Given today's exciting and rapidly evolving developments in the Canadian North, the practice of masthead editorials was initiated to provide some degree of topicality to the multidisciplinary journal Arctic. This practice has resulted, much to our delight, in a substantial increase in letters to the editor - some commending and others strongly disagreeing with the trenchant and thought-provoking ideas put forth in the editorials. An editorial is an opinion piece or proposal written by an individual or group of individuals who wish to express a particular viewpoint on an issue of current relevance. The masthead editorial in Arctic is specifically designed to promote feedback from the readership and encourage our members to actively participate in the scholarly debate of important events and issues affecting the North now and in the future. A more active participation by the members through guest editorials and letters to the editors can only serve to enhance the value of and interest in the journal. ...
A rare second year - lake ice cover in the Canadian High Arctic
Arctic, v. 42, no. 4, Dec. 1989, p. 299-306, ill., map
ASTIS record 29422
Colour Lake, Axel Heiberg Island, N.W.T. (79 25 N; 90 45 W), remained largely ice covered from autumn 1985 to summer 1987. This is a relatively rare event. Observations and measurements of the thickness and specific conductance of the lake ice cover were made at the end of the 1986 summer and again in the following spring. The residual ice cover (second-year ice with first-year ice beneath it) was significantly thicker and had a lower specific conductance than first-year ice formed in marginal leads (moat) that had been ice free in 1986. The first-year ice that grew beneath the residual ice cover had the lowest specific conductance. Distribution of snow on the lake was affected by the roughness of the second-year ice (as compared to the smoother moat ice) and differences in elevation between second-year (high) and moat ice.
Toxaphene and other organochlorines in Arctic Ocean fauna : evidence for atmospheric delivery
Arctic, v. 42, no. 4, Dec. 1989, p. 307-313, ill.
ASTIS record 29423
Residues of the insecticide toxaphene (polychlorinated camphenes, PCCs) and other organochlorines (OCs) were determined in air, snow, seawater, zooplankton, and benthic amphipods collected from an ice island in the Canadian Arctic. The simultaneous determination of OCs in the atmospheric, hydrologic, and biologic compartments provided evidence of an atmospheric link to polar food chains. PCCs were identified and quantified using capillary gas chromatography - negative ion mass spectrometry. The order of OCs abundance in arctic air was: hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) > hexachlorobenzene > PCCs > polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) > chlordanes > DDTs. In seawater, PCCs were exceeded only by the HCHs. Concentrations of PCBs and PCCs in two samples of benthic amphipods were the highest of the OCs detected.
Bison in the Hook Lake area of the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) are classified and managed as low value, diseased, plains bison (Bison bison bison) x wood bison (B.b. athabascae) hybrids. Their classification is founded on the hypothesis of universal hybridization in Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) and surrounding areas. This hypothesis is not supported by the confirmed samples of relatively pure wood bison taken from the range of the northern population WBNP in 1963 and 1965. ... The probability of finding wood bison is greatest in the most remote and inaccessible Hook Lake area of the Slave River lowlands, where a small population survives after a prolonged population collapse. These animals may be at least partially descended from a relict population that predates WBNP. Historical, behavioural, morphometric, photographic and observational evidence is consistent with this hypothesis, but conclusive evidence from available taxonomic tests has not been collected. The current set of policy, legislation and international law empowers government to protect and manage the "endangered" wood bison but provides no protection for hybrids. Because of its current bio-political status, the Hook Lake herd is in imminent danger of extirpation from overharvesting, disease and overpredation or from deliberate depopulation to eradicate disease. If the Hook Lake bison are wood bison, the implications of a status change include: (1) the empowering of government to protect and manage the remaining herd; (2) the option to salvage and restore genetic diversity to the world population of wood bison; (3) alternatives that would greatly simplify future management strategies for free-roaming northern bison populations; and (4) a contribution to the international objective of removing the wood bison from danger of extinction.
Hopen, a small island in the Barents Sea, is situated within the polar desert region. Altogether 26 vascular plants have been noted in four inventories conducted between 1873 and 1982. The temperature climate following the Little Ice Age has fluctuated considerably but with a clear warming after 1920. New areas have become available to the plants since permanent snowfields have melted. The number of species has increased from 17 in 1873 to 19 in 1982, but the turnover has been relatively large. Hopen does not show island biogeography equilibrium. Instead, the July mean temperature is probably the determining factor for the number of species. Mainly seed-dispersed species have colonized Hopen during this period. The origin of the vascular flora and the migration mechanisms are difficult to interpret if it is considered that the entire Svalbard Archipelago was simultaneously under ice during the Weichsel glaciation.
Distribution, habitat, and productivity of Tundra Swans on Victoria Island, King William Island, and southwestern Boothia Peninsula, N.W.T.
Arctic, v. 42, no. 4, Dec. 1989, p. 333-338, maps
ASTIS record 29426
Data on tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) were recorded in the central and eastern Canadian Arctic, south of 77 N latitude, and on Southampton Island during the summers of 1980-85. Swans were seen on Victoria, Royal Geographical Society, King William, Stanley, and Southampton islands and on southwestern Melville and Boothia peninsulas. Most swans inhabited low-lying areas that were inundated by the sea following glaciation and are now dotted with shallow tundra ponds. Breeding swans were common in the Minto Inlet, Lady Franklin Point, and Cambridge Bay areas of Victoria Island and on King William Island and southwestern Boothia Peninsula. In August, 52-89% of the adults and subadults in these areas were seen as potential breeders, and the remainder were in nonbreeding flocks. Between 17 and 33% of the pairs had cygnets, and 10-13% of all swans were cygnets. With brood sizes of 1-3 (1.5 ±0.7 [mean ±SD] to 1.6 ±0.5), the apparent breeding success was low relative to other northern swan populations. However, these breeding populations are significant and should be considered in management plans for the eastern population of the tundra swan.
The presence or absence of accumulated lipids in arctic and Antarctic medusae and ctenophores was determined by visual examination of living specimens with a dissecting microscope. Lipid accumulations were obvious because of their high refractive indices. Lipids were seen in many of the 200+ gelatinous zooplankton specimens collected. They always consisted of various-sized droplets and larger masses within the lumen of the gastrovascular system. No true depot lipids or adipose tissue were present. The accumulation of lipids was observed in feeding animals, suggesting that the prey-derived lipids were unmodified. Disappearance of lipids in starved animals suggested that lipids are taken up and assimilated. In medusae, they occurred in the stomach, ring and/or radial canals. In most ctenophores, lipids were found in the meridional canals below the comb rows. However, in one ctenophore species, Mertensia ovum, lipids are stored in special sacs associated with the tentacle bulbs. Lipids were more frequently observed in arctic than in Antarctic gelatinous zooplankton. A review of the literature suggests that in the Antarctic, the average lipid content of gelatinous predators is about 3% DW (range = 0.4-6%), whereas in the Arctic it is nearly three times higher, about 8% DW (range = 1.5-22%). These differences are probably related to the amounts of lipids in their prey. The abundance of lipid-rich Calanus spp. copepods in the Arctic may be responsible for the high levels of lipids in gelatinous predators.
The Holocene paleoecology of Jenny Lake area, southwest Yukon, and its implications for prehistory
Arctic, v. 42, no. 4, Dec. 1989, p. 347-353, ill., map
ASTIS record 29428
The pollen stratigraphy of a core extracted from Jenny Lake, southwest Yukon, in 1984 has marked archaeological significance. Five palynological zones are identified as follows: Zone JL1, the oldest (ca. 12,500-9,500 B.P.), is a Betula shrub tundra assemblage; Zone JL2 (ca. 9,500-8,500 B.P.) an Alnus shrub tundra; Zone JL3 (ca. 8,500-4,500 B.P.) a Picea forest; Zone JL4 (ca. 4,500-2,000 B.P.) a Picea-Alnus woodland; and JL5 (ca. 2,000 B.P.-present) a Picea forest. The widely held belief that the Kluane-Aishihik area of the SW Yukon was covered by extensive grasslands well into the Holocene period is not supported by the palynology of the Jenny Lake Core. Instead, palynological evidence suggests that the area, which initially was a Betula shrub tundra, then Alnus shrub tundra, became a Picea-dominated forest by approximately 8,500 B.P. and remained forested to the present. The hypothesis stating early prehistoric hunters and gatherers in the SW Yukon were adapted to extensive Holocene grasslands until ca. 3,300-2,600 B.P. will have to be modified in view of these findings.
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) populations in Scandinavia are small and restricted to alpine regions, while red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are common throughout both Norway and Sweden. The two species are similar in behaviour and diet, and thus competition between them is likely. This study provides seven observations of aggressive interactions between the two species. One adult arctic fox and one cub were killed by red foxes, one male arctic fox was chased away from his den, one female arctic fox and a cub fled into the den as a red fox approached, four cubs fled into the den as a red fox walked upon it and once a red fox walked upon the arctic fox den when no arctic foxes could be seen. Only on one occasion did an arctic fox succeed in chasing away a red fox. Red fox predation may prove to be limiting to the small arctic fox population in Scandinavia, and arctic foxes can be displaced from good dens and the most productive regions.
Subsistence research in contemporary communities in rural Alaska is revealing the important contribution of fish species other than salmon to the food supply, yet the subsistence use of non-salmon species has had a low profile in management and regulatory regimes of the fisheries in Alaska. Management concerns arose when a developing northern pike (Esox lucius) sport fishery occurred in an area with preexisting subsistence uses of pike stocks. The Minto Flats subsistence pike fishery has been part of Minto village's subsistence economy throughout the century, whereas sport fishing for pike in Minto Flats is comparatively recent, coinciding with the growth of the nearby regional center of Fairbanks. The identification of a preexisting subsistence fishery combined with field research to record harvest levels, geographic areas used, and seasonality of harvest contributed to a management plan that enabled conservation and harvest of the resource. Knowledge about the subsistence fishery allowed regulations to be established that provided for compatible uses of the pike fishery by subsistence and sport fishermen by segregating the fisheries in time and place and employing standard management tools.
Airphoto interpretation was used to quantify the extent of disturbance caused by seismic exploration on the 60,000 ha coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the winters of 1984 and 1985. The relationships of vegetation type, trail location and traffic pattern to the amount of disturbance were investigated. Approximately 20% of the seismic trails were photographed at 1:6000 scale, using color infrared film. Ground data collected at 194 sites were used to develop a photo interpretation key describing the photo signatures of seven vegetation types and four disturbance levels. Vegetation types and disturbance levels were determined for 4914 circles of 3 mm diameter on the aerial photos (18 m ground distance). Fourteen percent of the points were interpreted as having no disturbance (level 0), 57% had level 1 disturbance (low), 27% had level 2 (medium) and 2% had level 3 (high). Wet or partially vegetated areas were the least susceptible to disturbance. Vegetation types with mounds, tussocks, hummocks or high-centered polygons and dryas terraces were more heavily disturbed. Camp move trails and overlapping seismic and camp move trails created in 1984 caused more disturbance than other trail types due to multiple passes of vehicles over narrow trails. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors were more successful at minimizing disturbance the second year by requesting that vehicle operators avoid multiple passes on the same trail, sensitive vegetation types and areas of low snow cover.
Northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, pups were first observed on Bogoslof Island, southeast Bering Sea, in 1980. By 1988 the population had grown at a rate of 57%/yr to over 400 individuals, including 80+ pups, 159 adult females, 22 territorial males, and 188 subadult males. Some animals originated from rookeries of the Commander Islands, whereas others are probably from the Pribilof Islands. In 1983 and 1985 over 50% of the females were estimated to be >6 years of age, based on vibrissae color. The rookery is in the same location where solitary male fur seals were seen in 1976 and 1979 and is adjacent to a large northern sea lion rookery.
... In 1884, Eskimos hunting off the south coast of Greenland found a number of relics from the Jeanette on an ice floe, including a provisions note written by its commander, De Long. The drift pattern of Siberian timbers and now the startling relics from the Jeanette convinced Fridtjof Nansen that a ship deliberately set into the grip of the polar ice pack in the right place would drift with the ice over, or at least close to, the North Pole. ... [This is an account of the remarkable construction of the Fram and a brief description of its noteworthy journeys: the Norwegian North Pole Expedition, a scientific polar expedition which became a remarkable four-year voyage of discovery and exploration in the Canadian High Arctic where the expedition members mapped and explored 300 000 sq km of territory and collected 50 000 plants and 2000 jars of organic specimens, Amundsen's successful South Pole Expedition and Nielsen's 20 month oceanographic survey between Africa and South America. Although Fram had the distinction of having reached farthest south as well as north, she was abandoned until Otto Sverdrup began the long struggle to save the Fram in 1916.] Today the impressive old ship is joined by other vessels, including Viking ships and Amundsen's Gjoa, which was also rescued from the scrap heap. There can be little doubt that the person most responsible for Fram's rescue was the strong helmsman who navigated her through some of the most severe conditions a ship could face. Otto Sverdrup and the Fram will always be remembered together.
In the shallow Queen Maud Gulf a series of small islands, named by Amundsen during his Northwest Passage voyage, commemorate the arctic exploits of a remarkable Finnish-Swede, Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. Though best known for his epic voyage in the Vega, which went through the Northeast Passage and circumnavigated Asia and Europe in 1878-80, Nordenskiöld had other bases for fame, including eight other trips to the Arctic. ... [These were primarily scientific expeditions concerned with investigating the glaciology, biology, geology, and palaeontology of Greenland, Spitzbergen, the Northeast Passage and Alaska.] For his efforts, Nordenskiöld received many awards and honours. After the 1868 expedition, the Royal Geographical Society in London awarded him the Founder's Medal. In addition he received the Roquette Medal from the Paris Geographical Society and a decoration from the king of Italy. After the trip down the Yenissey, he was named Corresponding Member of the French Academy, replacing the late Dr. Livingston. His adopted country bestowed on him its highest honour, the Grand Cross of the North Star. Nordenskiöld settled down to the life of an administrator of the Natural History Museum and that of a country squire, writing a Facsimile Atlas and a history of early charts and sailing, consulting with the Russian government and Australians on Antarctica. He was influential in Nansen's crossing of Greenland and Andree's attempt to fly a balloon across the Polar Cap. One son, Erland, studied Patagonia, while a nephew, Otto, was both an Arctic and Antarctic explorer. ...
Ernst Håkan Kranck, professor of geology at McGill University from 1948 to 1969, who died in late May 1989 at the age of 90, was a man whose achievements outran his public recognition because of his innate modesty. ... McGill University invited him to come to Canada as visiting professor in 1948, and McGill managed to hold on to him until his retirement in 1969. ... Håkan Kranck's record of field expeditions is impressive. His first was as a 19-year-old student member of an expedition to Urjanchai on the boundary between Siberia and Mongolia (now called the Tannu-Tuva Republic). That was in 1917, and the expedition became as much a study of the Russian 1917 revolution as of the geology of the region. In 1979 he published an account of that trip, entitled Den Stora Urjanchai-Expeditionen 1917, which deserves, even for its humour alone, to be translated into English. ... Next came field work in Lappland to investigate iron ores. ... His Canadian field work began in 1925, a geological mapping at Steep Rock Lake, Ontario. In 1928-29 he was working in Patagonia, on an expedition sponsored by the Geographical Society of Finland, .... In 1934 he was on field work in Scotland. In 1937 he was a member of the Tanner Finnish Expedition to Labrador and was again in Labrador in 1939. ... After many field trips to Lappland and Finland between 1941 and 1944, and similar work in Switzerland (1945-46), he came back to northern Canada in 1947 to work along the east coast of Hudson Bay in freight canoes, on a grant from the Arctic Institute of North America. [Following expeditions led him to return to Labrador, Baffin Bay, and northern Newfoundland.] ... During this very active life, Håkan Kranck produced three books and numerous scientific papers; he also made many friends, most of whom he outlived.
Alan Cooke, a person well known to all those interested in the history and development of the subarctic and arctic regions, died in Montreal on 11 July 1989, after an illness of several months. After entering Dartmouth College in 1951, he worked with a geological field party in northern Quebec during the summer of 1953 and soon came under the influence of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who with his famous collection of polar books, pamphlets, and letters had just taken up residence at Dartmouth. These two events set Alan firmly upon a long trail of northern studies, which he followed for the remaining four decades of his life as traveller, researcher, writer, consultant, and editor. By the time Alan graduated from Dartmouth he had already compiled a comprehensive bibliography of northern Quebec, which a decade later, with considerable expansion, was published in two volumes as the Bibliography of the Quebec-Labrador Peninsula, co-authored with Fabien Caron. ... [Alan] ... earned a Ph.D. in 1970 with an analysis of the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Chimo operation in the early nineteenth century. During the 1960s and early 1970s he enjoyed a close association with the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge and for three years edited its journal Polar Record. He also served as a research analyst on the staff for the Arctic Bibliography published by the Arctic Institute of North America. In 1975 he moved back to Montreal to undertake freelance editorial work. ... Alan's career included jobs as assistant librarian and/or curator of manuscripts in two of the world's best polar libraries, the Stefansson Collection at Dartmouth College and the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge. ... his knowledge of the North was not gained merely from the printed page ... [but from first hand experience in such places as McGill's Subarctic Research Station at Schefferville, the Mackenzie Delta, Fort Simpson, and the Noatak River region of Alaska.] ... his most significant and enduring scholarly contribution was the book The Exploration of Northern Canada 500 to 1920; a Chronology (1978), co-authored with Clive Holland. This indispensable annotated compendium of subarctic and arctic expeditions and events has already had a positive influence upon northern scholarship and writing, and there is no reason to think that its value will ever diminish. ...