Applied Environmental Research Center

Providing public land managers with University of Alaska environmental expertise and research capabilities

Researchers tag a bat in a dark forest
A researcher holds an antenna overhead at dusk
A cameraman records from a hilltop in Hawaii


Who is AERC?

AERC was established January 2014 and is entirely self-supporting. In our first 7 months of activity, we successfully leveraged more than $800,000 in external contracts and we exceeded $1 million in the next quarter. Based on our managed startup plan, we intentionally have accepted only a small number of task orders in order to build staff and institutional infrastructure. We anticipate significant growth of projects within the next year as we achieve capacity targets.

The Applied Environmental Research Center (AERC) is one of 8 centers of the UAA Business Enterprise Institute (UAA BEI). The AERC mission is to collect, analyze and apply environmental, natural and cultural resource data for optimal management of public lands. Our current scope of work includes active and formerly used defense sites in Alaska, Hawai'i, Japan, Korea and the Pacific Islands. We anticipate broadening services and activities to include other public land owners and managers.

AERC provides technical assistance as well as applied research, including:

  • Collecting natural and cultural resources data
  • Applying environmental data to assist managers of natural and cultural resources
  • Providing the best research, data and analytical tools for public land use and resource management
  • Identifying potential pollutants of air, water, and soil, and determining mechanisms to prevent their introduction into ecosystems

Our innovative business model and streamlined internal structure uniquely positions the University of Alaska as a service broker for environmental expertise and research capability. Ultimately, AERC will diversify its clients to include other federal, state and private sector organizations and firms.

Positive outcomes

  • Exemplifies a self-supporting unit receiving no general fund base
  • Employs University of Alaska faculty, staff and students via applied research activities
  • Engages local and Alaska-based businesses in new partnerships with the University of Alaska
  • Utilizes a sustainable model already generating substantial new revenue to the University of Alaska
  • Links client needs with in-state services of Alaskan experts and enterprises through a Cooperative Agreement between the university and the US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Creates a new and active relationship with the military sector in Alaska through the Army Corps of Engineers

To learn more about AERC Projects or our team, press the link below:

Project Button Apprentice Link Team Link Media Link
Newest Content

Counting Salmon to Save Whales

Salmon power the food chain in Alaska and understanding the health of their populations is critical to conserving other species. Over the past few summers, researchers at UAA’s Applied Environmental Research Center (AERC) have devised new and better ways to monitor salmon on military bases near Anchorage. The data they gather may prove crucial to saving another iconic local animal. Samuel Franklin, a recent UAA Natural Sciences grad, is part of an AERC team working to assess and monitor JBER's salmon stocks and help natural resources managers determine their role in the diet of Cook Inlet's endangered beluga whale population.

YouTube Link



  • Alaska Pacific University
  • Green Earth Landworks
  • Alaska Biological Research (ABR)
  • Alaska Center for Conservation Science  (ACCS)
  • University of Hawaii System
  • Lang & Assoc. Inc.
  • Cultural Resources Consultants (CRC)
  • Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC)
  • BEM Systems Inc.
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension
  • Iḷisaġvik College
  • Kuna Engineering
  • AKA Hauling & Equipment
  • Imua Landscaping Inc.
  • Alaska Plant Materials Center
  • Delta Environmental

AERC is an Alaska-based center with projects throughout the Pacific, including Wake Island.

Wake IslandEagleResearchers in Boat