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Chris Linder specializes in communicating science to the public using photography and multimedia. Chris holds a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program and maintains a part-time affiliation with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a Research Associate.
Since 2002, Chris has focused on communicating the stories of scientists working in the Arctic and Antarctic. His education and training as an oceanographer give him a special insight into photographing marine science. He has spent over a year of his life on expeditions to the polar regions.
His most recent project, "Live from the Poles", connected researchers with the public during the International Polar Year (2007-2009) using daily online photo essays (polardiscovery.whoi.edu) and lectures "from the ice" to museum audiences nationwide via satellite phone. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, took him from the Greenland Ice Sheet to the Bering Sea and penguin colonies on Antarctica’s Ross Island. Chris’s work-in-progress science documentary projects include: Siberia’s “Carbon bomb”, Antarctica’s Ross Sea ecosystem, and the impacts of climate change on Greenland.
Chris's images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines, including Geo (Germany), Nature’s Best, Outdoor Photographer, and Wired. A solo exhibition of his photographs, titled “Exploring the Arctic Seafloor,” opened at the Field Museum in Chicago in February 2007 and is currently touring science and natural history museums. He is currently finishing a book titled Science on Ice for the University of Chicago Press, which will be published in Fall 2011. He has been recognized with awards from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, and International Conservation Photography Awards competitions.
by Chris Linder
The Fraser is unique—it escaped the flurry of dam building that has altered nearly every other large river on the planet.
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 Sky initiative by the International League of Conservation Photographers.