Four 8th graders touching, smelling, and learning about permafrost.

Angevine Middle School students visit INSTAAR for hands-on science

April 21, 2022

200 students from Angevine Middle School criss-crossed INSTAAR space this morning, engaging in hands-on science activities. Students touched and smelled permafrost, looked at algae through microscopes, tested water pollution in local streams, investigated soil texture, learned about chickadees, and checked out weather and climate measurements in fast-paced, hands-on activities.

Aerial view of SEEC and East Campus, with mountains in background

2022 Research & Innovation Office Faculty Fellows cohort unveiled (RIO)

Nov. 19, 2021

RIO Fellows include INSTAAR biogeochemist Julio Sepúlveda.

Photo of Julio Sepulveda

Earth scientist to use NSF award to dive deep into oceanic change (Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine)

Nov. 2, 2021

The health of the ocean is fundamental to life on the planet—yet much remains unknown about how the ocean and marine life will cope with a rapidly changing climate. An award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help Julio Sepúlveda start solving that crucial puzzle.

Dwarf birch growing in northern Qikiqtaaluuk, Baffin Island

Ancient plant DNA and pollen found under Baffin Island lake show a greener Arctic (ArcticToday)

April 8, 2021

The snowy landscape of the Arctic was greener more than 100,000 years ago and could get there again as the climate warms and plants migrate further north, new research suggests. Plant DNA taken from soil 10 meters below a lake near Clyde River shows dwarf birch shrubs used to grow up to the northernmost point of Baffin Island, according to research led by Sarah Crump, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The samples, more than 100,000 years old, were found in soil and were more intact than samples from permafrost, suggesting they may have remained unfrozen.

Dwarf birch growing in northern Qikiqtaaluuk, Baffin Island

Arctic was once lush and green, could be again, new research shows (CU Boulder Today)

March 17, 2021

Imagine not a white, but a green Arctic, with woody shrubs as far north as the Canadian coast of the Arctic Ocean. This is what the northernmost region of North America looked like about 125,000 years ago, during the last interglacial period, finds new research from CU Boulder led by Sarah Crump. Researchers analyzed plant DNA more than 100,000 years old retrieved from lake sediment in the Arctic and found evidence of a past ecosystem. As the Arctic warms much faster than everywhere else on the planet in response to climate change, the findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may not only be a glimpse of the past but a snapshot of our potential future.

A rock outcrop in Grand Staircase National Monument in southern Utah.

Someday, even wet forests could burn due to climate change (CU Boulder Today)

Sept. 30, 2020

Millions of years ago, fire swept across the planet, fueled by an oxygen-rich atmosphere in which even wet forests burned, according to new research by new PhD graduate F. Garrett Boudinot and Julio Sepúlveda. The study, published today in Nature Geoscience, provides geochemical evidence showing that forest fires expanded dramatically, potentially burning up to 30 or 40 percent of global forests during a 100,000 year interval more than 90 million years ago. While today's fires are exacerbated by dry conditions, they found that forest fires during this period increased even in wet regions due to changes in global climate.