is to understand the natural, social, and built environment systems within a tundra region are linked in their responses to stressors. This project examines how:
- Tall vegetation impacts animals and reindeer herders, and feedback mechanisms conditioned on human activities;
- Changing snowpack influences food webs and animal population dynamics, and alters decision-making by reindeer herders and other stakeholders;
- The built environment affects the reindeer herding system, as well as interactions between industrial workers and indigenous people and perceptions of the environment by these groups; and
- Reindeer management, social institutions, and markets for reindeer products affect community resilience, indigenous traditions and practices, and landscape structure.