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Some of the major questions that OPP-funded research seeks to answer include:


How is the climate at the Poles changing and what does that mean for the rest of the globe?

What is the role of the Polar regions is regulating climate? As part of one of NSF's "10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments" --Navigating the New Arctic--OPP-funded researchers are helping to building a network of sensors across Alaska that includes new, cheaper technologies such as 3-D printed autonomous sensors in the ocean and atmosphere, allowing researchers to document changes in the Arctic land, sea and air. The warming Arctic and melting of sea ice and permafrost naturally raise environmental and human habitation concerns. This warming also opens up access to areas that were previously unreachable.



What are the limits of life in extreme environments?

Microbes may thrive at the South Pole; in huge, extremely salty lakes under glaciers; and in other places where extreme cold and months of darkness would seem to make life impossible. How do they survive? And what can we learn from these "extremophiles" that might provide wider biological insights?