Devon Island Programs, 1972-1973


  • Ward Elcock
  • Michiel Hoyer
  • Paul Barrett
  • Ronald Schulten



Animal behaviour, Animal physiology, Animal tagging, Diurnal variations, Diving (Animals), Internal organs, Polar bears, Sleep, Telemetry


From April 1972 through the 1973 field season, the Arctic Institute's research base on the northeast coast of Devon Island (75°40'N, 84°40'W) will be the seat of operations for scores of investigators and their field assistants. The major research program continues to be a large integrated tundra ecosystem study sponsored by the Canadian International Biological Program (IBP). The Base Camp is also being used by groups of researchers from the Canadian Wildlife Survey, and from the Polar Continental Shelf Project. The two AINA-sponsored projects are summarized below. ... During the summer of 1972, and the winter of 1972-73, the camp was used as a communications centre, and for providing other assistance to research stations established on Coburg Island and on the Carey Islands (Greenland) which are part of the Institute's North Water Project. ... [1] ECOLOGICAL STUDIES OF SEDGE-DOMINATED MEADOW TUNDRA. During the 1972 field season studies were continued on the ecology of sedge-dominated meadows. ... Studies of rhizome behaviour were continued. Complete systems were excavated and collected at five locations. Rhizome growth was monitored on selected individual plants. ... Population characteristics of sedges invading small ponds and drained lake systems were further investigated. Three-and-a-half weeks were spent at the National Museum of Natural History camp on Bathurst Island. ... six sedge meadows were selected and analysed for comparison with the Devon Island meadows. Five permanent plots were also established and mapped and populations of Carex stans collected for both seed and morphological measurements. A project to investigate the revegetation of vehicle-disturbed sedge meadows with native Carex species was also initiated. ... Analysis of plantings of Carex stans as well as natural revegetation in some blocks will be monitored in following seasons. ... [2] VEGETATION STUDIES ON THE INTERIOR PLATEAU. ... A 2.4 km transect was placed east from the Plateau margin to the interior. The transect crossed a number of habitats, including solifluction terraces, stripes and sorted nets. Four maximum-minimum thermometer enclosures and two hygrothermograph stations were set out to determine microclimatic variations along the line. Forty 25 m² quadrats were placed at 80 m intervals along the transect for vegetation analysis. At each plot, the percentage cover of rock, soil, vascular plants and bryophytes was calculated; species composition was determined and voucher specimens from each quadrat were collected. Lichen specimens were also collected for later taxonomic determinations in the laboratory. Surface soil samples from each plot were collected for mechanical and chemical analysis. ... At 5 points along the transect, regular sampling of soil at 0 and 15 cm was undertaken to determine a curve of seasonal soil moisture. These values will be compared with concurrent samples taken in nonsorted circles on the Lowland. In addition to the 40 systematic plots, 5 additional sites were also ana1ysed. ... Comparisons with the transect data should indicate if the visual homogeneity of the vegetation on the Plateau is constant over a large area. A high density bryophyte community at the head of a drainage system and one solifluction terrace characterized by Alopecurus were also analysed. These sites were unusual in that they both had vegetation cover values greater than 40 per cent. Other plots on the Plateau had values of 1 to 4 per cent. ...