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Knut Kielland

Moose in a clearing
Knut Kielland
Research Interests: 

The research in my lab focuses on northern ecology including biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling, physiological plant ecology, soil-plant-animal interactions, and predator-prey ecology. We engage in experimental field investigations, modeling studies of plant and animal populations, as well as interdisciplinary socio-ecological research. Since 1991 I have been an investigator with the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research (BNZ-LTER) program focusing on the ecological processes in boreal forest ecosystems in the context of climate change. I have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research as indicated by previous projects addressing issues such as the ecology and economics of caribou-reindeer interactions (NSF 1999-2005) and the effects of river ice dynamics on subsistence activities in rural Alaska (NSF 2009-2013). I also maintain collaborations with state and federal resource agencies on projects related to the ecology and management of wildlife in Alaska.

 Current projects with my colleagues and graduate students include:

  • Interactions of succession and herbivory by insects and mammals in boreal forests
  • Habitat use and migratory behavior of caribou
  • Winter ecology of wolverines
  • Reproductive biology and diet of great horned owls
  • Nutritional ecology of snowshoe hares
  • Vegetation - herbivore interactions in relation to climate change in the Arctic
  • Population dynamics of snowshoe hares
  • Movement ecology of lynx


Knut Kielland
Knut Kielland
Professor of Ecology
406 Irving 1
408/409 Irving 1
Postal Address: 
Institute of Arctic BiologyPO Box 757000University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
  • 1990: Ph.D. (Ecology), University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 1982: B.S. Anthropology, B.S. Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2016 - present: Professor, Dept. of Biology & Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2008 - 2016:  Associate Professor, Dept. of Biology & Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2001 - 2008:  Associate Research Professor, IAB, UAF
  • 1999 - 2001:  Affiliate Associate Professor, Dept of Biology and Wildlife, UAF
  • 1990 -1999:  Research Associate, IAB, UAF 


Belant, J.L. et al., 2006. Interspecific Resource Partitioning in Sympatric Ursids. Ecological Applications, 16, pp.2333–2343.
Kielland, K. et al., 2006. Contribution of winter processes to soil nitrogen flux in taiga forest ecosystems. Biogeochemistry, 81, pp.349–360.
Kielland, K., McFarland, J. & Olson, K., 2006. Amino acid uptake in deciduous and coniferous taiga ecosystems. Plant Soil, 288, pp.297–307.


Schneider, W.S., Kielland, K. & Finstad, G.L., 2005. Factors in the adaptation of reindeer herders to caribou on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Arctic Anthropology, 42, pp.36–49.


Huntington, H.P. et al., 2003. Human dimensions of the Arctic system. Arctic Research of the United States (National Science Foundation), 17, pp.59–69.


Jones, D.L. & Kielland, K., 2002. Soil amino acid turnover dominates the nitrogen flux in permafrost-dominated taiga forest soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 34, pp.209–219.
McFarland, J.M. et al., 2002. Cycling dynamics of NH4+ and amino acid N in soils of a deciduous boreal forest ecosystem. Ecosystems, 5, pp.775–788.
McKane, R.B. et al., 2002. Resource-based niches provide a basis for plant species diversity and dominance in arctic tundra. Nature, letters to Nature, 415, pp.68–71.


Kielland, K., 2001. Plant nutrient acquisition: new perspectives. In J. Arihara et al. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, pp. 376–398.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Ecological Society of America
  • The Wildlife Society
  • Tanana Dogmushers Association
  • Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association
  • PI  - Movement patterns of lynx in relation to snowshoe hare abundance, Northwest Boreal LCC, 2017 - 2018, $60,000
  • PI  - Dietary analysis of martens in interior Alaska based on stable isotopes signatures, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2015-2016, $11,235.
  • PI – Ecology of lynx near their northern range limit, USGS, 10/14 – 10/15, $22,876
  • PI – Dietary analysis of furbearers in interior Alaska based on stable isotope analysis, ADF&G, 12/13 – 12/14, $10,000
  • PI - Interactions of Fire and Thermokarst Affecting Ecological Change In Alaska, USGS, 6/11-5/16, $379,470
  • PI -  Integrating Remote Sensing and Local Knowledge to Monitor Seasonal River Ice Dynamics, National Institutes for Water Resources,3/11 – 3/12,$22,290
  • PI - Nutritional Ecology of snowshoe hares, National Park Service, 9/10 – 9/14, $11,179
  • PI – Dangerous Ice: Human perspectives on changing winter conditions in interior Alaska,NSF Social Sciences ARO, 08/09 – 07/12, $359,264
  • PI – Primary Succession on Yukon River Floodplains, USDA Forest Service, 07/01/07-06/30/12, $75,000
  • PI – Feedbacks between river hydrology and terrestrial nitrogen dynamics in taiga forests,The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 6/02-9/05, $296,291
  • PI - Reindeer herding in transition: feedback between climate, caribou and local communities in Northwestern Alaska, NSF, 11/99-6/05, $1,257,636
  • PI – Arctic hunters as reindeer herders, NSF, supplement to Reindeer herding in transition, 10/01-6/04, $23,119
  • PI – Controls over white spruce establishments in floodplain plant communities, US Forest Service, 10/01-10/06, $55,000
  • PI - Effects of moose on dynamics of floodplain communities, US Forest Service, 9/99-8/04, $56,533
  • PI - The role of organic nitrogen in the nitrogen economy of taiga trees, USDA-NRI Ecosystems 6/99-5/02, $467,500
  • Co-PI – Mutualistic partner choice in alder across a forest successional sequence in interior Alaska (Ruess PI), NSF 06/-1/07 – 05/31/10), $796,227
  • Co-PI – Lake Clark moose habitat/calf survival study (Griffith – PI), National Park Service, 7/03 – 8/08, $405,999
  • Co-PI - Moose herbivory and browse quality along latitudinal gradients in Alaska and Scandinavia, (Edenius – PI), STINT, 7/00-12/03, $15,000
  • Co-PI - Bathurst calving ground studies, West Kitikmeot Slave Study Society (Griffith PI) 1998-2001, $297,764
  • Co-PI - Landscape patterns of  heavy metal concentrations in reindeer and caribou in Northwestern Alaska, Natural Resources Fund, 3/99-3/00, $18,350
  • Biology 104X Natural History of Alaska
  • Biology 371 Principles of Ecology
  • Biology 493 Winter Ecology
Current Graduate Students (More info)
  • Derek Arnold
  • Matthew Cameron
  • Martha Cummings
  • Thomas Glass
  • Matthew Kynoch
  • Akashia Martinez
  • Sarah Swanson
Past Graduate Students
  • Madison McConnell 2019 (M.S.) Dietary controls over reproductive ecology of great horned owls
  • Justin Olnes 2018 (Ph.D.) Demographic effects of snowshoe hare herbivory on white spruce
  • Dana Nossov Brown 2016 (Ph.D.) Climate-induced changes to fire-permafrost interactions in the Alaskan boreal forest
  • Aditi Shenoy 2016 (Ph.D.) Role of fire severity in controlling patterns of stand dominance following wildfire in boreal forests
  • Casey Brown 2016 (Ph.D.) Socio-ecological drivers of resource selection and habitat use of moose in Interior Alaska
  • Chas Jones 2014 (Ph.D.) Controls over ice dynamics of the Tanana river
  • Suzanne Worker 2013 (M.S.) Causes and consequences of geophagy in snowshoe hares
  • Dashiell Feierabend 2013 (M.S.) Controls over survival and activity pattern in snowshoe hares
  • Cameron Carroll 2013 (M.S.) Modeling effects of winter severity and fire on moose populations
  • Neil Lehner 2012 (M.S.) Winter movements and diets of arctic foxes on Alaska's North Slope
  • Greg Finstad 2008 (Ph.D) Range ecology of reindeer on the Seward Peninsula
  • Rachel Lord 2008 (M.S.) Variable fire severity in Alaska's boreal forst: implications for forage production and moose utilization patterns
  • Amy Angell 2007 (M.S.) Interactions of moose herbivory and white spruce regeneration on the Tanana River floodplain
  • Andrew Borner 2006 (M.S.) Plant phenology and seasonal nitrogen availability in arctic snowbed communities
  • Nancy Werdin 2006 (M.S.) Soil amino acid composition across a boreal forest successional sequence
  • Kumi Rattenbury 2006 (M.S.) Interactions of climate and caribou incursion on management of reindeer in Western Alaska
  • Merben Cebrian 2005 (M.S) Effects of simulated climate change on phenology and chemistry of reindeer forage plants in western Alaska
  • Nicholas Lisuzzo 2005 (M.S.) Physical controls over nitrogen supply in early successional riparian ecosystems along the Tanana River, Alaska
  • Lem Butler 2003 (M.S.) The role of mammalian herbivores in primary succession on the Tanana River floodplain, interior Alaska
In the News

Professional Service:

Editorial Board: Ecology (Scientific Natural History section)

Editorial Board:ISRN Forestry

Faculty1000: F1000Prime Faculty member 

External Reviewer of proposals:

National agencies

  • NSF (Arctic Systems Science, Ecosystem Studies, Ecology, Polar Programs, CAREER, SGER, BCS - Geography & Spatial Sciences, Long Term Research in Environmental Biology)
    • US Civilian Research and Development Foundation
    • National Geographic Society
    • USDA – NRI, CSREES, Small Business Innovation Research
      • DOE -Northeastern Regional Center of the National Institutes for Climatic Change Research (NICCR)
    • Yale University Press (book proposals)


International agencies

  • National Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom
  • Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agriculture, and Spatial Planning
    • Center for Environmental Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
    • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    • Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters - Center for Advanced Study
    • Research Council of Norway
      • National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
      • Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada – (External Reviewer for Promotion & Tenure)
      • NWO - De Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Dutch National Science Foundation)
      • Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Austrian National Science Foundation)
      • MITACS Canada (Canadian government & industry support for graduate student training)

Peer Reviewer

  • Acta Theriologica
  • Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
  • American Midland Naturalist
  • American Naturalist
  • Arctic, Arctic Antarctic &  Alpine Research
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Biogeosciences
  • Canadian Journal of Botany
  • Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Canadian Journal of Zoology
  • Ecography
  • Ecological Applications
  • Ecology
  • Ecology Letters
  • Écoscience
  • Ecosystems
  • Environmental & Experimental Botany
  • Forest Ecology & Management
  • Functional Ecology
  • Geophysical Research Letters
  • Global Change Biology
  • International Journal of Plant & Soil Science
  • ISRN Forestry
  • Journal of Animal Ecology
  • Journal of Ecology
  • Journal of Environmental Quality
  • Journal of Vegetation Science
  • Journal of Wildlife Management
  • Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Letters in Applied Microbiology
  • Mathematatical Biosciences
  • Nature
  • New Phytologist
  • Oecologia
  • Oikos,
  • Pedosphere
  • Physiologia Plantarum
  • Plant and Soil
  • Plant Ecology & Diversity
  • Polar Biology
  • Polar Science
  • Quarterly Review of Biology
  • Soil Biology & Biochemistry
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal
  • Tree Physiology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Wildlife Society Bulletin