Videos

Amazon River Science Expedition

In December 2014, scientists of the Global Rivers Observatory embarked on their first annual river expedition, to the largest river on Earth – the Amazon River in the heart of the Brazilian rain forest. This unique expedition allowed our guests to experience this amazing ecosystem, witness how scientists study the ecology and chemistry of rivers, and participate in discussions about new scientific projects–a stage in scientific research rarely witnessed by non-scientists.

Filmed and produced by Chris Linder

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Global Rivers Observatory overview video

This short video narrated by Max Holmes explains the background and goals of the Global Rivers Observatory project and shows how field teams collect data in the Congo, Amazon, and Kolyma River systems.

Filmed and produced by Chris Linder

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Congo River: Artery of the Forest

Filmed and produced by Chris Linder

Researchers from the Woods Hole Research Center collected water samples from the Congo River and its major tributaries to understand how climate change and land use (agriculture, logging) can be measured through the properties of the water. The epic journey took the team the length of the Republic of Congo from the capital city of Brazzaville to the jungles of the far north. Along the way the science team surveyed nearly 40 different rivers that are all part of the massive Congo River watershed. This effort was part of a larger project studying seven major river watersheds worldwide.

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Fraser River: Running Free

Filmed and produced by Chris Linder

The Fraser River watershed, located in the Canadian province of British Columbia, includes the rain-soaked peaks of the Coast Range, the Canadian Rockies, and the dry sagebrush prairie ecosystem in between. The Fraser is unique—it escaped the flurry of dam building that has altered nearly every other large river on the planet. Yet, the Fraser faces other threats. The mountain pine beetle epidemic, which is raging unchecked due to a string of mild winters, may eliminate up to 80% of the native pine forest. As these dead trees are harvested, the exposed soil will receive more of the sun’s heat, which will increase the temperature of the river water. If the water temperature exceeds 20 degrees C, salmon will no longer return to the Fraser—dubbed “the World’s Greatest Salmon River”—to breed. Pollution from logging and pulp mills and excess nutrient input and contamination from mining operations also impact the health of the river.

In May 2011, when the Fraser swelled to overflowing with meltwater and rain, Dr. Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink and graduate students Britta Voss and Sarah Rosengard traveled the length of the river, from the delta to the headwaters, taking samples from both the main stem and critical tributaries along the way. Their data, supplemented by more frequent measurements made by students from the University of the Fraser Valley, will be used to assess how the river and its watershed are changing—for better or worse—over the coming years.

I am grateful for aerial support provided by LightHawk for this assignment. This project has been featured as a Tripods in the Skyinitiative by the International League of Conservation Photographers.

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Kolyma River: Northeast Science Station

Filmed and produced by Chris Linder

Sergey Zimov is the founder and director of the Northeast Science Station, a small research base located north of the Arctic Circle in Siberia. Since 1975, he has devoted himself to understanding the Kolyma watershed–an expanse of boreal forest and tundra that was not glaciated during the last ice age. In addition to the scientific advances made by the staff at the Northeast Science Station, they also mentor future scientists, including the undergraduates of the Polaris Project.

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