Reviews Canadian environmental research of the last decade including the International Biological Program, Man and the Biosphere Program, and the Arctic Land Use Research Program. Discusses the role of the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee and the Berger Inquiry in the proposed development of Canadian Arctic resources.
Snowmobiles are the main form of land transportation for field parties in Antarctica. Recently the United States Antarctic program turned almost exclusively to Ski-Doo Alpine 640-ER snowmobiles, the use and maintenance of which require specialized techniques. The first extensive Antarctic field test of these snowmobiles was made during three months of 1977-1978 while engaged in reconnaissance geologic and topographic exploration of the Orville Coast area. Snowmobiles are used to pull large loads of food and gear on two Nansen sledges. When crossing crevasse fields, they are driven remotely by persons on skis. To do this, modifications are made to the stock throttle to enable the engine both to be set at a constant speed and to be shorted out by pulling on a cord that trails behind the snowmobile; steering is by ropes attached to the front ski of the snowmobile. Proper "night" storage is necessary to ensure easiest starting in the morning and to minimize the effects of storms. A routine of trouble-shooting that rapidly isolated and corrected engine problems included first checking spark-plugs or gas-line filters, followed by checking carburetor jet adjustments, drive belt and oil/gas ratio. We found that Ski-Doos are well suited to Antarctica but would be more useful if carburetor fuel filters were replaced by in-line fuel filters and if snowmobiles were equipped with remote throttle controls, tachometers, speedometers, odometers, and a low-gear option.
We have found that the northernmost trees in Labrador occur at Napaktok Bay on the Labrador cost, as suggested by early explorers, rather than along either Nakvak Brook, Saklek Fiord, or the Hebron Fiord area as suggested by most modern workers.
Evolution of the soil landscape in the sand region of the Arctic coastal plain as exemplified at Atkasook, Alaska
Arctic, v. 32, no. 3, Sept. 1979, p. 207-223, ill.
Contribution - Ohio State University. Institute of Polar Studies, no. 379
ASTIS record 2806
The Meade River region around the village of Atkasook, Alaska typifies much of the Arctic Coastal Plain underlain by aeolian sands. The forms and patterns of the landscape are formed mainly by ancient and active sand dunes and by channel shifts of the Meade River. Nearly all landforms, including those designated as primary, have had a polycyclic history throughout the last 10,000 years. The oldest and/or most stable landforms are low, broad dune ridges, interfluves, and lake divides. These have well-drained, reddish sandy soils with a distinct eluvial horizon and represent very extensive periods of development. Less well-drained sloping surfaces surrounding dune ridges and other primary landforms are covered by tussock tundra and all soils show the effect of cryoturbation. They range in age from 5,000 to 6,000 years. The development and stabilization of the primary landforms and the evolution of their soils are illustrated by similar much younger landforms. Generally, lowland areas associated with drained lake basins and cutoff meanders have a polygonal surface pattern and organic soils that range in age from a few thousand to at least 9,500 years. The majority of the polygonized terrain ranges in age from 4,000 to 5,000 years. Younger surfaces associated with the present course of the Meade River consist of alluvial terraces and active or partially stabilized sand dunes. The soils show little profile development. Their maximum age is on the order of 1,000 years.
Relationship of soil acidity and air temperature to the wind and vegetation at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Arctic, v. 32, no. 3, Sept. 1979, p. 224-236, ill., figures, tables
ASTIS record 2807
Investigations in the Prudhoe Bay vicinity suggest that prevailing winds from the east combined with the shape of the coastline and a source of calcareous materials in the Sagavanirktok River delta cause distinct patterns of soil reaction and temperature. Areas downwind from the river have basic soil pH values ranging from 7.1 to 8.4, whereas wet tundra sites outside the path of loess-laden winds have acidic values ranging from 5.3 to 7.0. The winds also affect the local climate by blowing moist cold air and fog further inland in the western part of the Prudhoe Bay oil field. Air temperatures are correlated with distance to the ocean measured in the direction of the prevailing wind vector. The temperature differences also influence the depth of the active layer. The differences in pH and temperatures affect the vegetation of the region. The areas with basic soils show relative abundance of calciphiles, whereas areas with lower pH values have acidophilous plants. Lower temperatures near the coast affect the distribution of many taxa as well as the phenology and stature of the vegetation.
Commonly accepted theories of zooplankton species distribution hold that: 1) large-bodied zooplankton species are excluded by fish predation and so are found only in lakes and ponds without fish; and 2) because small-bodied species are unable to compete successfully against large ones and also are preyed upon heavily by invertebrate predators, they exist primarily in lakes with fish. This pattern is not followed in a group of lakes and ponds in arctic Alaska. Some of these lakes were found to support both large and small zooplankton species along with populations of facultative planktivorous fish. Other lakes that had no fish had a small-bodied zooplankton species co-existing with a more typical large-bodied community. Close analysis of these unusual distributions reveals that the mechanisms affecting zooplankton community dynamics are more subtle and complex than generally recognized, particularly in such harsh environments as the Arctic.
Horticultural background of Alaskan Eskimos is very limited as they have not traditionally cultured plant material. A decline in fish and game and increasing costs of foods shipped via air from other states to the Arctic has been taken as a challenge to grow crops to supplement their diet. Analysis of very limited climatic data indicates that growing conditions are adequate for potato production in some areas and suitable for the production of numerous other crops. The potential for producing potatoes to supply all of the food energy for the people of Alaska's Arctic seems real. Insulated storages will be necessary to hold the crop and seed supply throughout the year. Preparation of land in the Arctic for planting has been done by hand labor until very recently. Newer cultural practices, together with plastic covered family-size greenhouses, have been used to grow tomato, summer squash, cucumber and bean to market maturity. Varieties of vegetables adapted to other regions of Alaska have been observed in the Arctic for two seasons and are documented in colored photographs. Most varieties were found to be very productive of high quality produce in gardens of villages of Kiana, Ambler, Shungnak, Kobuk and Noatak.
... domestic dogs played a significant role in the adaptive strategies of most historic Inuit and their archaeological predecessors, the Neoeskimo. ... More skeletal material would be desirable in order to provide a firm identification; nonetheless, the available evidence strongly suggests that a domestic or tamed canid is represented. This conclusion lends some measure of support to the idea that domestic dogs are an integral part of cultural adaptation to the arctic, and as such will probably be shown to have had a widespread distribution in Paleoeskimo cultures.
The distribution and abundance of the Kaminuriak caribou herd were documented through an aerial survey conducted in March and April 1977. It appears that the herd altered its traditional migration patterns and abandoned its southern wintering grounds in this year at least. The size of the herd was estimated at 30,770 animals - a significant decrease from the 63,000 animals found in 1968. Available data, although limited, suggests that the maximum allowable harvest of 5% of the herd has been exceeded in recent years. Although the possibility exists that some Kaminuriak caribou may have dispersed northward, it is considered most likely that the decline in the size of the herd is the result of overharvesting.
Fall observations of westward migrating white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) along the central Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast
Arctic, v. 32, no. 3, Sept. 1979, p. 275-276
ASTIS record 2812
... it appears that at least a portion of the westward fall migration by white whales out of the southeastern Beaufort Sea occurs during mid-to late September near the coast, well south of the southern edge of the pack-ice, but seaward of the barrier islands. ...
... on 8 May 1976 approximately 32 km east of Point Barrow ... we observed and photographed a group of six bowhead whales engaged in sexual behavior in an open water "lead" in the pack ice. ... A series of 15, 35 mm photographs taken with a motor drive attachment provided a clear record of the observation. ... The aspect of each whale will be described as dorsal, lateral, or ventral, depending on which surface of the whale was toward the observer. ...