The making of an Arctic naturalist / Salomonsen, F.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 90-94
ASTIS record 10218
One of the greatest impressions of my life was my first visit to Greenland. I was a mere boy at that time, only sixteen years old .... This visit to Greenland changed my life. I lost my heart to the Arctic and realized that I must return to learn more of the secrets behind the Polar beauty. This was not my birth as a naturalist, to be sure, since from early boyhood I had wanted to study nature and its creatures, but during this Greenland trip I received a special challenge: my endeavours were now directed towards a distinct though faraway goal. ... When in 1925 at the age of sixteen I joined Schiøler's Greenland expedition I had been a member of the Danish Ornithological Society and the Danish Natural History Society for two years, admittedly an extraordinarily young member. ... I was interested in most animal groups, although favouring birds and various marine invertebrates. During that time I made the acquaintance of Dr. C. G. Johs. Petersen, director of the "Biological Station", in those days the Danish institute for marine biological research. ... I spent many evenings in Dr. Petersen's home, learning and discussing marine zoology. I was seriously inclined to choose that field, rather than ornithology, as my future specialty, until I met Ejler Lehn Schiøler, and one year later received the offer to accompany him to Greenland. Schiøler was a remarkable man. He was a banker who became very wealthy but in his spare time he was an ardent student of ornithology and succeeded in gathering a collection of more than 25,000 skins of western palearctic birds, besides skeletons and eggs. He built a large museum for his collections with an ornithological library. ... Naturally, I admired this great scientist, and in his study, when he showed me his birds and told me about the problems they posed, I gradually decided to be an ornithologist. When we left for Greenland in 1925, altogether five men, in order to collect and study the birds of the west coast, it was still the old regime. The native population lived literally under stone-age conditions, mildly ruled by the patriarchal Danish government. The Greenlanders had not changed their ancient Eskimo-like habits, living in turf-houses, wearing their seal-skin kamiks and anoraqs, and sailing in kayaks and umiaks. While writing this I am sitting in a hotel in one of the modern Greenland cities, with factories, canneries, noisy motor traffic on the broad streets and in the busy harbour, certainly a far cry from the conditions during my first visit almost 50 years ago. The primitive life of the Eskimos was, of course, something quite extraordinary for a school-boy who had just left his books. I tried to learn as much as possible about these people and their country in the short time, less than four months, in which we stayed in Greenland, and succeeded to a degree. The main thing, however, was the bird life. Series of practically all Greenland species were secured. ... I think it was the solemnity which fascinated me so much, a solemnity effected by the extreme quietness and the purity and severity of the country. ... I felt myself in a forgotten world, remote and lonely, resting in quietness, untouched by man, unspoiled. I could move around hour after hour; nothing disturbed the impression of beauty, and the changing horizons seemed endless. Here I was nearer nature's heart than anywhere else, and here I sensed a strange harmony. I admit that not all people would feel that way. ... the Arctic is so extremely simple and clear! Everything unnecessary has been removed; here there are no forests, no houses, no people; only the very backbone of nature is left. From a biological viewpoint it is significant that the number of animal and plant species is so reduced that their ecology, their mutual relationship, their adaptations to the environment are much easier to study in the polar than in the tropical regions. ... All this makes the Arctic in some respects the ideal working ground for a biologist. ... This rapport with the arctic regions has brought continuing richness and rejuvenation to my life. I have been true to my first love, and I have made several later visits to the far north; it still provides a challenge and an inspiration. By many regarded as a godforsaken waste, the polar regions are to me a place where the divine manifestation is more apparent than in other parts of the world.
Ecological modifications caused by the removal of tree and shrub canopies in the Mackenzie Delta / Gill, D.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 95-111, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 10219
Environmental and floristic evidence is presented to show that after removal of the white spruce (Picea glauca) and willow-alder (Salix spp.-Alnus crispa) canopies from exposed sites in the Mackenzie River Delta, Northwest Territories, environmental degradation is such that secondary succession of low-arctic tundra heath, moss and lichen species takes place. The extreme exposure of cleared sites enables a hardy group of tundra plants to compete with the local flora and invade the previously forested location. Site degeneration is further evidenced by turf hummocks and a characteristic "hummock-type" active layer configuration that developed within only 20 years after clear-cutting.
Modifications écologiques causées par l'enlèvement des couvertures arborescente et broussailleuse dans le delta du Mackenzie. L'auteur présente des exemples écologiques et floristiques qui démontrent qu'après l'enlèvement du couvert d'épinette blanche (Picea glauca) et de la saulaie-aulnaie (Salix spp.-Alnus crispa) de sites exposés dans le delta du Mackenzie, Territoires du Nord-Ouest, la dégradation du milieu est telle qu'une succession secondaire d'espèces toundriques basses: bruyères, mousses et lichens, s'installe. L'extrême exposition de ces sites découverts permet à un robuste groupe de plantes de la toundra de concurrencer la flore locale et d'envahir l'ancien site forestier. La formation de thufurs et une configuration caractéristique du gélisol en buttes qui se développe dans les vingt ans qui suivent la coupe à blanc, marquent encore plus la dégénérescence du site.
Barriers to range extension of Atlantic and Pacific salmon in Arctic North America / Salonius, P.O.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 112-122, maps
ASTIS record 10220
The long arctic coastlines between Alaskan salmon stocks and the Mackenzie River, and between Atlantic salmon of Ungava and Hudson Bay, are seen as major barriers to range extension as the rivers on these coastlines are not capable of being colonized. The potential of subarctic fresh water as spawning and nursery areas for anadromous salmon may be worth testing in the Hudson Bay and Mackenzie drainages. The possible reasons for exclusion of sockeye, chinook and coho salmon from arctic Alaskan coastlines and Atlantic salmon from arctic coastlines in northern Quebec are discussed. The arguments are based upon the North American situation but may have some bearing on the situation in northern U.S.S.R. The rapidity with which civilization is modifying northern waters is emphasized.
Notes on the birds of Southampton Island, Northwest Territories / Parker, G.R. Ross, R.K.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 123-129, 1 map
ASTIS record 10221
During the summers of 1970 and 1971, 46 species were seen on Southampton Island, most in the interior of the island where previous records were scarce. A comparison with observations in 1932 suggests little change in the status of the avifauna of the island over the past 40 years.
Nitrogen fixation in Arctic coastal tundra in relation to vegetation and micro-relief / Schell, D.M. Alexander, V.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 130-137, ill., maps
ASTIS record 10222
A study to estimate nitrogen fixation input in arctic coastal tundra was carried out using the acetylene reduction assay. Areal estimation was attempted by high intensity sampling over a limited area of tundra containing both high-centred and low-centred polygons with their corresponding variations in micro-vegetation. The highest average rates of acetylene reduction were obtained from cores in damp interpolygonal troughs (10.50 µmoles ethylene/m²-hr) where mats of the blue-green alga Nostoc were abundant. Wet moss-algal associations in hydric meadows showed high nitrogenase activity (average 6.86 µmoles ethylene/m²-hr) and dry high-centred polygons were comparatively inactive (2.80 µmoles ethylene/m²-hr). The lichens Peltigera sp. and Stereocaulon sp. were the most active nitrogen fixers in the drier tundra. Nitrogen fixation increased with rising temperature with a measured Q10 for Nostoc commune of 3.7.
Significance of brooding to the energy demands of Alaskan Rock Ptarmigan chicks / Theberge, J.B. West, G.C.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 138-148, 1 ill.
ASTIS record 10223
Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) chicks are brooded periodically during the first few days of life; longer in cold and rainy weather. Computed minimum foraging time in adverse weather conditions is 96 minutes/24 hours. Crop analysis and calorimetry of the 6 major food items show that a full crop may contain up to 0.47 kcals. Energy requirements were calculated for both an 18-gram chick and a 30-gram chick. The 18-gram chick required between 34 and 50 crop loads per 24 hours. With 96 minutes foraging time, and the observed pecking rates, this was considered possible. The 30-gram chick required twice as much foraging time but since it was approaching homeothermy, it was tentatively concluded that neither was that chick being handicapped by brooding. Vagaries in early survival of rock ptarmigan chicks, therefore, are not due to differences in post-hatch weather.
Water supply and waste disposal systems for Arctic communities / Heinke, G.W. Deans, B.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 149-159, 1 map
ASTIS record 10224
The special problems of providing adequate water supply and waste disposal systems for arctic settlements are examined at the community of Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories. The two existing methods, a trucked and a piped system, are compared for adequacy, reliability and cost. A series of alternative improvements to upgrade community services is proposed. It was concluded that any of the suggested alternatives up to the level of complete piped services are feasible from engineering and economic points of view.
Northern teaching : incentives and motivations / Ross, W.G. Westgate, A.G.W.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 160-162
ASTIS record 10225
Shortage of skilled labour has been one of the foremost problems of the remote and sparsely-settled regions of the circumpolar North, and incentives have had to be employed to attract people away from established and comfortable roles in the South for the complex tasks associated with the development of northern regions. ... The incentives now used are mainly financial and appear to be based on the principle that southern people expect to experience physical discomfort, cultural and social deprivation and perhaps psychological stress in northern environments, and will therefore require substantial financial advantages and opportunities for periodic escape to the South. ... The purpose of this short paper is to suggest that other, less tangible considerations may also be effective in attracting and retaining immigrant workers, especially in those tertiary sectors of the economy oriented towards development of northern regions and peoples, such as teaching. Opportunities for human involvement in the North appear to be very important and should be taken into consideration by employers. The school system of the Northwest Territories relies almost entirely on teachers from southern Canada (mainly the Western provinces) and offers them moving expenses, higher salary, a settlement allowance (which, for a married teacher on Baffin Island, could exceed $3000), subsidized annual vacation transportation to the South, and a bonus for capability in a native language. How effective are these incentives? Do other incentives exist? We decided to ask northern teachers. A questionnaire was designed to obtain information on teachers' age, origin, marital status, qualifications, experience, reasons for going North, time spent in the North, reasons for staying there, future intentions, and attitudes towards incentives. In January 1972, 485 copies of the questionnaire were sent to the principals of all the schools of the Northwest Territories, with the request that they be made available to teachers. The 84 responses from 27 schools represented about 17 per cent of the total number of teachers (1971-72) and half of the schools. The results did not support the common impression that teachers are attracted North mainly by financial incentives. Respondents were asked to rank 7 factors according to importance in their own decision to go North. ... It is clear that, in the main, teachers do not regard financial benefits as the principal factor in their decision to go North. Interest in the region and its peoples, the desire to travel to a new and different environment, and the opportunity to participate in the challenging task of northern development, rank as highly, or more so. Furthermore, the survey showed that the general nature of life and work in the North (less pollution and haste; more significant personal relationships within the community; a stronger sense of purpose in teaching Eskimo and Indian children; more room for innovation on the job) far exceeded financial considerations in the decision to remain there for more than one year. ... Some individuals, of course, have been attracted primarily by the apparently generous salary scales and fringe benefits, but the returns indicated that, as a group, these teachers have spent less time in the North than those motivated by other reasons and are less likely to remain for another year or to consider permanent residence .... Interest, involvement and commitment therefore appear to be more effective bases for prolonged residence than financial considerations. The survey also indicated that the annual rate of turnover among teachers may have declined. ... Reflecting what appears to be an increasing stability within the northern teaching force, almost half (48 per cent) stated they would "consider remaining permanently in the North". ...
Polar bear predation on beluga in the Canadian Arctic / Freeman, M.M.R.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 162-163
ASTIS record 10226
During May 1970, while conducting field work at Grise Fiord in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, a local hunter reported that a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) had successfully caught 3 beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) during March near King Edward VII Point (76°08' N, 81°08' W), the extreme southeast cape of Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. As none of the fifteen local hunters had ever witnessed such an event, and only one had ever heard of it before, I assumed bear predation on whales to be very rare, and consequently recorded whatever information I could obtain at the time. According to the hunter's narrative, movement of a partially grounded iceberg about 200 metres offshore had prevented freezing of a small area of water surrounding the berg. ... it seems probable that a small number of beluga had endeavoured to pass the winter in the open water alongside this berg. At some time in March a medium-sized female bear had caught and removed an adult female beluga together with another adult and a grey-coloured subadult beluga both of unspecified sex; the adult female beluga was dragged about 7 metres from the edge of the water, the other two a shorter distance only. ... Four days later on reaching the site of the whale kill, only the carcass of the grey beluga remained; apparently movement of the berg had broken up the ice and no trace of the other two carcasses could be found. The remaining carcass was attracting large numbers of glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) and some ravens (Corvus corax) and earlier that day two male bears had been present. The smaller of the two bears had walked backwards dragging the beluga carcass tail-first in a zig-zag course a distance of about 150 metres from an earlier resting place on the ice. Inspection of the carcass indicated loss of all skin and fat, and most of the meat from head and trunk; fracture of the occipital bones had occurred, but it is not known if this damage was suffered before or after death. An eyewitness account of a polar bear killing beluga in Novaya Zemblya however, relates how the bear lies with outstretched paws on the ice and delivers a blow to the head when the whale surfaces within range. ... There appears no reason to doubt that the hunter reporting this event had, as he believed, discovered the beluga shortly after they were caught in March, nor that the tracks of the medium-sized female bear near the carcasses at that time were those of the predator. According to the description given, such a bear would weigh in the range of 130 to 180 kilograms, or about one-fifth the probable weight of each adult beluga it had successfully killed and removed from the water. The only other reports on bears killing beluga I can find in the literature appear contradictory. One asserts that, in the Baffin Bay region, at small openings in the ice where whales are sometimes trapped in winter, "a small flock of bears will congregate and kill a small whale, which they will then drag up on to the ice and eat". The other commentary, relating to the Eurasian arctic, suggests that attacks on beluga by single bears are quite frequent, and that when a bear discovers a pod of trapped whales it remains nearby and successively kills them (up to 13 are reliably reported). This present report of a multiple killing by a solitary bear, substantiated by direct inspection shortly after the event, establishes that there is no difference between Eurasian and North American polar bears in regard to this predatory behaviour.
Mammal and bird names in the Indian languages of the Lake Athabasca region / Höhn, E.O.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 163-171
ASTIS record 10227
... The lists given below are, of course, not complete in the sense that a native name is given for every species for which some one, Cree, Chipewyan or metis in the Lake Athabasca area knows such a name. ... However, as the lists were collected by one with a special interest in birds and mammals (and this does not generally apply to the compilers of dictionaries), they do, in fact, contain more native names of species or species groups (generic names in the linguistic, not the zoological sense) than the dictionaries of the languages in question known to me. ... My informants for Cree names were Mr. Henry Powder, a long-time resident of Camsell Portage, Saskatchewan, originally from Lac la Biche, Alberta; Mr. Solomon Cardinal of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, and Mrs. A. Anderson of Edmonton, originally from the nearby Calahoo Indian reserve, who has edited a Plains-Cree-English dictionary. The Chipewyan names were obtained in 1972 from Fr. F. Marcel, chief of the Chipewyan band at Fort Chipewyan. I have also drawn on a list I prepared in 1949 with the help of Mr. George Norm, an elderly Chipewyan or metis who lived at the mouth of the Little Buffalo River on Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. ...
University of Colorado: 1972 field season on east Baffin Island / Andrews, J.T. Barry, R.G. Jacobs, J.D.
Arctic, v. 26, no. 2, June 1973, p. 171-172
ASTIS record 10228
SEA ICE. Studies of surface energy budgets on the fast ice at Broughton Island 67°35' N, 63°50' W) were undertaken from late May to August 1972. The program included micrometeorological measurements on the fast ice and ice thickness surveys. Climatological observations including radiation studies begun in June 1971 by The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at a site in Broughton village were continued. The summer of 1972 was one of unusually severe ice conditions for this section of Davis Strait, and the results of our winter 1971-72 and summer 1972 fieldwork are being examined together with synoptic data in an attempt to understand this situation. Meteorological satellite data are being analyzed to obtain regional extrapolations of synoptic surface energy budgets. BOAS GLACIER. The Boas Glacier was visited in early June, at which time snow pits and probing were used to estimate the winter balance. The mean snow depth based on 190 probes was 0.948 m with a standard error of ±0.06 m. Average snow density was 0.326 g/cm³ giving a specific winter balance of 0.31 m H2O. The glacier could not be visited in August due to extremely bad ice conditions, but on the basis of the weather in previous years we predict that the net specific balance will be positive and greater than 0.3 m H2O. The strain diamond was remeasured and analysis indicates that the principal strain axis is directed down-glacier and shows a compressive strain of 10**-6 yr (based on 2 years of measurements). Using the Boas Glacier mass balance data, a discriminant equation has been developed based on September to May accumulation at Broughton Island, and accumulated summer degree days (June, July, August). Investigations of other mass balance data suggest that the Broughton Island data constitute a sensitive predictor of mass balances as far north as Devon Island. This finding ... indicates a broad similarity of climatic events throughout major sections of the Arctic. QUATERNARY GEOLOGY. Investigations on Neoglacial, Wisconsin and pre-Wisconsin local ice advances were carried out in the area between Cape Dyer and Padloping Island. Echo soundings indicated the presence of glacio-marine deltas at depths of 30 m below sea level. Dr. G. Boulton, University of East Anglia, Norwich, visited the area and collected a peat monolith in front of the Maktak Glacier, and Dr. M. Church, University of British Columbia, carried out investigations on the Maktak sandur.
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