ArcticNet Student Association

Association Étudiante

Expériences de terrain

Si vous êtes étudiant ArcticNet et que vous voulez partager vos expériences de terrain ou de laboratoire, veuillez nous en faire part à l'addresse courriel auivante : .

Jordan Grigor & Moritz Schmid
Jordan Grigor & Moritz Schmid
Association: Université Laval
Position: PhD students
Supervisors: Louis Fortier, Marcel Babin

Louis Fortier’s lab at Université Laval specialises in studies of zooplankton and fish larvae. These animals are known as plankton; a name they get from the Greek ‘planktos’ meaning ‘drifter’, because of their low swimming capacity using currents to get around. These animals, though often small, are very important to Arctic food webs. They feed on phytoplankton and/or other zooplankton, shunting their energy higher up the food chain. Zooplankton can often migrate up and down the water column, sometimes over considerable distances. When they do this, they can bring nutrients from depth to shallower waters, where they can be utilised by other organisms. There are concerns about the sensitivity of zooplankton to climate change in the Arctic. These poor swimmers may not be able to get away from warming waters. Several species higher up the food chain prefer to feed on one species of zooplankton, and could be hit hard by changes in their prey abundance.

PhD student Jordan Grigor is working on a group of zooplankton known as chaetognaths. Chaetognaths are jelly worms, which may comprise 5-15% of global zooplankton biomass. Three chaetognath species can be found in Arctic waters. The few studies on chaetognaths in the Arctic suggest that they may be important predators on copepods.

By examining extensive chaetognath collections from both the Canadian and European Arctics, Jordan is investigating the functional role of chaetognaths in the Arctic pelagic food web. How do these animals fit into the big picture? Why should we care about them? See www.Jordangrigor.com for more information and updates.

To help him answer these questions, he is working closely with another PhD student, Moritz Schmid. Moritz Schmid is mostly working on the prey of chaetognaths, copepods, but also on other little critters that are part of the zooplankton (the animal part of the plankton) and important for the basis of the food chain in the ocean. Using a complex underwater camera system called the LOKI he takes thousands of pictures in the water column. These pictures are later analysed regarding the species composition together with environmental variables and the position in the water column, but also regarding the dynamics between the zooplankton and their prey, the phytoplankton.

Using imaging in such an environment is a rather new technique that provides a very detailed picture of the water column in comparison to traditional sampling with nets, which has been utilized the last 100 years but is quite coarse. The idea here is to develop fine scale models of the water column and also based on the pictures an automatic classification of species.

In September, Moritz and Jordan went aboard the CCGS Pierre-Radisson in Hudson Bay, to test the system at sea for the first time.

Moritz said, “The expedition was a success. We were able to take lots of high-quality photos of different zooplankton groups, including copepods, chaetognaths and jellyfish. The objective now is to work out which species we want to focus our studies on.”

See the photos below of Artemia brine shrimp photographed in the lab, and check out sites.google.com/site/moschmid87 for more information and updates. And please drop by to see their talks at the ArcticNet meeting in Vancouver!

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

1 2 3 4

1 1

 

Heather Stark
Association: University of Manitoba
Position: M.Sc. Student
Supervisor: Dr. David Barber

This past summer, I had the opportunity to work at the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) as an undergraduate summer student, closing the gap between my undergraduate studies and the beginning of my Masters of Science program. The summer months were spent preparing for fieldwork aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent icebreaker as part of the Joint Ocean Ice Study (JOIS). This project combined students and researchers from the University of Manitoba, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), Université Laval, University of Bangor, Trent University, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). This would be my first chance at fieldwork aboard an icebreaker – something I was both nervous and excited for.

JOIS is a reoccurring summer science program that runs the month of August, focusing on oceanography, particularly the deployment and recovery of mooring equipment in the Beaufort Sea. This summer I worked to install numerous radiation sensors aboard the ship, documented cloud conditions and sea state, and conducted an on-ice survey using a variety of radiation sensors. Over the course of the 5 weeks I was aboard the ship, I took daily meteorological observations and maintained the radiation sensors and sky-ward looking camera. We had numerous setbacks that significantly delayed our program and limited the number of days we spent in ice, pushing our return date back and limiting us to only 2 days spent collecting on-ice radiation data at 80°N. From these setbacks it quickly became apparent to me the degree to which the Arctic environment is changing.

Having the opportunity to be on board the Louis and partake in such a diverse scientific study has opened my eyes to how important it is to constantly monitor the ever-changing Canadian Arctic. Being in the field for those 5 weeks has also reaffirmed my career goal of researching Arctic sea ice and the meteorology associated with it.

Cliquez sur les images pour les agrandir

1 2 3 4

1

 

Megan Shields
Association: University of Manitoba
Position: Summer Student (currently) – M.Sc. Student (September 2012)
Supervisor: Dr. David Barber

We arrived in Resolute Bay at the beginning of May to run the Arctic – Ice Covered Ecosystem in a rapidly changing environment (Arctic-ICE) project. The project combined students and researchers from the University of Manitoba, the University of Calgary, Université Laval, L'Université du Québec à Rimouski, and the University of Waterloo to study physical and biological processes of sea ice throughout the melt season. Our accommodation was at Natural Resources Canada's Polar Continental Shelf Program at the Resolute Airport. The field season was definitely a luxurious one; private bedrooms, access to showers and fresh meals prepared for us, not too shabby for research in the high Arctic.

We sampled in Resolute Passage approximately 20 kilometres west of PCSP, near Sheringham Point and north of Griffith Island. We traveled to our sites by snowmobile, and then by ATV/truck and snowmobile once the majority of the snow had melted on land. The snowmobile rides were sometimes "adventurous" due to visibility and ice conditions, but everyone managed to survive (sometimes soaking wet) with only a few scratches, with the exception of some of the snowmobiles. During our seven weeks on the ice, our team studied sea ice melt pond evolution during the melt season using remote sensing technologies, such as a terrestrial LiDAR scanning system. During the last week of June the ice was getting thin and rotten in many places, making traveling to and from sites dangerous, and so the field season came to an end. There were of course some minor problems during our two months in Resolute, as well as some major ones; it is field work after all, but in general the field season was successful for all teams involved. We left Resolute Bay on June 28th, tired and exhausted, but with a lot of good data that will help to explain some of the physical and biological processes and changes occurring in sea ice and the large-scale implications these changes will have on the Arctic sea ice cover. As I sit back and reflect on the field season and the changes currently happening to sea ice in the Arctic, I feel privileged to have experienced field work like this, because twenty years from now working on sea ice at a latitude of 75°N in the last week of June may not be possible.

Cliquez sur les images pour les agrandir

1 2 3 4

1 2 3 4