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Facing a future of change : wild migratory caribou and reindeer   /   Gunn, A.   Russell, D.   White, R.G.   Kofinas, G.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. iii-vi
ASTIS record 68338
PDF

Migratory wild reindeer and caribou numbers have dropped by about one-third since populations peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s. Four of five major herds in Russia and one of two herds in Greenland are declining. Several large Canadian herds monitored sufficiently to measure abundance trends have declined by 75-90%, and the declines have recently accelerated. For example, the Bathurst herd has declined from over 450 000 caribou in 1986 to fewer than 50 000 in 2009. The Beverly herd, one of Canada's best-known herds, had 270 000 caribou in 1994, but fewer than 100 breeding cows in 2009. Farther west in Alaska, the large Western Arctic and Porcupine herds are also declining. Some herds, however, are not declining. East of Hudson's Bay, the George River and Leaf River herds total close to one million animals. The George River herd peaked early (~1992), while the Leaf River herd was still increasing at the last count, in 2002. On Alaska's Arctic coast, the Teshekpuk Lake and Central Arctic herds are still growing at an average rate of 7% per annum (both populations were last estimated in 2008). In Norway and Finland, where herds are small, wild reindeer are stable or increasing. Historically, migratory tundra caribou herds have undergone well-defined and largely synchronous periods of abundance and scarcity, likely driven by continental climate switches such as the Arctic Oscillation. Populations that were almost universally low in the late 1960s and early 1970s increased to peak levels in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Prior to the population lows in the late 1960s, aboriginal elders spoke of earlier periods of abundance and scarcity, and with scarcity, of human hardship and starvation. The variability in timing of population peaks is undoubtedly related to the timing and severity of nutritional and ecological bottlenecks for each herd and to the heterogeneous nature of climate impact on the range conditions of those herds. Across their circumpolar ranges, many herds are being exposed more frequently to industrial exploration and development, leading to concerns about the cumulative effects of such exposure. ... One approach to describing how climate change varies regionally, which effects of climate change will be negative or positive, and which strategies caribou use to buffer environmental change is to undertake comparative and comprehensive assessments. Those assessments require a range of expertise from community knowledge holders, remote sensing experts, social and policy scientists, biologists, and veterinarians. Instead of working individually in our respective regions and disciplines or coming together only at conferences to share "findings" in the conventional way of doing science, a group of "caribou people" sought an alternative approach. They recognized the need to draw on collective experience and knowledge to understand the complex problems facing wild reindeer and caribou and the people who depend on them. They also recognized that collaboration that crosses cultural, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries is the only really workable solution. The result of this collaboration was the establishment of the CARMA (CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment) Network, which formally started in 2004. Its beginnings, however, go back to February 1999, when scientists, reindeer and caribou users, and resource managers gathered in Rovaniemi, Finland. CARMA has built itself on a grassroots approach, involving a wide range of experts, from hunters to biologists, social scientists, veterinarians, and remote sensing experts. It is important to acknowledge that we, the authors of this opinion piece, have a role in CARMA, although we have written this article from our perspectives of a long involvement with caribou and the caribou people. CARMA is a coordinated effort at standardizing protocols, implementing monitoring programs, sharing information, and conducting comprehensive assessments. Each herd will exp erience a variable array of weather, level of industrial development, institutional arrangements, and harvesting practices, with variable consequences for caribou demography and distribution. Circumpolar caribou managers, academic researchers, and traditional caribou users have already started to work together through CARMA. By building on shared information and experience, CARMA contributes to a circumpolar perspective for assessing implications of change and informing management alternatives for individual herds. ... The future focus of management should be to foster resilience in caribou herds, to increase their capacity to cope with climate change and the changing economic and social settings. This focus requires defining resilience with performance-based criteria to ensure that management is adaptive, effective, and measurable. CARMA's tools and comprehensive herd assessments will contribute toward monitoring and understanding those effects whose total is summarized as resilience- the capability of individual caribou or the herd to cope with environmental change, as well as the capacity of the co-management system to translate findings into a collective will to act. Individual measures include levels of fat reserves, or rates of pregnancy and calf survival, while frame-size measures are indicative of population responses. Landscapes (seasonal ranges) where caribou are not impeded from freely undertaking both seasonal migrations and local movements, either to reduce exposure to predators and parasites or to forage efficiently, will be crucial to building individual and herd resilience. Fostering resilience in herds is tied to institutional arrangements that are collaborative in approach and adaptive. Global warming and the heterogeneity of regional conditions raise questions about our current capacity to make assessments useful in caribou management, pointing to the uncertainty that has always been a part of sustaining human-caribou relationships. We are conce rned not only about how the herds themselves are coping with their changing environment, but also about how human communities that rely on caribou will be able to cope. It is from the shared perspective of caribou and people that we seek to learn from the successes and failures of others. We recognize that problems of caribou conservation, like those of conserving other once-numerous migratory species, such as the Atlantic cod or the Plains bison, are not simple; nor are there simple solutions. Individually and collectively, we need to use our knowledge and experience to drive forward the policies needed, such as regulation of land-use activities to ensure that caribou have the space they require. We should ensure that harvest policies do not shortchange caribou herds already coping with fast-changing trends in their environment. We need to make sure that harvest and land-use policies are designed in ways that provide for caribou adaptation in the face of global-scale changes. Through the passion of science and wealth of indigenous knowledge, Northerners have much to contribute and much to share. Our shared responsibility and concern is that the circumpolar North remain one of the few places in the world where the sheer scale of the wildlife migrations will persist.


The use of dog sledges during the British search for the missing Franklin Expedition in the North American Arctic Islands, 1848-59   /   Barr, W.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 257-272, ill., map
ASTIS record 68339
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While the bulk of the searching parties sent out from the British ships deployed on the search for the missing Franklin expedition in the North American Arctic Islands over the period 1848-59 employed man-hauled sledges, dog sledges were also used quite extensively. The dog sledges were especially (but not exclusively) used as "couriers," that is, for communication between the various wintering ships, where speed was the primary requirement. The total distance covered by dog sledges (excluding short hauls in the vicinity of the wintering ships) was, at a minimum, 11 576 km; this distance compares with the minimum 41 555 km covered by man-hauled sledges.

Bien que la plupart des équipes de recherche déployées par les navires britanniques à la recherche de l'expédition de Franklin disparue dans l'archipel Arctique nord-américain pendant la période de 1848-1859 se soient servi de traîneaux tirés par des humains, elles ont également employé des traîneaux à chiens à maintes reprises. Les traîneaux à chiens servaient plus particulièrement (mais non pas exclusivement) de « messagers » en ce sens qu'ils établissaient les liens de communication entre les divers navires en hivernage, la rapidité de transmission étant essentielle. La distance totale à avoir été parcourue par les traîneaux à chiens (ce qui ne comprend pas les courtes distances dans la région des navires en hivernage) s'est chiffrée, au minimum, à 11 576 kilomètres, comparativement à la distance minimale de 41 555 kilomètres parcourue par les traîneaux tirés par des humains.


New radiocarbon-dated vertebrate fossils from Herschel Island : implications for the palaeoenvironments and glacial chronology of the Beaufort Sea coastlands   /   Zazula, G.D.   Hare, P.G.   Storer, J.E.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 273-280, ill., maps
ASTIS record 68340
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Palaeontological research on Herschel Island, Yukon, has yielded a diverse collection of Quaternary marine and terrestrial vertebrate fossils. The terrestrial faunal remains, which have largely been collected as allochthonous beach debris at Pauline Cove, are dominated by Yukon horse (Equus sp.), with fewer specimens of steppe bison (Bison priscus), proboscideans (Mammuthus primigenius and a single Mammut americanum specimen), and other large and medium-sized mammals. This pattern of a horse-dominated Late Pleistocene fauna is consistent with those from the North Slope of Alaska and further demonstrates that conditions in northernmost Beringia were more arid than those in interior areas such as Fairbanks or the Klondike. This paper presents new AMS radiocarbon dates on terrestrial vertebrate fossils and peat from the island that span the range from greater than 53 000 to modern 14C yr BP. When considered with other data from the region, our new radiocarbon-dated fauna cannot adequately resolve whether the Herschel Island ice-thrust ridge was formed during the Early Wisconsinan or the Late Wisconsinan advance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet over the Yukon Coastal Plain.

Des fouilles paléontologiques réalisées sur l'île Herschel, au Yukon, ont permis de prélever une collection variée de fossiles marins et de fossiles vertébrés terrestres du quaternaire. Les restes de faune terrestre, qui ont surtout été ramassés sous la forme de débris de plage allochtones à Pauline Cove, prennent la forme de restes de chevaux du Yukon en prédominance (Equus sp.), parsemés de quelques spécimens de bisons priscus (Bison priscus), de proboscidiens (Mammuthus primigenius et d'un seul spécimen de Mammut americanum), ainsi que d'autres mammifères de taille moyenne et de grande taille. La prédominance de faune du type cheval du Pléistocène tardif correspond à celle enregistrée sur le versant nord de l'Alaska et montre encore une fois que les conditions qui régnaient dans la partie la plus au nord de la Béringie étaient plus arides que les conditions qui prévalaient dans les régions de l'intérieur, comme à Fairbanks ou au Klondike. Dans ce document, nous présentons de nouvelles dates établies par le radiocarbone SMAquant aux fossiles de vertébrés terrestres et à la tourbe de l'île, dates allant de plus de 53 000 14C années BP à l'ère moderne. Lorsque ces données sont considérées à la lumière d'autres données de la région, la nouvelle faune datée par le radiocarbone ne nous permet pas de déterminer adéquatement si la dorsale découlant de la poussée des glaces de l'île Herschel a été formée pendant la progression du Wisconsinien précoce ou du Wisconsinien tardif de la nappe glaciaire laurentienne sur la plaine côtière du Yukon.


Relating biomass and leaf area index to non-destructive measurements in order to monitor changes in Arctic vegetation   /   Chen, W.   Li, J.   Zhang, Y.   Zhou, F.   Koehler, K.   LeBlanc, S.   Fraser, R.   Olthof, I.   Zhang, Y.   Wang, J.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 281-294, ill., map
ASTIS record 68341
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This paper reports an alternative method for seasonal and long-term monitoring of biomass and the leaf area index (LAI) at Arctic tundra sites. Information related to the historical and projected change in abundance and distribution of biomass and LAI is required to address numerous environmental and resource management issues. Observations of earth from satellites could potentially be used to derive seasonal and long-term changes in biomass and the LAI. To realize this potential, seasonal and long-term ground monitoring data for validation are essential; however, the conventional destructive sampling method for measuring biomass and the LAI does not allow repetitive measurements at the same plots and thus is not suitable for monitoring change over time. Alternative methods, such as sampling nearby similar plots, can be laborious and easily subject to large sampling errors, especially in Arctic tundra sites with low vegetation cover. In this study, we developed a practical method for relating non-destructive measurements (percent cover and mean height) to biomass and the LAI for 13 major Arctic plant groups, or seven plant functional types, on the basis of measurements at 196 plots across Canada's Arctic tundra ecosystems. Using the method at the plant group level to estimate plot total vascular aboveground biomass, foliage biomass, and LAI, we had r² = 0.91-0.95 and relative mean absolute error of 25-29%. By this method, one could monitor seasonal and long-term changes in biomass and the LAI through repeated, non-destructive observations of percent cover and mean height at the same permanent plots.

Cette communication présente une méthode de rechange en vue de la surveillance saisonnière et à long terme de la biomasse et de l'indice de surface foliaire (LAI) de sites de toundra de l'Arctique. Afin de relever divers enjeux relatifs à la gestion de l'environnement et des ressources, il faut recueillir des données se rapportant au changement historique et projeté en matière d'abondance et de répartition de la biomasse et du LAI. On pourrait éventuellement recourir aux observations de la Terre à partir de satellites afin de déceler les changements saisonniers et à long terme caractérisant la biomasse et le LAI. Pour en arriver là, il est essentiel de disposer de données saisonnières et à long terme au sol à des fins de validation. Cependant, la méthode d'échantillonnage destructeur classique permettant de mesurer la biomasse et le LAI ne permettent pas la prise de mesures répétitives aux mêmes sites et par conséquent, elle ne convient pas à la surveillance du changement qui s'exerce au fil du temps. D'autres méthodes, telles que l'échantillonnage de sites semblables dans les environs, peuvent s'avérer laborieuses et facilement faire l'objet d'importantes erreurs d'échantillonnage, surtout aux sites de toundra de l'Arctique dont la couverture végétale est basse. Dans le cadre de cette étude, nous avons mis au point une méthode pratique pour établir un rapport entre les mesures non destructives (pourcentage de couverture et hauteur moyenne) et la biomasse et le LAI de 13 groupes végétaux importants de l'Arctique, ou sept types végétaux fonctionnels en fonction de la mesure de 196 sites à la grandeur des écosystèmes de toundra de l'Arctique canadien. En nous appuyant sur la méthode des groupes végétaux pour estimer la biomasse vasculaire totale à ciel ouvert des sites, la biomasse foliaire et le LAI, nous avions r² = 0,91-0,95 et une erreur absolue relative moyenne de 25 à 29%. Au moyen de cette méthode, il serait possible de surveiller les changements saisonniers et à long terme en matière de biomasse et de LAI grâce à des observations répétées et non destructives du pourcentage de la couverture et de la hauteur moyenne aux mêmes sites permanents.


A century of climate change for Fairbanks, Alaska   /   Wendler, G.   Shulski, M.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 295-300, ill., map
ASTIS record 68342
PDF

Climatological observations are available for Fairbanks, Interior Alaska, for up to 100 years. This is a unique data set for Alaska, insofar as it is of relatively high quality and without major breaks. Applying the best linear fit, we conclude that the mean annual temperature rose from -3.6°C to -2.2°C over the century, an increase of 1.4°C (compared to 0.8°C worldwide). This comparison clearly demonstrates the well-known amplification or temperature change for the polar regions. The observed temperature increase is neither uniform over the time period nor uniform throughout the course of a year. The winter, spring, and summer seasons showed a temperature increase, while autumn showed a slight decrease in temperature. For many activities, the frequencies of extremes are more important than the average values. For example, the frequency of very low temperatures (below -40°C, or -40°F) has decreased substantially, while the frequency of very high temperatures (above 26.7°C, or 80°F) increased only slightly. Finally, the length of the growing season increased substantially (by 45%) as a result of an earlier start in spring and a later first frost in autumn. Precipitation decreased for Fairbanks. This is a somewhat counter-intuitive result, as warmer air can hold more water vapor. The date of the establishment of the permanent snow cover in autumn showed little change; however, the melting of the snow cover now occurs earlier in the spring, a finding in agreement with the seasonal temperature trends. The records for wind, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and cloudiness are shorter, more broken, or of lower quality. The observed increase in cloudiness and the decreasing trend for atmospheric pressure in winter are related to more advection and warmer temperatures during this season.

Il existe des observations climatologiques pour Fairbanks, à l'intérieur de l'Alaska, échelonnées sur 100 ans. Cet ensemble de données est unique en Alaska en ce sens que les données sont de relativement grande qualité et qu'elles ne comportent pas d'interruptions majeures. Au moyen du meilleur appariement linéaire, nous concluons que la température moyenne annuelle s'est élevée de -3,6 °C à -2,2 °C au cours du siècle, ce qui représente une augmentation de 1,4 °C (comparativement à la moyenne mondiale de 0,8 °C). Cette comparaison montre clairement l'amplification ou le changement de température bien connu des régions polaires. L'augmentation de température qui a été observée n'est ni uniforme pendant la période visée ni uniforme au cours d'une même année. La température s'est en fait accrue pendant les saisons de l'hiver, du printemps et de l'été, tandis que la température a baissé quelque peu l'automne. Pour bien des activités, la fréquence des extrêmes est plus importante que les valeurs moyennes. Par exemple, la fréquence de températures très basses (en bas de -40 °C, ou -40 °F) a diminué considérablement, tandis que la fréquence de températures très élevées (au-dessus de 26,7 °C, ou 80 °F;) n'a augmenté que légèrement. Et enfin, la longueur de la saison de croissance a augmenté considérablement (de 45 %) parce que le printemps commence plus tôt et que les premières gelées de l'automne se manifestent plus tard. Les précipitations ont diminué à Fairbanks. Ce résultat est un peu contre-intuitif car l'air plus chaud peut contenir plus de vapeur d'eau. La date de l'établissement de la couverture de neige permanente à l'automne a peu fluctué. Cependant, la fonte de la couverture de neige se produit maintenant plus tôt au printemps, observation qui cadre avec les tendances caractérisant les températures saisonnières. Les données relatives au vent, à la pression atmosphérique, à l'humidité et à l'ennuagement s'étendent sur une moins longue période, comportent plus d'interruptions ou sont de moins bonne qualité. L'augmentation d'ennuagement observée et la tendance de pression atmosphérique à la baisse l'hiver sont at tribu ables à une plus grande advection et à des températures plus chaudes pendant cette saison-là.


Change in abundance of Pacific Brant wintering in Alaska : evidence of a climate warming effect?   /   Ward, D.H.   Dau, C.P.   Tibbitts, T.L.   Sedinger, J.S.   Anderson, B.A.   Hines, J.E.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 301-311, ill., maps
ASTIS record 68343
PDF

Winter distribution of Pacific Flyway brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) has shifted northward from low-temperate areas to sub-Arctic areas over the last 42 years. We assessed the winter abundance and distribution of brant in Alaska to evaluate whether climate warming may be contributing to positive trends in the most northern of the wintering populations. Mean surface air temperatures during winter at the end of the Alaska Peninsula increased about 1 °C between 1963 and 2004, resulting in a 23% reduction in freezing degree days and a 34% decline in the number of days when ice cover prevents birds from accessing food resources. Trends in the wintering population fluctuated with states of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, increasing during positive (warm) phases and decreasing during negative (cold) phases, and this correlation provides support for the hypothesis that growth in the wintering population of brant in Alaska is linked to climate warming. The size of the wintering population was negatively correlated with the number of days of strong northwesterly winds in November, which suggests that the occurrence of tailwinds favorable for migration before the onset of winter was a key factor in whether brant migrated from Alaska or remained there during winter. Winter distribution of brant on the Alaska Peninsula was highly variable and influenced by ice cover, particularly at the heavily used Izembek Lagoon. Observations of previously marked brant indicated that the Alaska wintering population was composed primarily of birds originating from Arctic breeding colonies that appear to be growing. Numbers of brant in Alaska during winter will likely increase as temperatures rise and ice cover decreases at high latitudes in response to climate warming.

Au cours des 42 dernières années, la répartition de la bernache cravant du Pacifique (Branla bernicla nigricans) s'est déplacée vers le nord en hiver, passant ainsi de régions faiblement tempérées à des régions subarctiques. Nous avons évalué l'abondance et la répartition de la bernache en Alaska l'hiver afin de tenter de déterminer si le réchauffement climatique contribue aux tendances positives au sein des populations d'hivernage les plus au nord. Les températures moyennes de l'air à la surface en hiver se sont accrues d'environ l °C entre 1963 et 2004, ce qui s'est traduit par une réduction de 23% du nombre de jours atteignant le point de congélation et d'une diminution de 34 % du nombre de jours pendant lesquels la couverture de glace empêche les oiseaux d'avoir accès aux ressources alimentaires. Les tendances caractérisant la population d'hivernage fluctuaient en fonction des états de l'oscillation pacifique décennale en ce sens qu'elles augmentaient pendant les phases positives (tièdes) et qu'elles baissaient pendant les phases négatives (froides). Cette corrélation vient appuyer l'hypothèse selon laquelle la croissance de la population d'hivernage de la bernache en Alaska est liée au réchauffement climatique. L'effectif de la population d'hivernage a été négativement corrélé au nombre de jours de vents forts en provenance du nord-ouest en novembre, ce qui laisse croire que l'occurrence de vents arrières favorables à la migration avant le début de l'hiver constituait un facteur-clé déterminant si une bernache migrait de l'Alaska ou y restait pendant l'hiver. Dans la péninsule de l'Alaska, la répartition de la bernache en hiver variait énormément et dépendait de la couverture de glace, surtout à la lagune Izembek particulièrement achalandée. Les observations de bernaches déjà marquées ont permis de constater que la population d'hivernage de l'Alaska était principalement composée d'oiseaux provenant des colonies de reproduction de l'Arctique qui semblent prendre de l'ampleur. Le nombre de bernaches en Alaska pendant l'hiver augmentera vraisemblablement au fur et à mesure que les températures augmenteront et que les couvertures de glace diminueront en haute latitude en raison du réchauffement climatique.


Brown bear (Ursus arctos) predation of broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in the Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories   /   Barker, O.E.   Derocher, A.E.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 312-316, maps
ASTIS record 68344
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On 2 October 2007, we observed evidence of at least one brown bear (Ursus arctos) predating and caching broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus) at Pete's Creek, a tributary of the Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories. While predation on whitefish by brown bears has been reported as traditional ecological knowledge in the Northwest Territories, accounts in the scientific literature of brown bears feeding on fish other than salmon, trout (Oncorhynchus spp.), and charr (Salvelinus spp.) are rare, particularly for North America. As a spatially concentrated, high-quality food in a resource-poor landscape, migrating broad whitefish may play an important role in the foraging ecology of some Arctic brown bears.

Le 2 octobre 2007, nous avons observé au moins un ours brun (Ursus arctos) en train de s'attaquer à un corégone tschir (Coregonus nasus) et de le cacher à Pete's Creek, un affluent du fleuve Mackenzie, dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest. Bien que les connaissances écologiques traditionnelles des Territoires du Nord-Ouest attestent de la prédation de corégones par les ours bruns, il est rare que la documentation scientifique démontre que les ours bruns mangent du poisson autre que le saumon, la truite (Oncorhynchus spp.) et l'omble chevalier (Salvelinus spp.), particulièrement en Amérique du Nord. En tant que source alimentaire de grande qualité concentrée dans cet espace et ce paysage pauvre en ressources, le corégone tschir en migration pourrait jouer un rôle important dans l'écologie alimentaire de certains ours bruns de l'Arctique.


After whom is Herschel Island named?   /   Burn, C.R.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 317-323, maps, ports.
PCSP/PPCP contribution, no. 057-08
ASTIS record 68345
PDF

Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk) is a seasonally inhabited island off the western Arctic coast of Canada. It was designated as a Yukon territorial park under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1987) in recognition of its physical and cultural significance. The island was named by Captain John Franklin of the Royal Navy on 15 July 1826, during his second voyage of Arctic exploration. Unlike entries for other features named by Franklin along this coast, the journal record of this event does not indicate the specific person after whom he named the island. Franklin's journal and his published account state only that he wished to honour the name Herschel, borne most prominently by Sir William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus, Sir William's sister Caroline Herschel, who discovered eight comets, and Sir William's son Sir John Herschel, the brilliant polymath; in other words, he wished to honour this preeminent late Georgian scientific family.

L'île Herschel (Qikiqtaruk) est une île de la côte Ouest de l'Arctique du Canada qui est habitée selon les saisons. Elle a été désignée en tant que parc territorial du Yukon en vertu de la Convention définitive des Inuvialuit (1987) en raison de son importance physique et culturelle. Cette île a été nommée par le commandant John Franklin de la Marine royale le 15 juillet 1826 dans le cadre de sa deuxième expédition d'exploration de l'Arctique. Contrairement aux autres endroits ayant été nommés par Franklin tout au long de cette côte, le journal de bord ne mentionne nullement en l'honneur de quelle personne l'île a été nommée. Le journal de Franklin de même que son récit publié indiquent seulement qu'il voulait rendre hommage au nom Herschel, porté notamment par Sir William Herschel, qui a découvert la planète Uranus, par la soeur de Sir William, Caroline Herschel, qui a découvert huit comètes et par le fils de Sir William, Sir John Herschel, ce brillant homme. Autrement dit, il voulait honorer cette famille scientifique prééminente de la fin de l'époque géorgienne.


Biogeography of freshwater ostracodes in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago   /   Bunbury, J.   Gajewski, K.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 324-332, ill., maps
PCSP/PPCP contribution, no. 046-08
ASTIS record 68346
PDF

Seven species of freshwater ostracodes were identified from the sediments of 43 lakes on eight islands across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. No ostracodes were encountered in the sediments of almost half of the lakes, and most were found at sites that had higher alkalinity. Several taxa endemic to Arctic regions are found across the Arctic Archipelago, including Candona rectangulata Alm, Limnocythere liporeticulata Delorme, and Tonnacypris glacialis Sars. The distributions of Cytherissa lacustris Sars, Cyclocypris globosa Sars, Limnocythere sappaensis Staplin, and Limnocythere (Limnocytherina) camera Delorme are more limited; this fact is attributed to differences in ion composition and concentrations.

Sept espèces d'ostracodes d'eau douce ont été identifiées à partir des sédiments de 43 lacs répartis dans huit îles de l'archipel Arctique canadien. Aucun ostracode n'a été décelé dans les sédiments de près de la moitié des lacs, et la plupart ont été trouvés dans des lieux ayant un taux d'alcalinité plus élevé. Plusieurs taxons endémiques aux régions de l'Arctique se retrouvent à la grandeur de l'archipel Arctique, dont le Candona rectangulata Alm, le Limnocythere liporeticulata Delorme et le Tonnacypris glacialis Sars. Les répartitions de Cytherissa lacustris Sars, de Cyclocypris globosa Sars, de Limnocythere sappaensis Staplin et de Limnocythere (Limnocytherina) camera Delorme sont plus restreintes, ce qui est attribuable aux différences sur le plan de la composition et des concentrations en ions.


Sources of breeding season mortality in Canadian Arctic seabirds   /   Mallory, M.L.   Gaston, A.J.   Gilchrist, H.G.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 333-341, maps
ASTIS record 68347
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In more than 30 years of studies on marine birds in Arctic Canada, we have observed numerous instances of mortality of adults, eggs, and chicks that seem unusual when compared to known sources of mortality for seabirds breeding in temperate or tropical regions. The extreme cold weather and ice conditions of the Arctic might intuitively be expected to be a significant factor in mortality for these Arctic birds. While weather conditions led directly to seabird mortality, other factors, perhaps facilitated by typical Arctic climate features, caused more deaths. In this paper, we summarize mortality incidents that we have witnessed for nine species of Arctic marine birds, as a baseline against which future observations can be made. We also speculate on mechanisms by which climate change could increase mortality of breeding Arctic seabirds in the future.

Dans le cadre d'études sur les oiseaux aquatiques qui se sont échelonnées sur plus de 30 ans dans l'Arctique canadien, nous avons observé de nombreuses incidences de mortalité chez les adultes, dans les oeufs et chez les oisillons, incidences qui semblent inhabituelles lorsqu'elles sont comparées aux sources connues de mortalité des oiseaux de mer qui se reproduisent dans les régions tempérées ou tropicales. Intuitivement, nous croyons que le temps froid extrême et le régime des glaces de l'Arctique peuvent représenter un facteur de mortalité important chez ces oiseaux de l'Arctique. Bien que les conditions climatiques aient directement entraîné la mort des oiseaux de mer, d'autres facteurs, qui sont peut-être déclenchés par les caractéristiques climatiques typiques de l'Arctique, ont occasionné d'autres décès. Dans ce document, nous résumons les incidents de mortalité dont nous avons été témoins pour neuf espèces d'oiseaux aquatiques de l'Arctique comme point de référence en vue d'observations futures. Nous émettons également des hypothèses à propos des mécanismes dans le cadre desquels le changement climatique pourrait accroître la mortalité des oiseaux de mer de l'Arctique en reproduction à l'avenir.


White spruce seedling (Picea glauca) discovered north of the Brooks Range along Alaska's Dalton Highway   /   Elsner, W.K.   Jorgenson, J.C.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 342-344, ill.
ASTIS record 68348
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A white spruce seedling, Picea glauca (Moench) Voss, was found at the northern edge of the Brooks Range in Alaska, more than 50 km north of the latitudinal tree line. The seedling, 19 cm tall and about nine years old, was growing at the side of the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay. It most likely sprouted from a seed transported across the Brooks Range on a vehicle and has survived on the well-drained gravel road berm, where site conditions are more favorable for germination and survival than in the surrounding tundra. This spruce has survived for about a decade under current climatic conditions. Even with a warming climate, natural seed dispersal is severely hampered by the rugged topographic barrier of the Brooks Range. Considering the amount of vehicle traffic on the Dalton Highway, however, it is likely that more pioneering spruce seedlings will turn up along this corridor. Once over the Brooks Range, a spruce population can potentially develop and expand.

Un plant d'épinette blanche, Picea glauca (Moench) Voss, a été trouvé du côté nord de la chaîne de Brooks en Alaska, plus de 50 kilomètres au nord de la limite forestière latitudinale. Le plant de 19 centimètres de hauteur a environ neuf ans et pousse au bord de l'autoroute de Dalton, vers la baie Prudhoe. Il est vraisemblablement le fruit d'une graine transportée par un véhicule à travers la chaîne de Brooks. Il a survécu sur la berme de la route de gravier bien irriguée, où les conditions sont plus favorables à la germination et à la survie des graines que dans la toundra environnante. Cette épinette vit depuis une dizaine d'années dans les conditions climatiques actuelles. Malgré le réchauffement climatique, la dispersion naturelle des graines est gravement entravée par la barrière topographique accidentée de la chaîne de Brooks. Cependant, compte tenu de l'intensité de la circulation routière sur l'autoroute de Dalton, il est fort possible que d'autres plants d'épinettes poussent le long de ce corridor. Une fois de l'autre côté de la chaîne de Brooks, une population d'épinettes pourrait se développer et prendre de l'expansion.


John C. Cantwell (1859-1940) and the Kobuk (Kowak) River, Alaska   /   Walker, H.J.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 345-348, ill.
ASTIS record 68349
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The year 2009 is among our most famous anniversaries: it represents both the 200th year since Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th since Darwin's publication of On the Origin of Species. Interestingly, it is also the 150th anniversary of the birth of Captain John Cassin Cantwell, one of the earliest explorers of Northwest Alaska. ... John Cassin Cantwell, born on 9 January 1859, was only eight years old when Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867. Little did he know that this new territory and its waters would come to dominate his life. ... Cantwell enlisted at age 20 in the United States Revenue Cutter Service (USRCS) with the intention of becoming a career officer. ... After a couple of years sailing with cutters along the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, Cantwell was sent to San Francisco in 1884. There he was assigned to the cutter Thomas Corwin under the command of Captain Michael A. Healy (after whom the present USCGC Healy is named). From the standpoint of Cantwell's adventuresome spirit, this assignment was fortuitous: the Corwin was the first cutter to cruise regularly in the Bering Sea, and Healy was the ideal mentor for someone with Cantwell's ambitions. ... Healy, who had been sailing Alaskan waters since 1874 (beginning less than 10 years after Alaska was purchased), took command of the Corwin in 1884, with Cantwell on board. By that time Healy and other cutter captains, during their routine and rescue patrols, had surveyed much of the shoreline of the Bering Sea and the Alaskan Arctic coast. During 1884 and 1885, the years Healy and Cantwell were on board, the Corwin "launched the longest and most extensive explorations ever conducted by cuttermen on Bering Sea Patrol" (Strobridge and Noble, 1999:81). The circumstances that made it possible for Cantwell to become the RCS explorer of the Kowak River (later to become known as the Kobuk) are an excellent example of being in the right place at the right time. The delta and the lower reaches of the Kowak had been surveyed in 1883 by Lt. George M. Stoney while he was representing the Navy on the cutter Healy captained. As a result of the information gained by Stoney, Healy theorized that the Kowak, if it could be followed to its headwaters, might provide escape route for whalers, who were often stranded along the Arctic coast near Barrow when their vessels became trapped in sea ice. Healy proposed and received Treasury Department approval to make a survey of the river system during his 1884 patrol of the Bering Sea. Thus, when the Corwin reached Cape Krusenstern, Healy dispatched his exploration team. The cutterman who was to head the team was injured while preparing for the task so, as Healy wrote, "Mr. Cantwell being available, I placed him in charge" (Healy, 1889:10). For the 25-year-old Cantwell, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. The orders given him stated, in part, "The Department [Treasury] desiring to ascertain the extent of the Kowak River, together with the character of the country ..., the number, condition, habits, and customs of the inhabitants, and, in general, everything of interest to science and commerce, ... proceed to the mouth of the said river and begin the compilation of data." His orders also charged him with making "as accurate a survey of the river as possible with the instruments furnished" (Cantwell, 1889a:49). ... Despite the vagaries of the steam launch, weather (rain and temperatures in the 90s), difficult river conditions, and mosquitoes, Cantwell was able to ascend the river for 595 km (370 miles). In addition, because he was forced to return to Kotzebue Sound several days early, he was able to make a survey of Selawik Lake, which involved 330 km (205 miles) of travel in a light skin boat. Nonetheless, Cantwell considered the expedition a failure because he did not reach the head of the river. That objective was not to be realized until the following year (1885), when Captain Healy and the Treasury again supported Cantwell in his quest. ... The exploration of the Kowak (Kobuk) River is the dominant exploratory achievement of Cantwell, but he is also notable for other Arctic-related activities. For example, he was the first to make a survey of the New Bogoslov volcano that began to form in 1883 (Cantwell and Yemans, 1889). He added to the debate that was being waged about ice-cliffs during the beginning of the 20th century (Cantwell, 1896) and was a key player in getting reindeer established in Alaska (Cantwell, 1935). And, while Captain of the Revenue Steamer Nunivak in 1899-1901, he sent out exploratory teams from the Yukon River, some during winter (Cantwell, 1902). His 1902 report was declared "one of the finest books ever written about Alaska" by the explorer General Adolphus Greely (Frantz, 1940:2). Between 1884 and 1901, Cantwell's activities were mostly in the Arctic, usually with the RCS's Bering Sea Fleet. ...


Chauncey Chester Loomis Jr. (1930-2009)   /   Martin, C.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 361-362, ill.
ASTIS record 68351
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Chauncey Chester Loomis Jr. died in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on March 17, 2009, after a courageous fight against lung cancer. He will best be remembered by Arctic historians as the author of Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall (Loomis, 1971) and an extended essay, The Arctic Sublime (Loomis, 1977). ... Chauncey was born on June 1, 1930 in New York City to Chauncey and Elizabeth McLanahan Loomis. Having completed his schooling in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and at Philips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, he received a BA from Princeton in 1952, an MA from Columbia in 1955, and a PhD from Princeton in 1966. After serving overseas with the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he taught briefly at the University of Vermont before beginning his long career teaching English and American literature at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, from which he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1997. Though solidly literary, Chauncey's professional interests were far more varied than his education might indicate. An outstanding photographer, he developed a passion for exploratory travel, seeking traces of the lost Inca civilization in Peru. He photographed the native people and wildlife of Kenya, and in the late 1970s, he traveled with friends to Sikkim in the Himalayas. In 1964 he made a motion picture of the muskoxen of Nunivak Island, Alaska, which became a CBS special entitled Wild River, Wild Beasts. Five expeditions to the Arctic helped to inspire his best-known work, Weird and Tragic Shores, which focuses on the mysterious death of Charles Francis Hall on the west coast of Greenland in 1871. Hall, a Cincinnati journalist and businessman, mounted an expedition to find the grave of Sir John Franklin and learn, if possible, the cause of his death. Did the 50-year-old Hall die of natural causes, or was he perhaps murdered? With the aid of a Smithsonian grant, Chauncey organized and led an expedition to Thank God Harbor, Greenland, in 1968. The purpose was to disinter Hall's body and take samples of his hair and fingernails to a forensic laboratory in Toronto to determine whether Hall had been poisoned. Although the analysis did show an abnormally high level of arsenic, the question of murder was inconclusive, and it remains so to this day. First published by Alfred Knopf in 1971, then by the University of Nebraska Press in 1991 and The Modern Library in 2000, Chauncey's study is now a classic in its field. Writing in the New York Times in 2001, the popular polar historian Sara Wheeler (2001:3) declared that, better than any subsequent writers on the subject, Chauncey Loomis "unravels the expedition brilliantly and also offers a concise intelligent introduction to the history of Arctic exploration." ... Weird and Tragic Shores became the subject of a CBC televised documentary soon after it was first published and has been translated into several languages. ... Almost certainly Chauncey's second most important contribution to Arctic studies was his seminal essay "The Arctic Sublime," published in Nature and the Victorian Imagination (Loomis, 1977). The essay was perhaps the first to examine the watercolours and drawings of the explorer-artists of the 19th century and earlier, and their relationship to their journals and narratives. As Loomis persuasively demonstrates, their artistic renditions were not only technically polished and highly expressive, but also strongly influenced by the dominant aesthetics of the period and by the philosophical concept of the Arctic Sublime, popularized in the early 19th century and still current at the time of Franklin's death. Nevertheless, by the end of the 19th century, as Chauncey notes, "although the North Pole had not yet been reached, the Arctic had been thoroughly explored, studied, and mapped. ... The mystery was gone in fact if not in fiction. The Sublime cannot be mapped" (Loomis, 1977:12). A lifetime member of the Arctic Institute of North America, Chauncey became a visiting Fellow when he travelled to the University of Calgary in 1987 and gave a talk, entitled "The Unsolved Arctic Murder?" based on his expedition to uncover the grave of Charles Francis Hall. He also wrote many critical essays on Arctic subjects for The London Review of Books, including reviews of Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams and Pierre Berton's Arctic Grail (Loomis, 1986, 1989). ... In his retirement, Loomis enjoyed alternating annual fishing trips to Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand, and Canada. He served on the boards of various institutions, including Philips Exeter Academy, The Hotchkiss School, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and Chesterwood, the home of sculptor Daniel Chester French. As part of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Chauncey established a fund to help Berkshire County Massachusetts high school students attend college. ...


The McGill Axel Heiberg Expeditions : reconnaissance year, 1959   /   Adams, P.
Arctic, v. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 363-369, ill., maps
ASTIS record 68352
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Fifty years ago, in 1959, the first of several McGill University expeditions to Axel Heiberg Island in what is now Nunavut, Canada, took place. These "expeditions" were succeeded over the years by a series of field seasons, almost unbroken right down to the present, involving universities and other research organizations from around the globe. Today the base of the original expeditions at Expedition Fiord, western Axel Heiberg Island, has become the McGill Arctic Research Station. Adjacent to it is the Canadian Space Agency's analogue research site, part of the agency's Analogue Research Network. ... The decade that ended in 1959 was one in which there was great interest in the polar regions. Like the current decade, it included an international polar year (the International Geophysical Year, which had a strong focus on high-latitude science). In northern Canada, the Cold War stimulated a great deal of activity, notably the completion of the air photo coverage of Canada, the construction of the DEW Line and other anti-missile facilities, and the establishment of weather stations in the sub-Arctic and High Arctic (Thomas, 1974). Many of these activities were, to a greater or lesser extent, joint USA-Canada enterprises. The operation of Soviet and American nuclear submarines in the Arctic Ocean stimulated Canadian investments in the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP), which began as a federal research and mapping program on Canada's Arctic shelf, but by the end of the decade had evolved into the research expedition support system that it is today (Foster and Marino, 1986). PCSP is but one example of federal involvement in the North during the 1950s. Using current names to evoke some of the federal agencies of the day, the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Fisheries and Oceans, Indian and Northern Affairs, Transport Canada, the Armed Forces, and others were all active in research and survey activities across the North in those days, the GSC particularly so (Adams, 2007). In that decade, Canadian universities were becoming major players in research in the Canadian North, laying the foundation for a massive expansion of university research in the following decades. ...


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