In September 1919, when Amundsen's ship Maud left her winter quarters near Mys Chelyuskina to continue east along the Siberian coast, two men, Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen, were deliberately left behind. Their instructions were to wait until freeze-up, then sledge to the weather station at Dikson in order to deliver the expedition's mail and the accumulated scientific data of the past year. The two men did not reach their destination. In the spring of 1921 a Soviet-Norwegian search expedition, travelling overland, established that the two men had passed Mys Vil'da in November 1919; at that point all was well. Farther west, near Poluostrov Mikhaylova, the remains of a campfire were found together with charred bones which were thought to be the remains of one of the Norwegians; it was assumed that one man had died and that his companion had cremated the corpse. In 1922 a geological expedition led by N. N. Urvantsev found the mail and scientific data that Tessem and Knutsen had been carrying, abandoned near the mouth of the Zeledeyeva, and the Norwegians' skis, abandoned at the mouth of the Uboynaya. Finally a skeleton, thought to be that of Tessem, was found on the shore within sight of the weather station at Dikson. Recent evidence indicates that the campfire near Poluostrov Mikhaylova relates to the missing Rusanov expedition, and not to Tessem and Knutsen; furthermore, there has been recent debate as to whether the skeleton so close to Dikson was that of Tessem or Knutsen
The layer of water under landfast ice has unique oceanographic characteristics, as described in this review of recent assessment information for the central Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast. Water circulation is very slow usually near the lower threshold of current meters. Barometric storms cause infrequent surges of water. The weak thermohaline-driven circulation is the reverse of that in ice-free estuaries. Water temperatures are always close to the slowly declining freezing point, and salinity gradually increases to high levels in bays because of flushing times of a month or more. Biological processes during the dark third of the year when there is no photosynthesis are dependent primarily on detritus and stored energy. Detritus is decomposed slowly by bacteria, and consumed by epibenthic invertebrates. Invertebrates and their main predators, fish, both reproduce under the ice cover. Food may limit biological activity in late winter, even in nearshore areas. Spring under-ice primary production totals possibly one-third of annual production with production of epontic algae attached to the bottom surface of the ice equalling only 5% of annual production. During breakup, river floods quickly flush under-ice areas; nearshore salinity drops to zero, and the wintertime thermohaline circulation is reversed. Year-to-year physical variations in the habitat cause the populations of three resident animals to vary up to sevenfold, but there are no regular cycles in abundance. Knowledge of these under-ice characteristics is important for understanding the Beaufort Sea coastal ecosystems, even for the relatively short open-water period.
Distribution of arctic marine isopods of the Mesidotea (= Saduria) complex in relation to depth, temperature, and salinity in the southern Beaufort Sea
Arctic, v. 36, no. 4, Dec. 1983, p. 341-349, ill.
ASTIS record 13333
Three benthic isopods of the Mesidotea (= Saduria) complex are common in the coastal waters of the southern Beaufort Sea. Their relative distribution in relation to water depth, temperature, and salinity was studied by means of 146 trawl, grab, and trap samples. Mesidotea entomon is restricted to the warm, brackish nearshore estuarine zone, in water depths of less than 10 m. M. sibirica is most commonly encountered at intermediate depths of 5-25 m. M. sabini is the most common marine form, occurring at depths from 10 to 441 m. This distribution pattern is similar to that reported for these species in the European Arctic. Salinity fluctuations caused by wind-induced shifts in the location of the river plume, and the occurrence of deep, high-salinity water close to shore, results in overlaps in distributions of the isopods in some areas adjacent to the delta.
Determining site seasonality in the eastern Canadian Subarctic is crucial to the interpretation of settlement patterns of both prehistoric and modern hunters and gatherers. Ethnoarchaeology provides a conceptual framework through which ethnographic informants are used to develop an archaeological model of site seasonality for recent historic sites. This research has led to the development of an hypothesis that structure form, hearth type, and floor preparation can be used to predict site seasonality.
The composition of fatty materials from a Thule Eskimo site on Herschel Island
Arctic, v. 36, no. 4, Dec. 1983, p. 356-360, figures, tables
ASTIS record 13335
Analysis of midden material from a Thule Eskimo dwelling site on the shore of Herschel Island showed it to contain a high proportion of fatty material. Chemical analysis shows this to consist of a mixture of fatty acids from the fats and oils of marine animals which has been partially, but far from completely, converted to adipocere. The lack of complete conversion is attributed to anaerobic conditions, low ambient temperature, and lack of bacterial action. The results are consistent with, but not a proof that the debris is from a mixture of harbour, ringed, and bearded seal, which is the conclusion from the bone fragments found.
Killer whales (Orcinus orca) chasing gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) in the northern Bering Sea
Arctic, v. 36, no. 4, Dec. 1983, p. 361-364, figures
ASTIS record 13336
Sixteen killer whales (Orcinus orca) were observed for 90 minutes as they approached and then chased gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) in the Bering Sea north of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The killer whales swam in four discrete lines that blew synchronously as they approached an area in which gray whales were feeding. Once in the gray whales' feeding area, the killer whales broke into small groups and dispersed. The gray whales, which had been dispersed while feeding, formed groups of three to six and swam away from the killer whales, except for one individual. That whale was pursued by four killer whales swimming nearly abreast in a loose crescent formation with about 300 m between individuals. Although a sonobuoy was deployed throughout the observation period, no sounds were recorded from either species. The absence of whale sounds raises questions about how the whales detected one another and communicated between nearby conspecifics.
Two morphs of Daphnia middendorffiana, a pigmented form with a dorsal black patch found commonly throughout Alaska in ponds and a nonpigmented form found in some lakes in the same vicinity, were exposed to natural sunlight conditions. The nonpigmented morph suffered higher mortality in sunlight than did the dark morph, and the black patch was lost when animals were protected from exposure to light. The pigmentation appears to protect Daphnia middendorffiana from the harmful effects of natural radiation. This pigmentation pattern is an adaptation to living in shallow ponds exposed to high light intensities and few visual-feeding predators.
On 30 June 1981 a juvenile male ribbon seal ... was incidentally caught in the central North Pacific ... by the Japanese salmon fishing vessel Hokucho Maru No. 2. ... Before the crew cast the seal overboard, one of us (WTE) was able to photograph it ... recover its baculum and measure standard length (Scheffer, 1967) and blubber thickness. ... To our knowledge, the record we report here is only the fifth pelagic record of a ribbon seal and the first pelagic sighting south of the Aleutian Islands in the central North Pacific.
Four small Ivory Gull colonies have been found on nunataks on the ice cap of eastern Devon Island. Mainly on the basis of their similarity to known breeding places of the Ivory Gull on Ellesmere Island, all four sites are believed to be those of nesting colonies the first to be reported from Devon Island.
... the Englishman Martin Frobisher is the first accredited pioneer of northern Canadian exploration. He made known to the world the dangers of navigation in the icy seas, the forbidding terrain of Baffin Island, the type of its inhabitants, and the existence of Hudson Strait. ... he dimmed his credit by failing to fix his discoveries with precision, by diverting his search - perhaps contrary to his own choice - from exploration to a futile gold-hunt, and by failing to emphasize the significance of Hudson Strait. ... Though not a scientific geographer, Frobisher was the pioneer of the Canadian Arctic. His ignorance permitted him to defy dangers from which better-informed ship masters might have shrunk. Others followed where he had blazed the trail. He pierced the barrier of the realms of frost and opened a breach for more skilled navigators to exploit.
Sir John Richardson first achieved fame as a surgeon and naturalist with the two arctic land expeditions led by John Franklin in 1819-22 and 1825-27. A true generalist, Richardson was competent in geology, mammalogy, ichthyology - a soon became knowledgeable in ornithology. He wrote three of the four volumes of Fauna Boreali-Americana, and edited zoological appendices for the voyages of Parry, Ross, Back, Beechey, Kellett, and Belcher. A formidable ichthyologist who described 43 still-accepted genera and over 200 new species of fish, he was also a key member of the Strickland Committee, which set the rules of zoological nomenclature. ... His name is perpetuated by numerous plants, fish, birds, and mammals (including Richardson's ground squirrel), and by such geographical features as the Richardson Mountains and Richardson River. ...
[John McLean's book, Notes of a Twenty-five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory, provides insight into the type of individual on whose industry the wealth of the Company was founded.] ... After initial brief employment by the North West Company, he entered the service of the HBC following the union of the two companies in 1821, and until 1833 worked as a fur trader in the Ottawa Valley. ... In 1833 he was transferred to the Company's western department, and his book describes his trek overland to the North Pacific slope of the Rockies .... In 1837 he began the greatest adventure of his life, when he was appointed by Simpson to take charge of what was termed the "Ungava venture", i.e., the quixotic attempt to open up a fur trade in the interior of the Labrador peninsula. [His explorations of this area are impressive. McLean was the first European to describe Grand (now Churchill) Falls, which he eventually managed to navigate around after much hardship.] ... his brilliant expeditions were landmarks in the story of northern exploration. ...
To William Penny belongs the distinction of undertaking the first maritime search for the ships of Sir John Franklin. ... One of Penny's concerns was that the arctic regions north of Canada, which were ostensibly British on the basis of many discovery expeditions since Frobisher's in 1576, might fall to the United States if Britain failed to exert her authority there. [He applied for a land grant in 1852 to forestall the plans of American whaling interests to establish bases on Baffin Island. Unfortunately, this was denied.] ... By expanding the frontier of the Davis Strait whale fishery, by developing the technique of wintering on board whaleships, by pointing the way into Lancaster Sound for subsequent Franklin searches, and by initiating the first missionary presence on Baffin Island, William Penny influenced the course of Euro-American activity in the eastern Arctic during the nineteenth century.
... Cook caught th polar wanderlust only a year after his graduation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New York University in 1890, .... First going north with the young naval civil engineer Robert E. Peary on his North Greenland Expedition in 1891, Cook earned Peary's praise for "unruffled patience and coolness in an emergency". ... None of Cook's first seven expeditions ventured into the Queen Elizabeth Islands. But his eighth - his longest, most celebrated, and most controversial - took him into that region for two years. ... Leaving his base camp at Annoatuk in February 1908 with Rudolph Francke, his German assistant, 10 Eskimos, 11 sledges, and 105 dogs, he followed Sverdrup's game lands through Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands, reached Cape Stallworthy, and went over the sea due north. His last supporting party turned back after three days' march, and with two Eskimo companions, Cook fought pressure ridges and ice floes to reach what he determined to the geographical North Pole on 21 April 1908 .... The return journey was an epic in sledge travel - in terms of pure survival, a classic experience. After living in an ancient Eskimo cave on Devon Island through the polar night of 1908-1909, Cook and his party returned to Greenland, whence he sailed to the adulation of the world, first in Copenhagen, later in New York. Cook's wire that he had reached the Pole was sent on 1 September 1909; Peary's announcement followed five days later. The great controversy that began then is still simmering today. ...
In July, 1905, a young widow embarked upon a 576-mile journey through a relatively unexplored region of central Labrador. This trip was to complete the work left unfinished by her late husband, Leonidas Hubbard, Jr. He had conceived the idea of finding and mapping a navigable water route from North West River on Lake Melville to the George River post. ... Mina Benson Hubbard became the first white woman to travel over the territory; she was preceded by only two white men. In 1838 John McLean, a Hudson's Bay Company employee, had passed through much of the region, and in 1875-76 PÍre Lacasse, a Roman Catholic missionary, travelled over the area. Mina, however, produced the first reliable maps of the Nascaupee and George River watersheds. Her book A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador and her diaries provide descriptions of her encounters with the Naskaupi and Montagnais Indians, and of the last great herds of Labrador's barrenland caribou. She was one of the last people to view the life of central Labrador in its pristine state. ...
Frank Conibear is a long-time trapper and inventor of the humane trap for fur-bearing animals. His first model was handmade in 1929. However, it wasn't until much later that he came up with an outstanding improvement which was to become the accepted standard. "The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals financed the manufacture of 50 traps, and Eric Collier, President of the Trappers' Association of British Columbia, both supported their field testing and advocated them in Outdoor Life. Success at last - a trap that was light, could be built in various sizes, and could be set on land or in water. Frank contacted the Woodstream Corporation of Pennsylvania, and within a year the Victor-Connibear trap was on the market. To introduce this product, the Canadian Association of Humane Trapping, working with the Canadian Provincial Wild Life Services, encouraged trappers to exchange their leg-hold traps for the Conibears - free." ...