“I came to UAF out of pure passion for the north, my love of Alaska,” Wilmking said. “During my PhD studies I learned about the complex dynamics of northern ecosystems, their possibly drastic and sudden changes.
“Next to my passionate view of the landscapes, which I had from the beginning, during my studies I developed my scientific view of the land. To see the traces of past dynamics, to see the different players involved in shaping the current status of the ecological systems. Every new Ph.D. student I take on now in my job, I hope to give as much as I received back at UAF. Alaska gave me self-confidence, sharpened my scientific intellect, but above all further fired up my love for wild places.”
As a graduate student, Wilmking mapped the forests in Denali National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. He examined why some trees respond positively to warming and some don’t.
Wilmking credited Professor Glenn Juday with helping him achieve his goals. The two continue their collaboration to this day and Wilmking serves as an adjunct professor for SNRAS. His dissertation was “The Treeline Ecotone in Interior Alaska – From theoretical concept to planning application and the science in between.”
Wilmking and Juday learned how to reconstruct past climates by studying tree rings.
Wilmking has been published in 70 scientific publications and secured $5.3 million (U.S. dollars) in research funds. He is a reviewer for many publications, including Science, Nature Climate Change, Arctic, New Phytologist and Annals of Forest Science.
He and his wife Gabriela Antunez de Mayolo Wilmking have three children.
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