Today was our first day in the field. When we woke up it was overcast and cold, 6*C. We spent the morning learning how to use equipment such as GPS units, Palm pilots to log data, and walkie talkies. In addition to this technology we were also instructed on how to use Permafrost corers, Muffle ovens, and drying ovens. We are going to use these to determine the water content and the organ matter content in the peat. Because of the high variability of the area we will have to collect many samples from many places. Dr. Kershaw is also using automated stations to gather information on air and soil temperatures, precipation, wind, and snowpack. So we spent the morning in the classroom learning how to use the tools and the purpose of the project.
In additon to monitoring organic matter, we will help gather is information on white spruce seedling that they planted three years ago. We had to learn about apical meristems, terminal buds, lateral buds, and lateral branches. It is not as easy as it sounds.
Later in the day, we loaded up the van with our gear and headed out to the plantation armed with cameras, metric rulers, palm pilots, photo boards and markers. We had to measure the several parameters on hundreds of small seedlings, so we divided up into teams of three. We found that some of the parts were hard to identify and we had to ask for a lot of help. The trees here are much smaller than the trees in our area. The tundra is amazing. The ground is soft and gives under your feet because the ground cover are lichens.
(find out what a lichen is and record it in your journal) There were several different species of lichens, rhododendron, and even a variety of blueberries (I tasted one of these as well as dewberries) The area is similiar to our areas in that they both have large areas of wetlands (called FENs here) but the ground cover and the trees are very different.
This evening we had a great lecture on climate change- and went out to see a great sunset. We went to Birdcove to see a sunken ship- the Ithica.
What two animals are the main draw for the town of Churchill?
What is global climate change?
What are lichens?
for more picshttp://picasaweb.google.com/sharsh17/RecentlyUpdated?authkey=Gv1sRgCKzUypijl_Xx7gE