The 2019 field season has begun!
Discovering what lives in Canada’s Arctic requires a team of people to search for and collect an array of creatures, from a vast quantity of insects and other invertebrates to specific samples of mosses and lichens. We are here for a second season of field work to continue our biodiversity survey of the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut.
Last year we focused on collecting around the Cambridge Bay area, where we were able to detect over 1300 species of arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans etc.) This year we are continuing our arthropod monitoring program in Cambridge Bay and we are also collecting in Kugluktuk.
I’d like to introduce all of our field team members for the season. For the arthropod group we have several specialists. Gergin Blagoev (spiders), Mikko Pentinsaari (beetles), Valerie Levesque-Beaudin (flies), Adriana Radulovici (marine crustaceans) and Jonathan Witt (amphipod crustaceans). Technical staff to help with the bio-monitoring program are Crystal Sobel, Andrea Dobrescu, Alana Tallman, Kate Perez and Shawn Thomson. We have partnered with the local communities to help with guiding and wildlife monitoring, and getting them involved with learning our collecting techniques.
This season Alex Borisenko is undertaking a mammal study, particularly with rodents and their relatives, to find out about the health of their populations as well as if any species have migrated from the south. He is hoping to find the elusive Arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus parryii) which has been reported in the Cambridge Bay area through local knowledge but has not been recorded as a species found on Victoria Island.
Maria Kuzmina, our resident botanist, is continuing the search for mosses. She is collecting in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay and will be able to expand on our knowledge of moss species diversity. Troy McMullin is a lichenologist conducting research about species diversity of lichens across Nunavut. He is spending time in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay to discover new species of lichens as he works towards creating an atlas of lichens for Nunavut.
For the past two weeks site set up has been completed in Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk for arthropod bio-monitoring. These traps will be checked throughout the season and then processed in the lab in the fall. Teams will rotate through so that as many people as possible can survey the land and sea to discover and build upon a library of life for the Arctic.
With warm greetings from Nunavut,