Selawik Refuge, in cooperation with other researchers and agencies, works to monitor wildlife populations and gain a better understanding of the natural systems within refuge habitats.
We have begun a broad-based ecological research program, focusing on understanding entire landscapes and ecosystems rather than single species. Climate change is already apparent in the Arctic, and is expected to lead to profound shifts in ecosystem dynamics. To prepare for this, we must advance our knowledge of the basic structure of our ecosystems, including nutrient and energy flows, food webs, soil and water chemistry, permafrost, and other landscape processes. Traditional wildlife monitoring can tell us how wildlife are affected by changes once they occur, but only a deep understanding of the ecosystem can help us anticipate change and monitor resources wisely.