Zoë Sobel, Alaska's Energy Desk - Unalaska

Zoë Sobel, Alaska's Energy Desk - Unalaska
Zoe Sobel is a reporter with Alaska's Energy Desk based in Unalaska. As a high schooler in Portland, Maine, Zoë Sobel got her first taste of public radio at NPR’s easternmost station. From there, she moved to Boston where she studied at Wellesley College and worked at WBUR, covering sports for Only A Game and the trial of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Scientists use new technology in studying fur seals

The fur seals on St. Paul Island are one of the most studied marine mammals on the planet. But there’s still a lot scientists don’t know. For the first time this year, scientists are using a device called a Saildrone to track down more information about the seals. Listen now

Alaska prepares for vessel disasters

Thousands of vessels every year move through Alaska's waters. If something goes awry, their cargo and fuel could end up in the ocean. Cleanup efforts for past groundings near Unalaska have proven difficult and costly.

As waters warm, Arctic fish populations change

A new report shows more fish are moving to Arctic waters. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management teamed up to create the inventory, which describes more than 100 species of fish found in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas — including 20 species new to the region.

New, 3-D maps to help monitor climate change effects

In Kotzebue a year ago, President Obama called for a publicly available high-resolution elevation map of Alaska. And today it’s here. The maps will help Alaskans monitor the effects of climate change.

Should Alaskans fear diseases frozen in the permafrost?

Russian officials say warming permafrost could be linked to a deadly anthrax outbreak in Siberia this month. Permafrost can be found almost everywhere in Alaska — from the Arctic coast to Anchorage. But at least one expert isn’t alarmed about the potential for thawing ground to bring old diseases back to life. Listen now

Several new species of snailfish discovered on Bering seafloor

While trawling the floor of the Bering Sea and the Aleutian region, scientists have discovered several new species of fish – snailfish. Some were only named last year. Researchers were not looking for them, the trawl was a part of a yearly stock assessment by the federal government that help set quotas for fisheries. Listen now

Plankton population and the power of pink salmon

After combing through data from the Aleutian Islands, a scientist has discovered an unexpected relationship between plankton and pink salmon. Although plankton might seem like an ecological afterthought, biological oceanographer Sonia Batten disagrees. She calls them the most important organisms in the ocean. Listen now

What killed St. Paul’s woolly mammoths?

What killed the woolly mammoths on St. Paul Island? Thirst. For the first time, scientists have pinpointed the date — 5,600 years ago — and a likely cause of extinction. They believe the environmental changes that killed the animals mirror today’s climate changes. Listen now

Shell returns to Unalaska

Shell is back in Unalaska. Dutch Harbor was a staging area for Shell’s unsuccessful search for oil in the Arctic Ocean last year. This week, three ships — the Aiviq, the Dino Chouest, and the Ross Chouest — associated with Shell’s Arctic efforts arrived in Unalaska on a mission to remove the last signs of that effort. Listen now

AK: YCC introduces Alaska kids to the Aleutians — and careers

What happens when five teenagers pile onto a research vessel and go island hopping through the Aleutians in the name of conservation? Science. Education. And maybe a peek into their futures. Listen now

Alaska Ocean Acidification Network seeks to inform public of ocean acidity

Climate change may get all the attention, but it has a less-talked-about but no less troubling twin: ocean acidification. And a growing chorus of Alaskans, from shellfish growers to fishermen, are fretting about the potential impacts to the state’s waters. Now a new collaboration is aiming to bring ocean acidification into the spotlight - with the hope that better understanding it will better prepare the state to adapt. Listen now

St. George takes steps to protect their marine environment

An island in the Pribilof’s is taking steps to protect the marine environment in their backyard. St. George's city council passed a resolution earlier this month that could establish a National Marine Sanctuary. Listen now

After decades of research, Steller sea lion decline still puzzles scientists

Every summer, biologists visit Alaska to count Steller sea lions. The western stock of the population has been in decline for nearly 40 years -- hitting a low in 2002. The count helps determine whether sea lions stay on the endangered species list, which puts costly restrictions on the commercial fishing fleet. Listen now

Karen Abel: Retracing her grandfather’s time in the Aleutians

For Karen Abel, what started as learning more about her grandfather has grown into sharing the story of World War Two’s Aleutian Island campaign. And it’s brought her over 6,000 miles from her home in Florida to see firsthand where he served 74 years ago.

Pavlof volcano is active again

Alaska’s most active volcano is at it again. This morning, scientists observed a steam plume at Pavlof volcano and increased seismic activity. And they’ve raised the volcano alert level from “normal” to “advisory”.

Japanese kayakers paddle Aleutian chain

Cold Bay to Unalaska is nearly 200 miles. By plane, it takes about an hour. By kayak, it's nearly a month. Akio Shinya made the trip -- with three others -- in 24 days. Download Audio

Dr. Neal Hitch will lead Museum of The Aleutians

Dr. Neal Hitch is The Museum of The Aleutians new executive director. The museum’s board of directors unanimously offered him the position last month. And he just signed his contract to begin work on August 15. Download Audio

49 Voices: Onya Enkhbat of Unalaska

This week we’re hearing from Purevdulam “Onya” Enkhbat. She recently graduated from Unalaska High School where she was valedictorian. Download Audio

Three die in deadly car crash in Atka

Three people have died and six more are injured after a passenger van rolled-over in Atka Tuesday night. Alaska State Troopers say they learned of the single vehicle crash just after 6 p.m. Download Audio

PenAir faces complications getting Saab 2000’s off the ground

PenAir’s new planes arrived in Unalaska last month with the promise of faster service. But as of Tuesday, about 100 people were on the standby list waiting for flights. Download Audio