I know this isn't completley about nutrient transport and cycling but I was interested in the pipline journal from earlier and was wondering how much of an effect it has on the tundra? when it was build? and is this a some type of government infrastructure or was it built for by a company?
Thanks, Wynn F.
P.S. The ammonia in the supports is ingenious and really awesome.
Thanks for your great question. The pipeline was built from 1974-1977. Your question about the affect on the tundra is interesting. When they built it, they didn't really know that much about how animals would interact with the pipeline. They were not sure if the caribou would go underneath it (which they do), so every so often the pipeline actually goes underground in case the caribou won't go under. One interesting observation is that the heat from the oil moving through the pipeline causes the snow to melt out from underneath the pipeline much sooner than the surrounding snow. It is also why they need to cooling vents so that the hot oil doesn't melt the permafrost.
From what I have seen the biggest impact is actually the road that was built to service the pipeline (the dalton hwy or haul rd). Without the pipeline, I am guessing there would not be a road through the tundra and no town of Prudhoe Bay which is where all the trucks that use the road are headed too. Because most of the road is dirt, every truck that goes by creates a huge dust cloud which spans out from the road cause the snow to melt sooner and affecting organisms on the sides of the road. The pipeline is run by Alyeska, which is a private company owned by several oil companies.
Thanks for the question and good luck on your exams!
(I'll add some extra credit for the good question)