13 June 2018 Bears, Berries, and OTCs

Here Comes The Sun

The weather cooperated enough today that we were able to spend some time outside! We loaded up this morning to do berry counts on Mt. Slope, north of Toolik Field Station. We saw the camp fox on the way out (he was not feeling photogenic, however – I will get a picture another time!), and drove to the site. While the weather was cooperating, the bear population was not. They too, know where the berries are, and beat us there. So after a few photos, we went back to camp and left the bears to their meal.

Grizzly bears on Mount SlopeThe two bears who thwarted our berry counting plans. Photo by Matthew Simon.

After lunch, we loaded up 24 OTCs (open top chambers) to place on a site at Toolik. These OTCs are like small fiberglass greenhouses. By small I mean large and cumbersome to carry. Thankfully, they are not heavy in addition to being bulky. The hardest part was trying to figure out how to hold them to carry them along the boardwalk to the site. This was my first day traversing the tussocks on the tundra. The ground in the melting tundra is similar to walking on a wet sponge. The tussocks do make walking more difficult, and I can see why some of the researchers here have said that walking on snow covered tundra is easier. Once the OTCs were in place, we staked them in, and by the time we left, the greenhouses were already melting off more of the snow.

Toolik Filed Station OTC Site BeforeToolik Field Station OTC site before all the chambers were set up.

Toolik Filed Station OTC Site AfterAnd after we set up 24 chambers.

This Pedicularis kanei (commonly known as woolly lousewort) was blooming beside the boardwalk. Tundra flowers are really beautiful!

Pedicularis kaneiSigns of warmer days to come...Pedicularis kanei (common name: woolly lousewort)

The Adventures Of Flat Cat

Today, Flat Cat is hanging out in Weatherport City. This is the area of Toolik where the researchers and their teams live.

Flat Cat in Weatherport CityFlat Cat hanging out in Weatherport City.


Guest's picture
what is the purpose of the OTCs?

What is the purpose of using the OTCs? What is the research question you are pursuing?

Re: michelle commented on 13 June 2018 Bears, Berries, and OTCs

The OTCs are actually a part of another research project called the
ecotypes project. They are testing to see if tussocks from other parts
of the north slope can survive when located to a different part. There
are sites in Sagwon, Toolik, Coldfoot, and Eagle Creek. The OTC are mini
greenhouses that warm the immediate area to test if the tussocks do
survive, is it due to temperature.

On 6/14/18 7:17 AM, PolarTREC wrote:

Guest's picture

Hi, Melissa,

I'm enjoying your posts about field work. I was at Toolik four years ago with PolarTREC, working with Rose Cory. I loved looking at the flowers. Hearing about the tundra's flowers and trees surprises people the most when I talk about the Arctic. Many often think of the Arctic as a white, barren land.
Enjoy your experience!



Re: Regina commented on 13 June 2018 Bears, Berries, and OTCs

Actually met Rose briefly yesterday after breakfast. She was leaving,
but noticed I had on a PolarTREC hat and we talked a bit!

On 6/14/18 9:05 AM, PolarTREC wrote:

Team Member

Melissa Lau's picture

Journal Details

Location: Toolik Field Rsearch Station
Latitude: 68° 37' 59.999" N
Longitude: 149° 37' 59.999" W
Weather Summary: Partly cloudy, snow on ground
Temperature: 36
Wind Chill: 36
Wind Speed: 5

Phenology and Vegetation Change in the Warming Arctic Journals

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