Monthly Archives: July 2011

Iqaluit Insects

News from Chis Buddle in Iqaluit:

One cabinet drawer of the insect collection prepared in Iqaluit

From 6 to 13 July, Chris Buddle (Team Leader) and Nicolas Chatel-Launay (undergraduate student) completed field work in Iqaluit – although the weather started cold (6C) and wet, it cleared about half way through our trip and we had several excellent days of collecting. Our objective was to prepare an insect collection of representative and common species in the Iqaluit area. This involved catching, pinning, spreading, and labeling insects and spiders and preparing them in two display cabinets as an ‘educational’ collection. The collection was left at the Nunavut Research Institute in the care of our colleague Jamal Shirley. We ended up collecting half of the known butterfly species for southern Baffin island, and this involved some serious chasing; Nicolas was especially proficient at bounding over the tundra in pursuit of the fast fliers. We also had good representative specimens of ground beetles, bees, and many many flies!

We also had help form some people that live in the Iqaluit area: David Nakashuk, a student at the Arctic College, helped us set up our Malaise Trap and helped pick black flies off rocks. First Air employee, and future field scientists Eva quickly become an expert spider-hunter in the afternoon she spent with us. We also spent time with Carolyn Mallory – she has lived in Iqaluit for over 12 years, and has written a soon-to-be-published book about common insects in the North. Carolyn took us collecting at Rotary Park in Apex (5 km from Iqaluit), and she also donated some of her weevil and wasps specimens to our collection. This kind of help is really appreciated.

On the 11 July, Chris gave a talk at the Nunavut Research Institute in their brand-new facility. This was well attended, and many insect enthusiasts were in attendance. Given the cool and wet weather, we took advantage of some of the cultural experiences in Iqaluit – we toured the Legislative Assembly on one afternoon, and we took part in Nunavut Day activities on the 9 July. This included watching a seal skinning competition – not something you see everyday! Many local celebrities were in attendance, although the most popular was the NHL hockey player Jordin Tootoo (he’s from Nunavut). We also enjoyed Muskox Burgers at the Store House Bar & Grill, located at the famous Frobisher Inn.

We left Iqaluit with mixed emotions – it was sad to leave the long days, friendly people, and ever-expansive Tundra, but also nice to get back home to see family. Our Insect Collection was well received and if you are ever in Iqaluit, please visit the Nunavut Research Institute to take a look.

All’s Wells That Ends Wells

Slow northern internet connections have hindered our ability to keep this blog updated in a timely manner, but now that we have team members back in the south, the blog is back in business!  Our first long-overdue update comes from Team Wells, with a wrap up of the first leg of their journey, as told by team leader Doug Currie:
___________________________________________________
 

Team Wells

Team Wells wrapped up a memorable trip to the Mackenzie Valley last week. In addition to completing all the required sampling protocols, we got out for a fine day of riverboat collecting on the Mackenzie River (courtesy of Richard Popko, NWT Department of Resources, Wildlife & Economic Development) and a helicopter trip into the foothills of the Mackenzie Mountains (courtesy of Glen Guthrie, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board). This gave us access to sites that were otherwise completely inaccessible, providing many fine collections.
 
 

Helicopter perched on the bank of a black fly infested river in the Mackenzie MountainsRuben Cordero experiments with a novel technique to dislodge aquatic insects from the substrate.

Not to be outdone by “Team Arthropod’s” entry in Yellowknife’s “Midnight Sun Triathlon”, Team Wells participated in the Third Annual Bearathon in Norman Wells, finishing the 5K race in the medals! The fact that anyone crossing the finish line received a medal shouldn’t diminish our accomplishment!
 
Our time in Norman Wells passed all too quickly, and it was with mixed emotions that we moved on to our next site. Many thanks to all of our good friends in Norman Wells, including Alasdair Veitch, Richard Popko, and Glen Guthrie. We couldn’t have accomplished our objectives without your support!
 
Anna, Katie and Ruben departed for a night in Inuvik, before hooking up with new Team Leader Terry Wheeler in Dawson City. They are now stationed at the Tombstone Mountain campground in Yukon’s Ogilvie Mountains. “Old” Team Leader Doug returned to Toronto, where he’s now gearing up to rejoin Team Wells on the last leg of the trip… to the wilds of Aulavik National Park on northern Banks Island. Standby for the next Team Wells blog post, originating from the heart of Klondike Country. Beringia it on!