In a survey of several plant species found at Churchill, Manitoba, in the transition zone between the low and subarctic regions, we measured leaf respiration in terms of total respiration and alternative pathway respiration rates. Leaves of arctic plants exhibit higher rates of total respiration and alternative (cyanide insensitive) respiration than temperate species. There is a negative correlation between plant height and alternative pathway activity. Shorter plants have higher rates of alternative pathway respiration. More alternative pathway activity may mean that there is less energy in the form of ATP available for growth. A shorter growth habit keeps these plants in the still air close to the ground. This prevents cooling, water loss and physical damage due to wind abrasion. Thus plants with high rates of alternative pathway respiration may be better adapted to the arctic environment. The alternative pathway respiration of Orchis rotundifolia was shown to be under the influence of the biological clock.
Runoff and precipitation add 65 cm of fresh water to Hudson Bay annually. The ice cover does not account for a new contribution of fresh water over a one-year period; however, on weekly time scales, it contributes as much or more than runoff. The maximum thickness of ice averaged over the bay is 160 cm and represents a 140 cm layer of fresh water when sublimation is accounted for. This fresh water is twice as large as the amount annually brought in by runoff and precipitation and is added to the surface layer in the spring and removed from the surface layer in the fall. Freshwater budgets of Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin indicate up to 90% more ice is produced than indicated by ice thickness data. Part of this difference can be attributed to the ice accumulated in ice ridges, which for Hudson Bay accounts for 25 cm of ice and as much as 58 cm of ice for Foxe Basin, where extreme rough ice conditions occur.
Physical characteristics of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens in northern Yukon Territory, Canada
Arctic, v. 41, no. 1, Mar. 1988, p. 12-16, map
ASTIS record 28144
Physical characteristics of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coastal Plain, Yukon Territory, Canada, are described. The preferred den habitat on Herschel Island is characterized by moderately eroded, sloping, gullied terrain, where foxes select sandy erosional mounds for denning. The preferred habitat on the Yukon Coastal Plain is fluvial landforms, where foxes select streamside cutbanks and occasional dunes for den location. Dens are generally associated with relatively warm, well-drained landscape positions. Burrow entrances are significantly oriented toward the south (P<0.0025). Soils of dens are coarse textured, typically sandy loam to sand. Depth to permafrost is significantly greater under the den than at adjacent sites (p<0.02). Certain unique soil profile characteristics, particularly the replacement of common cryoturbation (frost churning) features with those zooturbation (faunal mixing) and the formation of humus-rich surface horizons, appear to be the result of denning activities by foxes. Observed differences in soil temperature and depth to permafrost between den site soils and adjacent soils have likely been caused, at least in part, by denning activities.
Natural history of the Peregrine Falcon in the Keewatin District of the Northwest Territories
Arctic, v. 41, no. 1, Mar. 1988, p. 17-30, ill., maps
ASTIS record 28145
A dense, productive population of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) was studied for five years on a 450 sq km study area located along the northwest coast of Hudson Bay. The mean internest distance of 3.3 km represents the highest nesting density on record for the species in the Arctic. Morphometric and plumage characteristics of adults in the population suggest they are intermediate between F.p. tundrius from farther north and F.p. anatum from boreal regions to the south and west. The migratory pathway used by this population of birds is similar to that used by peregrines from Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Both timing of arrival on the breeding grounds and clutch initiation are influenced strongly by spring weather patterns. Nineteen species of birds and three species of mammals were used as prey; however, in most years the bulk of the diet consisted of six species of birds and one mammal. A dramatic increase in the density of territorial peregrines in a year of high microtine rodent abundance, coupled with changes in various measures of reproductive performance, suggested that use of lemmings by falcons can be significant in some years. Suggestions that peregrines lay fewer eggs in the arctic part of their range were not supported. Broods hatched asynchronously, with the last-hatched young dying in about one-half of all broods of four. Surviving last-hatched young in broods of four grew at rates similar to older nest mates. Brood size was as high as that for any tundra nesting peregrine population on record.
A population of breeding gyrfalcons was studied from 1982 to 1986 on a 2000 sq km area in the central Arctic of the Northwest Territories. Each year 14-18 territories were occupied. The mean internest distance was 10.6 km, giving one of the highest recorded densities for the species. There was a tendency for regularity in spacing of territories. Most (85%) nests were in abandoned stick nests of common ravens or golden eagles. Rough-legged hawk nests were not used by gyrfalcons, despite numerous available. Mean date of initiation of laying was 8 May. Mean size of clutch was 3.80 and of brood was 2.53, and mean productivity was 1.50 fledged young. A reduction of 48% from estimated number of eggs laid to number of fledglings was determined. Reproductive success declined with increased severity of spring weather, notably increased days and amount of precipitation.
William Scoresby, Jr., whaler and eminent natural scientist, was denied a role in the British Government's renewal of polar exploration in 1818. Befriended by Sir Joseph Banks and a member of the most respected learned societies in Scotland, England and the Continent, Scoresby made detailed observations of ice conditions in the Arctic over a period of 17 years, aiding the government's decision to search for new polar routes. However, Scoresby and Sir John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty, the main organizer of arctic exploration, had opposing perceptions of the nature of the northern regions. Barrow, until the end of his life, believed the polar regions harbored a warm water sea, while Scoresby considered the theory a ludicrous chimera. This is believed to be the source of Barrow's illogical rejection of Scoresby. To support this thesis the author has contrasted Scoresby's two major works, An Account of the Arctic Regions and Voyage to the Whale Fishery, with Barrow's arctic writings, A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions and Voyage in the Arctic Regions from 1818 to the Present Time, as well as looking at other literary visions of the Arctic contemporary to the period. Scoresby's ability as a mariner, his years of arctic experience, his scientific education at the University of Edinburgh, his meticulous records and acute and sensitive observations in both prose and drawing, all provide a sound basis for perceiving the Admiralty's autocratic rejection of Scoresby as a loss to arctic science in the 19th century. It also points up the underlying romantic vision of the northern regions in the mind of society at the time: a place harboring an earthly paradise. To Scoresby, the Arctic was nature's laboratory, not a "playground for the imagination".
Storm surges are a significant concern in the siting and design of structures along the Beaufort Sea coast in that the coastal relief is low and the magnitude of surges in this region is large. Coastal storm surge elevations along the southern Canadian Beaufort Sea coast were documented by surveying log debris lines in the Kugmallit Bay/Tuktoyaktuk region. Careful attention to sire selection and survey technique resulted in estimated errors in surge elevation measurements of less than ±0.3 m. The data indicate a local surge maximum has occurred at Tuktoyaktuk at approximately 2.4 m above mean sea level (MSL); lower maximum surge elevations (2 m above MSL) were documented to the north and west of Tuktoyaktuk. There is no evidence that higher surges have occurred during the last 100 years. A surge that occurred in August 1986 measured approximately 1.6 m above MSL at Tuktoyaktuk and decreased to approximately 1.4 m above MSL 20 km to the north and west of Tuktoyaktuk. These surge elevation data provide a basis for the calibration of numerical models of surge and can be used directly in siting and design analysis of coastal structures.
The avifauna of the Thule district was studied during three breeding season visits in 1983-85. The results are presented here, supplemented by data from four late summer expeditions made in 1983-86 by M. Lea, A. Erskine and W. Higgs. Counting the two redpolls as one, 47 species have been recorded from the Thule district, 17 of them seabirds, 10 shorebirds and 7 waterfowl. There are at least 21 species with established breeding populations. Status changes are demonstrated for three species, and three Nearctic species are recorded here for the Thule district for the first time.
Excavation of organic deposits in a seasonally dry depression atop a moraine crest near the village of Karluk, on the west side of Kodiak Island, has provided a more detailed paleoenvironmental record than hitherto available for this part of the island. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the base of the section is approximately 4260 14C years in age. Seven minor volcanic ashes are recognized prior to the onset of seasonal drying of the basin at about 2330 B.P. A major ash fall (2 cm thick in section) is recorded at about 1625 B.P. The only significant woody taxon indicated in the pollen record is alder (Alnus); all other important taxa are herbaceous. This vegetation record indicates alders and ferns dominated the landscape immediately following substrate stabilization, which apparently was delayed in this area until well into the Holocene. Alder became relatively less important as soils matured and other taxa (mostly grasses) invaded. The overall record is one of vegetational and climatic stability since landscape stabilization in this area. Volcanic ashfalls have apparently had no significant long-term impact on the vegetation at the site.
There are more than 50 field stations in northern Canada. These are operated by governments, universities and private agencies. Although many have a particular disciplinary bias, such as marine science, meteorology, native studies, archaeology, limnology, glaciology or biology, most are available to all researchers as a base of operations. Approximately half of the stations are in the Northwest Territories, the remainder in the Yukon and northern parts of the provinces. A table is provided indicating seasonal availability, particular research emphases, level of services provided, accommodation available and ownership. There is no user charge at some stations; most levy a daily fee. The highest cost in 1987 was just over $200 (food and accommodation) per day for the station on the Ice Island, then located northwest of Axel Heiberg. The paper also contains mention of 25 circumpolar stations outside Canada and a bibliography.
In the June 1982 issue of Arctic, Richard Davis introduced "Arctic Profiles." At the time he said the purpose of the series was to cover "a more subjective and human element that has influenced the history of arctic development." He continued, "Should this series prove successful ..." more could follow. ... Because of the success of the Profiles, Arctic has decided to maintain the series and has asked us to see it through a second phase. ... The second series of profiles will be more contemporary but continue to recognize the contribution of those no longer active or alive. ...
Kalvak, like other Inuit artists, dealt with and resolved the practical problems she was born to endure during her lifetime. The harsh north was home. As a practical woman with five daughters to care for, she conquered her world. As a matter of fact, according to her peer at Holman Island, "She was the best seamstress in the settlement." It was her ability and sensitivity to the art of sewing that spilled over into her arts and crafts ability. Kalvak could draw, and her drawings caught the eye of Father Henri Tardy, pioneer priest of the Oblate Order. Father Tardy encouraged her interests and developed and protected a collection of Kalvak's drawings, which he started collecting in the early 1960s. This collection became the nucleus of the print shop movement at Holman Island. ... Kalvak was born in 1901 near Tahiryuak Lake on Victoria Island. She inherited the mythology and shamanism from her mother and traditional hunting skills from her father. Since she was the only surviving child of her parents, she became an early partner in the survival skills necessary in her environment. She learned early in life to fish and hunt. The mystique and love of Inuit culture were instilled by her mother. Both aspects of environmental forces and mystical lore fill Kalvak's drawings and prints. She was able to transpose several enigmatic sources into a simple drawing using the sun, the earth or the sea as symbols that express a feeling of her reference in time. As she herself was a very expressive person, her drawings take on the experienced expressions of her life.
... Known as the "father" of the American Antarctic science program and, earlier, a leading researcher in the Arctic, Crary conducted a broad range of scientific observations in Polar regions, incidentally becoming the first person to have set foot on both North and South Poles. [He has been described as] ... "the leading light in glaciology in Antarctica during the IGY, "an outstanding scientist and a great friend," "an indispensable man," as "an exceptional man because of his ability to combine his genius as a scientific explorer with his qualities as a human being." ... [And according to Dr. Charles R. Bentley,] "Bert Crary was the man who, more than any other, was responsible for the introduction of solid geophysical techniques into both north and south polar studies. Both by his leadership and by his personality, he was an inspiration to two generations of polar scientists."