Nicole Misarti

  • INE Director | Research Associate Professor
  • Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC)
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • PO Box 755910
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5910
  • Phone: (907) 474-5457
  • Fax: (907) 474-7041
  • 358 ELIF
Academic Positions
Professional Organizations

Research Interests

  • Long-term marine ecosystem change
  • isotope analysis of modern and ancient food webs
  • paleoclimate reconstruction
  • archaeology

I am currently involved in coastal and marine research in southern Alaska and southern most Patagonia (Chile and Argentina). The questions I am interested in are broad in scope. How did marine/coastal ecosystems change? Can we begin to understand why? How did change affect particular species (including humans and where and how they lived)? How did the change affect which resources species depended on? How did humans affect marine ecosystems? How do the answers to these questions affect our present day and possibly our future? Using a suite of proxy data such as the materials left behind by the people themselves (shell and bone from ancient midden deposits) as well as evidence from the past physical environment (sediments from lake cores, general paleoclimate data, soils) I try to address those questions over many thousands of years.

Research Projects

Project Name: The Rats Intersections Project: Identifying Cultural and Environmental Relationships in the Rat Islands Group, c. 6000BP to 250BP
PI: Caroline Funk (SUNY Buffalo)
Co-I’s: Nicole Misarti, Brian Hoffman (Hamlin College)
Funded by: National Science Foundation, Arctic Social Sciences
Duration: 5/1/2014 – 4/30/2015
Rat Island Project website

WALRUS - Walrus Adaptability and Long-term Responses; Using multi-proxy data to project Sustainability
PI: Nicole Misarti
Funded by: National Science Foundation, Arctic SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability)
Duration: 5/15/13-5/14/17
Co-I’s: Lara Horstmann and Link Olson (UAF)

Collaborative Research: Establishing baselines for nearshore marine ecosystems by examining sea otter trophic variation over 5,000 years of climatic and anthropogenic change
Co-PI’s: Nicole Misarti, Bruce Finney (Idaho State University)
Funded by: National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography
Duration: 5/1/12-4/30/15

Long-term records of abundance and effects of large scale climate change on Alaska Peninsula sockeye salmon
PI: Nicole Misarti
Co-I’s: Mark Shapley and Bruce Finney (Idaho State University)
Funded by: Alaska Sea Grant
Duration: 5/1/2014-4/30/2016
Sea Grant Project page

Collaborative Research: The Hot Springs Village Site: a Window to Southern Bering Sea Paleo-Ecosystems and Human Landscape Interactions
Co-PI’s: Nicole Misarti, Herbert Maschner (Idaho State University)
Funded by: National Science Foundation, Arctic Social Sciences
Duration: 7/1/13-6/30/16

Laboratory expertise

  • isotope analysis of bone collagen, tissue, shell, sediments and soils
  • trace element analysis including multi-element weak acid extraction of archaeological soils


  • 2012 Misarti N, Finney, B, Jordan, J, Maschner, H, Addison, J, Shapley, M, Beget, J. Early deglaciation and coastal migration of first Americans along the North Pacific Rim. Quaternary Science Review 48(1-6).
  • 2011 Misarti, N., Finney B., and Maschner H. Reconstructing site organization in the eastern Aleutian Islands, AK using multi-element chemical analysis of soils. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(7):1441.
  • 2009 Misarti N, Finney B.P. Maschner H., and Wooller, M., Changes in Northeast Pacific marine ecosystems over 4,500 years: Evidence from stable isotope analysis of bone collagen from archaeological middens. The Holocene 19(8):1139-1151.
  • 2009 Maschner, H., Finney, B.P., Jordan, J.W., Misarti, N., Tews, A.M., and Knudsen, G., Did the North Pacific ecosystem collapse in AD 1250? In Maschner, H., Mason, O.W. and McGhee, R. editors, The northern world AD 900-1400, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press pg 33-57.
  • 2009 Maschner, H., Betts, M., Cornell, J., Dunne, J., Finney, B.P., Huntley, N., Jordan, J.W., King, A.,Misarti, N., Reedy-Maschner, K.L., Russell. R., Tews, A.M., Wood, S. and Benson, B. An introduction to the biocomplexity of Sanak Island, western Gulf of Alaska. Pacific Science: 63(4):673-709.
  • 2009 Hazlett S., Misarti N., McFarlane G., Wooller M.J., Investigating long-term feeding habits of the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) using stable isotopes (C and N). The Conservation and Management of Dogfish Sharks. American Fisheries Society.

Books/Book Chapters

  • 2012 Misarti N., Stable isotopes in ecology: How they work and what they can help us understand. In Sanak Island, Alaska: A Natural and Cultural History, eds. K. Reedy-Maschner and H. Maschner. Idaho Museum of Natural History Press, Pocatello ID.
  • – Sockeye Salmon: Colder and wetter was better! In Sanak Island, Alaska: A Natural and Cultural History, eds. K. Reedy-Maschner and H. Maschner. Idaho Museum of Natural History Press, Pocatello ID.
  • – Sea Otters. In Sanak Island, Alaska: A Natural and Cultural History, eds. K. Reedy-Maschner and H. Maschner. Idaho Museum of Natural History Press, Pocatello ID.
  • 2010 Maschner, H., Benson, B., Knudsen, G., and Misarti, N. The Archaeology of Sapsuk River. Occasional Papers in Alaskan Field Archeology, Number 3. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alaska Region, Branch of Regional Archeology. Anchorage, Alaska.
  • 2007 – PhD., Marine Science and Archaeology, Institute of Marine Science, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
    Dissertation Title: Six thousand years of change in the Northeast Pacific: An interdisciplinary view of maritime ecosystems
  • 2000 – MS Anthropology/Archaeology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1995 – Bachelor of Arts, cum laude: Environmental Studies/Northern Studies, Middlebury College, Vermont
  • Present: Research Assistant Professor, Water and Environmental Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK.
  • 2010-2012: Institutional Research Associate, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University,Corvallis,OR.
  • 2008-2010: National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID.
  • 2007: Visiting Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Anthropological Association of Alaska
  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Society of Archaeological Science