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An Arctic science policy? All we need is a sovereignty crisis   /   Pyc, C.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. iii-iv
ASTIS record 46270
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... The general consensus appears to be that the Canadian government has lost interest in the Arctic. However we need only to examine our history to see that Canadians, and the government as their representative, have never really been interested in Arctic science and research - that is, unless our Arctic sovereignty seemed to be threatened by a competing interest. ... What policy exists in regard to Canada's polar regions has evolved out of ... knee-jerk reactions. ... Throughout the 1990s, with Arctic sovereignty no longer a hot issue, the government has gone silent on the issue of polar research, pausing once to create the Canadian Polar Commission, and then subsequently cutting the budgets of departments and institutions that support the discovery of polar knowledge. As we enter the 21st century, we will undoubtedly be faced with future perceived encroachments of foreign actors on Canadian soil. Is it true that Canada's effective occupation of the Arctic will diminish with increasing foreign activity there? Can we consider the actions on Axel Heiberg last summer sufficient threat to Canadian sovereignty? If this is the case, then can we expect government, urged on by polar scientists, to respond with an Arctic science policy? ... The only thing that will bring the Arctic back to Canada is not a quick-fix patch, but a concerted effort to mend the relationship through an integrated national science policy with an associated strategic plan, and a strategy for polar science as a component of that plan.


Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) diet in Karupelv Valley, East Greenland, during a summer with low lemming density   /   Dalerum, F.   Angerbjörn, A.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 1-8, ill., map
ASTIS record 46258
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We investigated the diet of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in the Karupelv valley, East Greenland, during the summer of 1997. Despite a low density, lemmings were the most utilized prey, comprising 65.3% of dry fecal weight in fresh feces. This demonstrates the importance of lemming species as prey for arctic foxes all through a lemming cycle. Birds, arctic hare (Lepus arcticus), and insects also contributed to the diet. Arctic fox remains suggested that the foxes had scavenged their own species. Vegetation, muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), and seal (Phocidae) were found in small amounts. We compared estimates of prey availability and diets of arctic foxes for a coastal area (<10 km from the shore) and an inland area (>10 km from the shore). Abundance of avian prey tended to be higher in the coastal area. Fresh feces indicated a significant overall difference in arctic fox diets between the coastal and inland areas. Within prey categories, lemmings were significantly more represented in the inland area, while the coastal area had a more diverse diet overall. We also suggest that the existence of arctic foxes in East Greenland is dependent on regular peak years in lemming density.

Au cours de l'été de 1997, on a étudié le régime alimentaire du renard arctique (Alopex lagopus) dans la vallée de la Karupelv (Groenland oriental). Malgré sa faible densité, le lemming était la proie la plus courante, constituant 65,3 p. cent de poids fécal sec dans les excréments frais. Ce fait illustre l'importance de l'espèce du lemming comme proie pour le renard arctique durant un cycle complet de lemmings. Les oiseaux, le lièvre arctique (Lepus arcticus) et les insectes entraient aussi dans le régime alimentaire. Des restes de renard arctique donnent à penser que les renards se nourrissaient des charognes de leurs congénères. On a trouvé de petites quantités de plantes, de boeuf musqué (Ovibos moschatus) et de phoque (Phocidae). On a comparé les estimations de la disponibilité des proies et le régime des renards arctiques pour une région côtière (< 10 km du rivage) et pour une région à l'intérieur des terres (> 10 km du rivage). L'abondance des proies aviaires tendait à être plus grande dans la région côtière. Les excréments frais révélaient une différence globale importante dans le régime du renard arctique entre la région côtière et l'intérieur des terres. Si l'on considère les catégories de proies, le lemming se retrouvait en quantité relativement plus élevée dans la région située à l'intérieur des terres, alors que la région côtière avait dans l'ensemble un régime plus diversifié. On suggère également que l'existence du renard arctique dans l'est du Groenland est liée à la régularité des années d'abondance dans la densité de lemmings.


Cumulative impacts of tourist resorts on wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) during winter   /   Nellemann, C.   Jordhøy, P.   Støen, O.-G.   Strand, O.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 9-17, ill., map
ASTIS record 46259
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Potential avoidance by wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) of high-altitude tourist resorts during winter was investigated in and near Rondane National Park in Norway. Distribution of reindeer was mapped using systematic snowmobile surveys during 1991-96 and compared with results from investigations of snow and vegetation characteristics. Maternal reindeer avoided a 10 km zone around the resort. Cows and calves increased in density from 0.6 ± 0.6 reindeer/km² at 5-10 km from the resort to 7.6 ± 2.2 reindeer/km² at 15-25 km from the resort. Bulls and yearlings were more tolerant, constituting nearly 92% of all observed animals 5-10 km from the resort. Nearly all animals avoided the zone within 5 km of the resort. There were no significant differences in distribution of lichen heath, hardness of snow, integrated ram hardness index (IRH) values, or snow depths on ridges with increasing distance from the resort. Available biomass of lichens was ca. 1200 g/m² 0-5 km from the resort and decreased to a low of ca. 250 g/m² at 15-25 km distance, a pattern that probably reflects overgrazing as a result of avoiding the tourist resort. Such avoidance implies reduced forage intake during winter, substantial reduction in available habitat, and lower productivity of the herd. The results suggest that avoidance by wild animals of sources of anthropogenic disturbance may involve long-term impacts, such as reductions in carrying capacity, that are more serious than those expected from direct physiological stress.

On a étudié le comportement d'évitement des stations touristiques de haute altitude que semble manifester le renne sauvage (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) en hiver, dans le parc national Rondane même et dans ses environs, en Norvège. La distribution du renne a été cartographiée à l'aide de relevés systématiques effectués en motoneige entre 1991 et 1996, et comparée avec les résultats d'études des caractéristiques de la neige et de la végétation. Les mères rennes évitaient une zone de 10 km autour de la station. Les femelles et leurs petits augmentaient en densité de 0,6 ± 0,6 renne/km² entre 5 et 10 km de la station, à 7,6 ± 2,2 renne/km² entre 15 et 25 km de la station. Les mâles et les jeunes d'un an manifestaient une plus grande tolérance, représentant près de 92 p. cent de tous les animaux observés entre 5 et 10 km de la station. Pratiquement tous les animaux évitaient la zone située dans un rayon de 5 km. On n'a pas trouvé de différences significatives en fonction de l'éloignement de la station, dans la distribution de la bruyère à lichens, la dureté de la neige, les valeurs de l'indice intégré de dureté au bélier ou l'épaisseur nivale sur les crêtes. La biomasse de lichens disponible était d'environ 1200 g/m² entre 0 et 5 km de la station et diminuait à un minimum d'environ 250 g/m² à une distance de 15 à 25 km, répartition qui reflète probablement un surpâturage résultant de l'évitement de la station touristique. Ce comportement a pour conséquence une réduction de la consommation de végétation durant l'hiver, une réduction substantielle de l'habitat disponible et une diminution de la productivité du troupeau. Les résultats suggèrent que l'évitement de sources de perturbation anthropogénique par les animaux sauvages peut avoir des répercussions à long terme, comme des baisses de la capacité de charge biogénique, répercussions qui sont plus graves que celles auxquelles on s'attend d'un stress physiologique direct.


Muskoxen in Angujaartorfiup Nunaa, West Greenland : monitoring, spatial distribution, population growth, and sustainable harvest   /   Pedersen, C.B.   Aastrup, P.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 18-26, ill., maps
ASTIS record 46260
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In the 1960s, 27 muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) were introduced to Angujaartorfiup Nunaa, which is located next to Kangerlussuaq Airport in West Greenland. Data from 12 aerial surveys of muskoxen from 1986 to 1996 show 1) that the population has stabilized at 3000 muskoxen since hunting was initiated in 1988, 2) that the population has maintained a high level of reproduction during the study period, and 3) that an annual kill of about 700 muskoxen will maintain the population at its current level if natural mortality and reproduction remain unchanged. Using a geographical information system to subdivide data by topography and altitude showed that muskoxen greatly favour valleys and lowland areas. Densities of muskoxen above 500 m above sea level were less than 51% of densities below 500 m above sea level.

Dans les années 1960, 27 boeufs musqués (Ovibos moschatus) ont été relâchés à Angujaartorfiup Nunaa, qui est situé près de l'aéroport de Kangerlussuaq, dans le Groenland occidental. Des données provenant de 12 relevés aériens de boeufs musqués, effectués entre 1986 et 1996, montrent que: 1) la population s'est stabilisée à 3000 individus depuis l'instauration de la chasse en 1988; 2) la population a maintenu un niveau élevé de reproduction durant la période de l'étude; et 3) l'abattage annuel d'environ 700 individus devrait permettre de maintenir la population à son niveau actuel si la mortalité et la reproduction naturelles demeurent inchangées. L'utilisation d'un système d'information géographique pour subdiviser les données selon la topographie et l'altitude a montré que le boeuf musqué manifeste une préférence marquée pour les vallées et les zones de faible altitude. Les densités de boeufs musqués trouvées à plus de 500 m au-dessus du niveau de la mer étaient inférieures à 51 p. cent des densités trouvées à moins de 500 m d'altitude.


Late Quaternary vegetation history of Sulphur Lake, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada   /   Lacourse, T.   Gajewski, K.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 27-35, ill., maps
ASTIS record 46261
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Paleoecological studies based on the analysis of pollen in lake sediments offer the potential for high resolution and well-dated independent records of past vegetation and climate. A 5 m sediment core was raised from the deepest section of Sulphur Lake, located in the southwest Yukon (60.95°N, 137.95°W; 847 m a.s.l.). The pollen spectra indicate that before 11250 yr BP, the vegetation was a herbaceous tundra marked by the presence of Artemisia. However, the date of the establishment of this initial vegetation cannot be secured because of problems with the basal radiocarbon date and the lack of a reliable chronology of regional deglaciation. A birch shrub tundra prevailed between 11250 and 10250 yr BP and was then replaced by a discontinuous poplar woodland. Juniperus populations expanded at 9500 yr BP, and by 8400 yr BP, Picea invaded the region. The white spruce forest that occupies the region today was established by approximately 8000 yr BP. Alnus crispa increased at 6000 yr BP, but the simultaneous increase in Picea mariana found at most sites in the Yukon was not present at Sulphur Lake. Black spruce was never a dominant component of the vegetation in the southwest Yukon, as it was in the south-central Yukon between 6100 and 4100 yr BP.

Les études paléoécologiques fondées sur l'analyse de pollens de sédiments lacustres offrent la possibilité d'obtenir une chronologie de la paléovégétation et du paléoclimat à haute résolution et avec une datation précise. Une carotte de sédiment de 5 m a été prélevée dans la section la plus profonde de Sulphur Lake, situé au sud-ouest du Yukon (60,95° N., 137,95° O.; 847 m alt.). D'après les spectres polliniques, la végétation a été une toundra herbacée marquée par la présence d'Artemisia avant 11 250 ans B.P. Cependant, la date de colonisation de cette végétation ne peut être déterminée de façon définitive à cause des problèmes de datation du début de la séquence sédimentologique et l'absence d'une chronologie fiable de la déglaciation régionale. Une toundra arbustive à bouleau a prédominé entre 11250 B.P. et 10250 ans B.P., et a ensuite été remplacée par une région boisée de peuplier discontinu. Les populations de Juniperus ont augmenté vers 9500 ans B.P. et, vers 8400 ans B.P., Picea a colonisé la région. La forêt relativement fermée d'épinettes blanches qui occupe la région aujourd'hui s'est établie vers 8000 ans B.P. Alnus crispa s'est répandu il y a environ 6000 ans B.P. Alors qu'on retrouve une augmentation de Picea mariana à cette époque dans la plupart des sites dans le Territoire du Yukon, celle-ci n'a pas eu lieu à Sulphur Lake. L'épinette noire n'a jamais été une composante dominante de la végétation au sud-ouest du Yukon comme elle l'a été entre 6100 et 4100 ans B.P. au centre-sud du Yukon.


Distribution and numbers of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in northwestern Hudson Bay in August 1995   /   Cosens, S.E.   Innes, S.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 36-41, maps
ASTIS record 46262
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There is interest among the Inuit of Nunavut in renewing subsistence hunting of bowhead whales. Managing a limited harvest while allowing for stock recovery from commercial whaling requires some estimate of stock numbers. The large geographic range of bowhead whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic precludes cost-effective estimation of total stock size; however, estimates of summer aggregation sizes can be derived from sampling of summering areas. Although these numbers do not represent total stock size, they do provide indicators of the minimum number of bowheads known to be present and may be useful as indices for monitoring stock recovery. A visual aerial survey conducted in northwestern Hudson Bay resulted in an estimate of 75 ± 27.5 (95% Confidence Interval = 17-133) bowhead whales. This estimate is conservative because it was not corrected for submerged whales or for whales that were at the surface but not seen by observers. Most sightings of whales were made in Repulse Bay and Frozen Strait.

Parmi les Inuit du Nunavut, on s'intéresse à reprendre la chasse de subsistance à la baleine boréale. La gestion d'une récolte limitée, qui permettrait au stock de baleine boréale de se rétablir des effets de la pêche commerciale, demande qu'on ait une idée du nombre d'individus qui composent cette population. L'ampleur du territoire géographique de la baleine boréale dans l'Arctique canadien oriental écarte la possibilité de réaliser une estimation du nombre total d'individus, qui soit efficace en terme de coûts; il est cependant possible de dériver des estimations de la taille des concentrations estivales à partir d'échantillonnages de zones d'estivage. Bien que ces nombres ne représentent pas la taille totale du stock, ils fournissent des indications sur le nombre minimum de baleines boréales dont on a attesté la présence et ils peuvent servir d'indicateurs pour la gestion du rétablissement du stock. Un relevé visuel aérien mené dans le nord-ouest de la baie d'Hudson a donné une estimation de 75 ± 27,5 (intervalle de confiance de 95 p. cent = 17-133) baleines boréales. Cette estimation est prudente car elle n'a pas été corrigée pour tenir compte des baleines submergées ou de celles qui étaient en surface mais qui n'auraient pas été aperçues par les observateurs. La plupart des observations de baleines ont été faites à Repulse Bay et Frozen Strait.


A method for estimating caribou consumption by northern Canadians   /   Tracy, B.L.   Kramer, G.H.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 42-52, ill.
ASTIS record 46263
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Caribou is an important source of protein in the diet of northern Canadians. It is also an important pathway for airborne environmental contaminants that concentrate in the lichen - caribou - human food chain. We present a method for estimating caribou consumption that is independent of questionnaires and dietary surveys. The method is based on direct, whole-body measurements of fallout radiocesium in northern caribou consumers and on measurements of the concentrations of radiocesium in the meat. From the 1989-90 surveys of five Arctic communities, we obtained the following mean (90th percentile) intakes of caribou meat in grams per day: Baker Lake - males 65 (141), females 41 (88); Rae-Edzo - males 42 (103), females 31 (80); Old Crow - males 41 (108), females 23 (59); Fort McPherson - males 41 (77), females 32 (68); Aklavik - males 20 (47), females 15 (37). Compared with surveys carried out in the late 1960s, these values indicate a twofold to fourfold decrease in caribou consumption over a period of 20 years. A dietary survey questionnaire administered during the 1989-90 survey provided useful information on the consumption of various caribou organs, methods of meat preparation, and consumption of other traditional foods.

Le caribou constitue une importante source de protéines dans le régime alimentaire des Canadiens. Il représente également une voie d'entrée majeure pour les contaminants environnementaux en suspension dans l'air, qui se concentrent dans la chaîne alimentaire lichen - caribou - être humain. Nous présentons une méthode d'évaluation de la consommation de caribou qui n'est pas fondée sur des questionnaires et sondages alimentaires. La méthode s'appuie sur des mesures directes du césium radioactif provenant de retombées, mesures effectuées sur le corps entier de consommateurs nordiques de caribou, ainsi que sur des mesures de la concentration de césium radioactif dans la viande. À partir des enquêtes menées en 1989 et 1990 dans cinq communautés de l'Arctique, nous avons obtenu les apports moyens suivants (90e percentile) de viande de caribou en grammes par jour: Baker Lake - hommes 65 (141), femmes 41 (88); Rae-Edzo - hommes 42 (103), femmes 31 (80); Old Crow - hommes 41 (108), femmes 23 (59); Fort McPherson - hommes 41 (77), femmes 32 (68); Aklavik - hommes 20 (47), femmes 15 (37). Quand on les compare aux sondages menés à la fin des années 1960, ces valeurs révèlent une baisse de 50 à 75 p. cent dans la consommation de caribou sur une période de 20 ans. Une enquête alimentaire réalisée de 1989 à 1990 à l'aide d'un questionnaire a fourni des renseignements utiles sur la consommation de divers abats, les méthodes d'apprêt de la viande ainsi que la consommation d'autres aliments traditionnels.


Low abundance of King Eider nests during low lemming years in northeast Greenland   /   Sittler, B.   Gilg, O.   Berg, T.B.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 53-60, map
ASTIS record 46264
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Long-term surveys on Traill Island (Northeast Greenland) show that numbers of king eider (Somateria spectabilis) nests are correlated with high densities of collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus). These observations match other zoological records from this region and agree with similar observations recorded elsewhere for arctic geese. Processes at work may be related to the fact that mammalian predators focus on lemmings when lemming numbers are high, but exert higher predation pressure on other prey at low lemming densities. Predators seem to increase their search effort during such low lemming years, thus increasing the likelihood that they will discover eider nests. This study highlights the importance of studying patterns at the community level in any attempt to interpret cyclic fluctuations in northern ecosystems.

Une étude à long terme menée sur l'île de Traill (nord-est du Groenland) a mis en évidence que le nombre de nids d'eiders à tête grise (Somateria spectabilis) est corrélé à de fortes densités de lemming à collier (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus). Ces observations sont identiques à celles des autres relevés fauniques réalisés dans cette région et confortent des constats similaires sur le succès de reproduction des oies arctiques. Le déterminisme de ces phénomènes semble être lié au fait que les mammifères prédateurs se concentrent sur les lemmings lorsque ces derniers sont abondants, mais exercent une pression de prédation plus forte sur les autres espèces lorsque les lemmings se font plus rares. L'effort de recherche des prédateurs semble augmenter durant les années de creux, ce qui accroît la probabilité de découvrir les nids d'eiders. Cette étude souligne l'importance d'examiner les phénomènes dans l'ensemble de la communauté animale pour tenter d'expliquer les fluctuations cycliques dans les écosystèmes nordiques.


Observations of marine birds and mammals wintering at polynyas and ice edges in the Belcher Islands, Nunavut, Canada   /   Gilchrist, H.G.   Robertson, G.J.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 61-68, map
ASTIS record 46265
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In the Belcher Islands, southeast Hudson Bay, Canada, two types of open water exist during winter: 1) large, wind-driven expanses of water along landfast ice edges and 2) recurring polynyas located between small islands (most <10 ha and <15 m deep). In severe winters, only polynyas persist. In March 1998 and 1999, we recorded the species and numbers of birds and marine mammals present at ten polynyas and along four landfast ice edges around the Belcher Islands. To help interpret our observations, we also collected traditional ecological knowledge from local Inuit. Large flocks of common eiders Somateria mollissima (200-12500 birds) were seen along floe edges, and small groups occurred in some polynyas. King eiders S. spectabilis were also observed at several locations, always associated with common eiders. Oldsquaw ducks Clangula hyemalis were common (flocks of 100-500 birds) and occurred primarily at polynyas. Our observations of king eiders represent a significant northern range expansion for this species in Canada during winter. Ravens Corvus corax and snowy owls Nyctea scandiaca were observed along landfast ice edges. Ravens were feeding on the remains of seals killed by Inuit hunters and polar bears Ursus maritimus, and owls apparently hunted sea ducks that were loitering on ice edges at night. We regularly observed bearded seals Erignathus barbatus and ringed seals Phoca hispida at polynyas and floe edges. One beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas was observed by our Inuit guides along a western landfast ice edge, and three walrus Odobenus rosmarus were observed at a floe edge along the southern margin of the Belcher Islands. Clearly, the small recurring polynyas and ice floe edges around the Belcher Islands are important wintering habitat for oldsquaw and common and king eider ducks.

L'hiver, dans les îles Belcher, au sud-est de la baie d'Hudson (Canada), l'eau libre est présente sous deux formes: 1) de vastes étendues d'eau créées par le vent, longeant la lisière de la glace de rive et 2), des polynies récurrentes situées entre de petites îles (dont la plupart ont une superficie < 10 ha et une profondeur < 15 m). Durant les hivers très rigoureux, seules persistent les polynies. En mars 1998 et 1999, nous avons relevé les espèces et le nombre d'oiseaux et de mammifères marins présents à dix polynies et le long de quatre lisières de glace de rive autour des îles Belcher. Afin de nous aider à interpréter nos observations, nous avons aussi procédé à la collecte de savoir écologique traditionnel auprès des Inuit de la région. On a observé de grandes volées d'eider à duvet Somateria mollissima (200 à 12 500 oiseaux) le long de floes, et on en a trouvé de petits groupes dans quelques polynies. On a également observé à plusieurs endroits la présence de l'eider à tête grise S. spectabilis, toujours en association avec l'eider à duvet. On a souvent retrouvé le harelde kakawi Clangula hyemalis (en volées de 100 à 500 oiseaux), et ce, surtout dans les polynies. Nos relevés de l'eider à tête grise révèlent, pour cette espèce, une expansion notable de son territoire septentrional au Canada durant l'hiver. On a observé le grand corbeau Corvus corax et le harfang des neiges Nyctea scandiaca sur la lisière de la glace de rive. Les corbeaux se nourrissaient des restes de phoques tués par les chasseurs inuit et les ours polaires Ursus maritimus, et il semble que les harfangs chassaient le canard de mer qui s'aventurait la nuit sur la lisière de glace. On a vu de façon régulière des phoques barbus Erignathus barbatus et des phoques annelés Phoca hispida dans les polynies et au bord des floes. Un bélouga Delphinapterus leucas a été aperçu par nos guides inuit le long d'une lisière occidentale de glace de rive, et trois morses Odobenus rosmarus ont été observés au bord d'un floe longeant la rive méridionale des îles Belcher. Il est évident que les petites polynies récurrentes et les bords des floes de glace autour des îles Belcher représentent un habitat d'hivernage majeur pour le harelde kakawi ainsi que l'eider à duvet et l'eider à tête grise.


Lack of reproduction in muskoxen and arctic hares caused by early winter?   /   Mech, L.D.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 69-71
PCSP/PPCP contribution, no. 004-99
ASTIS record 46266
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A lack of young muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus) in the Eureka area of Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories (now Nunavut), Canada, was observed during summer 1998, in contrast to most other years since 1986. Evidence of malnourished muskoxen was also found. Early winter weather and a consequent 50% reduction of the 1997 summer replenishment period appeared to be the most likely cause, giving rise to a new hypothesis about conditions that might cause adverse demographic effects in arctic herbivores.

Durant l'été 1998, et ce, à la différence de la plupart des années depuis 1986, on a relevé un manque de jeunes boeufs musqués (Ovibos moschatus) et de lièvres arctiques (Lepus arcticus) dans la région d'Eureka de l'île d'Ellesmere (Territoires du Nord-Ouest [maintenant Nunavut], au Canada). On a aussi découvert des preuves de malnutrition chez le boeuf musqué. La cause la plus probable semble être un hiver hâtif et la baisse résultante de 50 p. cent de la période de restauration estivale en 1997, ce qui donne lieu à une nouvelle hypothèse sur les conditions qui pourraient avoir des répercussions démographiques nuisibles chez les herbivores de l'Arctique.


Francis Harper (1886-1972)   /   Norment, C.J.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 72-75, ill.
ASTIS record 46267
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... Harper became an avid and well-rounded naturalist at an early age. In 1914, he received his B.A. degree from Cornell University and was employed as a zoologist on a Geological Survey of Canada expedition to the Lake Athabasca-Great Slave Lake region. The expedition, under the leadership of Charles Camsell, left Athabasca Landing on 18 May 1914 and returned there on 10 October of the same year. Most of June was spent on Lake Athabasca, while July and August were spent exploring the Tazin and Taltson River area, an unmapped region whose biology was at the time completely unknown. Harper gathered information on the plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals encountered during the journey. ... Harper returned in 1920 to the Athabasca area, where he was in the field from early April to early November with Hamilton "Mack" Laing and J.A. Loring. ... Harper published a series of technical papers on the plants, fishes, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, and physiographic and faunal regions of the Lake Athabasca-Great Slave Lake area, based on his fieldwork of 1914 and 1920. ... Harper realized a dream of more than 30 years in 1947, when he undertook a biological reconnaissance of the Nueltin Lake area in the southern Keewatin. ... Harper arrived at the Windy River post, which was operated by the family of Fred Schweder Sr., on 31 May. He brought with him a young zoology student from the University of Toronto, Farley Mowat. ... Harper immediately began collecting specimens and natural history information on mollusks, spiders, fishes, birds, mammals, ectoparasites of birds and mammals, mosses, and vascular plants. For most of his stay, Harper remained near the Windy River camp, and he continued fieldwork until his departure by plane on 4 December 1947. ... In addition to providing Harper with a base of operations at Windy River, Fred Schweder Sr.'s sons - Charles and Fred Jr. - assisted him by collecting specimens and providing numerous faunal observations, which they had gathered during their years of travel and residence in the Nueltin Lake area. Mowat and Harper, however, did not get along well, and on 7 July Harper dismissed Mowat from the expedition. ... The split between Mowat and Harper was severe and permanent, as separate publications on the birds of the Nueltin Lake area by the two do not mention that they were once associated, while Harper gave no indication that anyone had accompanied him to Nueltin Lake in May. Harper returned from Nueltin Lake with a tremendous amount of information on the natural history of the area, including specimens of over 800 plants, 117 birds, and 113 mammals. ... Francis Harper is probably best considered a relatively minor figure among biologists who were active in the Canadian North during the first half of the twentieth century. ... his publications reflect his proclivity for collecting large amounts of observational information. ... Biologists contemplating quantitative studies in the region, particularly those related to birds or mammals, would be well advised to read Harper's relevant publications, since natural history remains the basis for all modern, well-designed ecological research projects.


Robert L. Christie (1926-1999)   /   Nassichuk, W.W.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 88-91, ill.
ASTIS record 46268
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... Bob will be remembered for a broad range of geological achievements in western and Arctic Canada, as well as in Greenland, achievements documented by nearly 100 maps and reports published in scientific journals. ... Bob was undoubtedly the kindest and gentlest man I have ever known, and his family and friends were the special delights of his life. ... Bob discovered the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) even before he went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) to study geology. ... He thrived in the outdoors, particularly in strenuous activities like rock climbing, mountain skiing, and backpacking. Moreover, he loved the beauty of nature, especially the mountains above tree line and the ocean. ... He was inventive and could fix anything: repairing a tent, a broken radio or compass, or a leaky boat was child's play to Bob. ... Bob's long career as an Arctic geologist began on northern Ellesmere Island in 1954, when he joined a team headed by Geoff Hattersley-Smith and jointly sponsored by the Defence Research Board of Canada and the United States Air Force Cambridge Research Centre. ... Using skis and a dog-hauled sledge, Bob made the first geological reconnaissance from Ward Hunt Island to Lands Lokk, where only a few early explorers had been before. In spite of severe weather and harsh travel conditions, Hattersley-Smith remembers Bob's cheerful stoicism, his tolerance, and his tact, but cannot recall a single cross word or disagreement for the entire six months. ... My most memorable and pleasant field seasons in the Arctic were in 1962, 1963, and 1966, when I served as Bob's assistant, mainly in fly camps. I remember the excitement of learning new things from Bob each day, about Arctic history, Inuit life, plants, animals, and astronomy, as well as geology. I hoped that the end of each field season could be delayed as long as possible. Each day would begin with Bob's favorite breakfast, his legendary "raisin porridge," and it would end with his summarizing our scientific observations for the day with extensive, well-illustrated notes. ... In addition to being well prepared, well organized, and an outstanding but modest teacher in the field, he was always jovial. I can't remember a single cross word between us or a single day that we couldn't find something to laugh about. In addition to pursuing his own objectives in the field, Bob was always thinking about data that we might gather for colleagues interested in subjects beyond his own area of specialization. ... In the early 1980s, in addition to his Arctic work, Bob began to study the economic potential of phosphate rocks in Canada. Through extensive fieldwork in western and Arctic Canada and in the United States, he soon established himself as an authority on the subject. ... In recognition of Bob's scientific leadership and his broad knowledge of Arctic geology, he was assigned two other major projects in the 1980s both of which he completed with distinction. First, in 1984 and 1985, he updated the geology of Melville Island through incorporation and synthesis of new surface and subsurface geological and geophysical data to assist in the exploration for petroleum and minerals. Second, his compilation of the geology of Melville Island, with contributions from 16 other scientists, was published in 1994 as GSC Bulletin 450. ... Finally, Bob was seconded to the Polar Continental Shelf Project in 1990. ... Bob realized at that point that his Arctic career had come full circle: it had all started on the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf with Geoff Hattersley-Smith some 36 years earlier. ... For 38 years I have been warmed by the gift of Bob's friendship in my life. He has left a profound and indelible mark on all of us who knew him, and he has left an equally powerful imprint on the geology of the Arctic, a land he truly loved. ...


Life after death : the importance of salmon carcasses to British Columbia's watersheds   /   Watkinson, S.
Arctic, v. 53, no. 1, Mar. 2000, p. 92-96, ill., map
ASTIS record 46269
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... Adult spawning salmon are a key link between the marine ecosystem and the ecosystems inland. ... As returning adults approach the streams they will enter to spawn, they stop feeding. Their bodies contain only an insignificant amount (<1%) of residual freshwater-derived biomass, accumulated when they were smolts developing in the stream environment .... Thus, the body of an adult salmon is almost entirely constructed from marine sources. These marine-derived nutrients enter the stream ecosystem before, during, and after spawning, through excretion, release of gametes, and carcass decomposition, respectively .... Once released, these marine-derived nutrients become available to enter into the food-web dynamics of both the aquatic and the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems. ... When fewer salmon return to the spawning grounds, smaller quantities of marine-derived nutrients are supplied to the surrounding ecosystems. Larkin and Slaney (1997) showed that as carcass availability in a stream declined, so did nutrient and carbon sources for developing salmonids. This suggests that salmon parents assist their progeny in the fight for survival long after they are gone themselves. ... I plan to construct an ecosystem model that tracks the flow of marine-derived nitrogen through the stream and adjacent forest ecosystem. The model will focus on converting spawning salmon biomass estimates for a particular stream and using these estimates to calculate the amount of marine-derived nitrogen entering the watershed. The pathways taken by marine-derived nitrogen as it travels throughout and across ecosystems will be compiled into a model, using the Ecopath software. ...


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