Arctic BIOSCAN Team Prepares for a New Field Season in Nunavut

The CBG’s Dr. Jeremy deWaard and Ph.D. student Danielle (Dani) Nowosad visited Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk, Nunavut, this April to prepare for Arctic BIOSCAN’s 2022 field season and meet with several key partners of the community-based Arctic biomonitoring project.

DeWaard and Nowosad met with important community partners at the Ekaluktuttiak Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) and the Kugluktuk Angoniatit Association where they exchanged project results and discussed priorities and plans for Arctic BIOSCAN.

“Throughout Arctic BIOSCAN’s first four years, we’ve maintained a steady dialogue with our many partners,” said deWaard, Associate Director of Collections and Arctic BIOSCAN’s Project Manager at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG). “This has been challenging through the pandemic, so we were thrilled to meet in person again and receive valuable input and guidance over a cup of tea.”

They also met with Arctic BIOSCAN team members Carter Lear and Liam Mulgrew, two of six Nunavummiut youth that will be hired across five Kitikmeot communities to work as field technicians this summer. Supported by new funding from the SOI Foundation, the youths will play an integral role in Arctic BIOSCAN’s research activities.

Past and current research activities would be impossible without the science support provided by partners in Cambridge Bay and across the Kitikmeot Region. Elise Imbeau and Gabriel Ferland (Viventem) supported the research in 2021 when travel restrictions prohibited CBG researchers from conducting fieldwork. Similarly, colleagues at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), such as Laboratory Manager Martin Léger, have been pivotal in providing access to the resources and infrastructure necessary to complete such an ambitious project. DeWaard and Nowosad were delighted to work out details for the 2022 field season with Imbeau, Ferland, Léger, and others – not over Zoom, but within the impressive CHARS facility.

DeWaard and Nowosad lastly met with Dr. David Hik, Chief Scientist at POLAR Knowledge Canada and based at CHARS, to discuss Arctic BIOSCAN’s progress, results, and plans for the 2022 field season. They were joined virtually by Dr. Ian Hogg, Team Lead of Ecosystem Science at POLAR, and Dr. Dan Bock, CBG’s Project Manager for BIOSCAN-Canada.

“I often think of the adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ when describing Arctic BIOSCAN,” said deWaard. “The project’s co-creation and implementation has involved a wide cast of individuals and partner organizations – our HTO partners, our POLAR colleagues, our Nunavummiut and CBG team members, our varied funding sources – all have been crucial since the beginning in fostering this project. I’m really excited to see where this project will go.”

With all the meetings and field work preparations behind them, deWaard and Nowosad completed the trip with a skidoo excursion to nearby Grenier Lake to take spring zooplankton samples. Not a simple feat in -40°C weather and with 2.5-metre-thick ice, but as with the Arctic BIOSCAN project in general, anything is possible with the right partners.

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Two people and a dog in a canoe on the shoreline in the Canadian Arctic.
Aquatic sampling in the 2021 field season.
The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS).
Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS)

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