In the summer of 1931 the icebreaking steamer Malygin sailed from Arkhangel'sk, bound for Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa with the first Soviet tourist cruise to the Arctic, the main objective being to visit the various historic sites of the archipelago. The steamer also made a rendezvous with the airship Graf Zeppelin at Bukhta Tikhaya. Other historic sites visited included Mys Flora, Bukhta Teplitsa and Camp Zeigler on Ostrov Al'dzher. Of special historical interest was the recovery of a message left by Baldwin at his satellite camp at the west end of Ostrov Al'dzher. A significant contribution to the charting of the archipelago was the discovery that Jackson's "Arthur Island" and "Alfred Harmsworth Island" were in fact a single island, for which the name Ostrov Artura was retained. Surprises such as this, a brief accidental grounding, and a three-day drift amongst ice and in dense fog probably combined to persuade the Soviet authorities not to repeat this experiment for several decades.
The continued removal of individuals from the depleted Bering Sea stock of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) by Alaskan Eskimos constitutes a risk of unknown magnitude to this last concentrated remnant of a once abundant, widely distributed species. The principal international forum for discussions of scientific, technical, management, social, and political aspects of the Bowhead Problem has been the International Whaling Commission. These discussions have been plagued by a lack of agreed definitions of terminology and by the inadequacy of historical and technical data. We trace the origins of the Bowhead Problem, define the terms necessary for a rigorous discussion of "aboriginal" and "subsistence" whale fisheries, examine the biological, nutritional, and social dimensions of the Alaskan whale hunt, and assess the relationship between the present-day whale hunting methods and traditional values. We accept the best scientific analyses available, which indicate that the only safe course for this bowhead stock is protection from any form of hunting. However, if a hunt continues for political reasons, then we conclude that a return to the traditional hunting method of fastening to the whale with a harpoon, line, and float should precede or coincide with any attempt to kill the whale. This return to the traditional method would reduce the struck-but-lost rate significantly. We also conclude that there are few, if any, specific products taken exclusively from the bowhead whale that are necessary to support the material culture of the Alaskan Eskimos. Other wildlife, including the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), has been hunted in the past as a nutritional alternative to the bowhead. Increased reliance on the gray whale would reduce hunting pressure on the bowhead and at the same time contribute to the preservation of the whaling culture. If bowhead whaling is to be continued in order to satisfy "cultural needs," then we believe that only one bowhead whale at each village with a long tradition of whaling can be justified.
Marine mammals inhabiting the Baffin Bay North Water in winter
Arctic, v. 33, no. 4, Dec. 1980, p. 724-738, figures, table
Eastern Arctic Marine Environmental Studies
ASTIS record 6011
Aerial surveys in March-April 1978 and March 1979 showed that some species of marine mammals overwinter in isolated areas of open water in the North Water in northern Baffin Bay. About 700 walruses and 37 bearded seals were seen, most over deep water (200-500 m) near SE Ellesmere Island in March 1979. Both species were much less common in 1978. Approximately 500 belugas were found in recurrent leads along the edge of the fast-ice in eastern Jones and Lancaster sounds and, to a lesser extent, in Smith Sound. Only 12 narwhals were seen. It has been concluded that the North Water is not a major overwintering area for marine mammals.
Conflict between domestic reindeer and their wild counterparts : a review of Eurasian and North American experience
Arctic, v. 33, no. 4, Dec. 1980, p. 739-756, figures
ASTIS record 6012
Experience in the Soviet Union and Alaska indicates that the major potential conflicts between domestic reindeer and their wild counterparts (both caribou and reindeer are of the same species, Rangifer tarandus) are: (1) Loss of domestic reindeer to wild herds. Although this can be reduced under close herding, it is still a serious problem wherever wild reindeer or caribou and domestic reindeer coexist. Domestic reindeer joining wild herds appear to have low breeding success and therefore probably have little genetic influence on the larger wild populations. (2) Competition for forage between domestic reindeer and wild herds, which is primarily restricted to the winter range. Herded reindeer feed more intensively than the wild, free-ranging animals and therefore their effect on range forage is greater. (3) Diseases and parasites may be readily transmitted between domestic reindeer and their wild counterparts. However, most diseases and parasites common to the species are endemic to both wild and domestic herds.
In vitro fermentation with expressed rumen fluids was used to evaluate the apparent comparative digestibilities of plants ingested by Peary caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi) in arctic Canada. The apparent digestibilities of vascular plant components collected in summer and fermented for 60 hours with "summer" rumen inoculum generally were in the range 50-80%, digestibilities of lichens ranged from 18-85%, and those of mosses from 11-35%. In similar trials in which plants collected in the winter were fermented for 60 hours with "winter" rumen inoculum, the green parts of two sedge species were more digestible (65 and 74%) than the corresponding cured leaves (25 and 43%), lichens generally were highly digestible (54-83%), and mosses poorly digested (3-11%). We obtained clear evidence of a seasonal change in the digestive capacity of rumen fluids. Fermentation for periods of 30, 60, and 90 hours revealed that components of vascular plants were digested most rapidly, followed by lichens and mosses. There was no interaction among mixed samples of plants; composite digestibilities approximated expected values based on weighted mean digestibilities of the component species. Peary caribou select forages of high digestibility but they consume, perhaps incidentally, plants of low digestibility when snow or ice restricts their access to the highly digestible species.
Quantitative composition, distribution, community structure and standing stock of sea ice microalgae in the Canadian Arctic
Arctic, v. 33, no. 4, Dec. 1980, p. 768-793, ill.
ASTIS record 6014
One hundred and ninety-six (196) species of microalgae were identified from the annual shore-fast sea ice samples collected from the Canadian Arctic between November and June in the years 1971 to 1978. The diatoms were represented by 189 species (21 centric and 168 pennate), the flagellates by three species, the dinoflagellates and chrysophytes by two species each. There were no blue-green algae. Species composition and distribution are tabulated. The dominant species of the microalgal communities in the bottom of the ice different from those found elsewhere in the ice. The sea ice microalgal communities and standing stock started to develop in late fall at the time of ice formation. They grew very slowly through the winter months, exponentially increased in early spring, reached a peak just prior to the thaw period in late spring or early summer, and declined rapidly in summer as ice melting occurred. Standing stock was greatest at the bottom of the sea ice, where it was one to two orders of magnitude larger than in other parts of the ice column, and 50 to 500 times greater than in the phytoplankton in the underlying waters. The ice communities consisted mainly of diatoms with a great majority of pennate forms. Large numbers of species and cells of diatoms were found at the bottom of the sea ice. Dinoflagellates, flagellates and chrysophytes occurred in relatively low numbers except in a few cases when ice blooms were observed. During May most of the sea ice microalgal blooms occurred in the bottom of the ice except for Phaeocystis pouchetii, which occurred elsewhere in the ice. Environmental factors controlling standing stock, growth and distribution of sea ice microalgae are discussed.
A survey of over 60 abandoned wellsites in the Mackenzie Delta, the Arctic Islands and the interior Yukon Territory indicated that approximately 25% of the sites experienced terrain problems related either directly or indirectly to sumps and/or the containment of waste drilling fluids. These problems are classified as follows: (A) non-containment during drilling, (B) melt-out problems during summer operations, and (C) restoration problems. Fewest problems are associated with one-season winter drilling operations. Two-season winter drilling, in which the sump is left open during the summer, and one-season summer drilling operations present more problems.
Baseline levels of the chemical carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene were measured in arctic sediments. Levels were highest in samples from the Mackenzie River delta and adjacent areas of the Beaufort Sea. The distribution of carcinogen did not correspond to the location of inhabited areas - a natural rather than a man-made source for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in arctic sediments is indicated.
Nine radiocarbon dates on five genera of Quaternary mammals from northern North America are discussed. Of particular interest are: (a) a 29,000-year-old artifact from the Yukon Territory; (b) the first evidence that steppe mammoths (Mammathus columbi or M. armeniacus) occupied eastern Beringia during the peak of the Wisconsin glaciation; (c) dates indicating that saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) and Yukon short-faced bears (Arctodus simus yukonensis) occupied the Yukon-Alaska region in mid-Wisconsin time; (d) dates indicating that bison (Bison sp.) lived near the arctic coast of the Northwest Territories, and tundra muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) lived in the western Yukon in late postglacial time; and (e) dates suggesting that tundra muskoxen have occupied the central Canadian Arctic Islands for the last 7000 years.
Excavations of Thule culture winter sites in the Bache Peninsula region on the east coast of Ellesmere Island have yielded a number of finds which indicate a strong relationship to cultural developments in the Bering Sea region. Specific elements under discussion include dwelling styles, clay pottery, needle cases, a brow band and harpoon heads. Evidence is presented suggesting an initial arrival of the Thule culture Inuit in the eastern Arctic around 1050 A.D.
In August 1963 Dr. H. Gabrielse, of the Geological Survey of Canada, established five lines of marked boulders on what is now believed to be a large ice-cored rock glacier near Tungsten, Northwest Territories. The boulders were aligned with survey targets located on the rock walls of the valley in which the rock glacier is located. The distances from the snout of the rock glacier to eight forest trees along its perimeter were measured and blazed into the trees. In July 1980, we visited the rock glacier and resurveyed the marked boulders and the rock glacier's snout in order to establish the rate and nature of movement of the rock glacier over the past 17 years.