The High Arctic weather gods were kind to us this year and we were able to spend 11 days exploring the beautiful and remote Thores Lake and glacier. This is the first time that the microbiology of this water basin has been characterized and we can’t wait to see what will be revealed. After Thores we were able to check in on some old friends, the sister lake of Lake A, creatively named Lake B, and the Milne Fiord epishelf lake, now down to 9 m in depth. The team this year consisted of Catherine Girard (UL), Elise Imbeau (UQAC), Pilipoosie Iqaluk (HTA Resolute), Will Kochtitzky (U of Ottawa), Denis Sarrazin (CEN, UL) and Alex Culley (UL)
In July the ViDEL headed to the High Arctic again to explore viral ecology in the vicinity of Ward Hunt Island. This year, the team consisted of Catherine Girard, a Sentinel North post doctoral fellow who joined the team in January, Yukiko Tanabe, a researcher from the National Institute of Polar Research of Japan, Denis Sarrazin, field work coordinator for the Center of Northern Studies, Elise Imbeau, a masters student in Milla Rautio's lab at UQAC, and Alex Culley. As well as continuing previous work investing viral ecology in the Ward Hunt Lake catchment, we collected samples to investigate the diversity of viruses in aerosols in collaboration with Caroline Duchaine at UL.
Weeks after graduating from UL, Catherine Marois, a new member of the ViDEL, packed her bags and headed to Stuckberry Point on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island to explore microbial diversity. The team, led by Dermot Antoniades, a professor in the Geography Department, was interested in describing the paleolimnology in a sequence of four lakes of different ages.
We have just returned from a quick foray into the region of Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, Nunavik (Northern Quebec). We are investigating the dynamics of microbes, including viruses, in ponds created by melting permafrost. Although feasted on by insects, we came away with a nice set of samples and returned itchy, wet and smiling.
Another High Arctic field season in the books! Although we were able to get in and out of Ward Hunt exactly as planned, while on the island, an endless incursion of fog from the North restricted our helicopter time (an unsurprising, albeit disappointing turn of events). Nevertheless, the show went on, thanks to a veteran field team and great support from Parks Canada and PCSP.
Weather-willing, the team will be heading to Northern Ellesmere Island in July and then to Northern Québec in August.