ARCTIC 2021-01-20T08:20:08-07:00 Melanie Paulson Open Journal Systems <p><em>Arctic</em> is North America's premier journal of northern research! Now in its seventh decade of continuous publishing, <em>Arctic</em> contains contributions from any area of scholarship dealing with the polar and subpolar regions of the world. Articles in <em>Arctic</em> present original research and have withstood intensive peer review. <em>Arctic</em> also publishes reviews of new books on the North, profiles of significant people, places and northern events, and topical commentaries.</p> Reproductive Parameters for Female Beluga Whales (<i>Delphinapterus leucas</i>) of Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay, Canada 2020-12-30T08:24:39-07:00 Steven H. Ferguson Cornelia Willing Trish C. Kelley David A. Boguski David J. Yurkowski Cortney A. Watt <p class="p1">Monitoring marine mammal populations and their habitats is crucial for assessing population status and&nbsp;defining realistic management and conservation goals. Environmental and anthropogenic changes in the Arctic have prompted the pursuit for improved understanding of female beluga whale (<em>Delphinapterus leucas</em>) spatial and temporal reproductive patterns. There are relatively few estimates for female reproductive parameters of beluga whale populations across the Arctic, and those few that are available are outdated. Here we summarize female reproductive data from samples collected through Inuit subsistence hunts of three eastern Canadian Arctic beluga populations: High Arctic/Baffin Bay (HA), Western Hudson Bay (HB), and Cumberland Sound (CS) from 1989 to 2014. We grouped the CS and HA populations into a Baffin Bay region (BB) population based on similar body growth patterns and genetic similarity. Asymptotic body length of BB beluga whales (370.9 cm) was greater than HB whales (354.4 cm) as established from Gompertz growth curves fitted for whales ranging in age from 1 – 89 y. We did not detect a significant difference in average number of pseudocervices (8.6) between regions. Differences in average age of sexual maturity (ASM) and length at sexual maturity (LSM) were identified, with evidence of BB females maturing earlier than females from HB (probability method BB = 9.9 y versus HB = 11.0 and logistic method ASM50% HB = 9.99 and BB unresolved). BB females were also longer than HB females at maturing age (logistic LSM50%: BB = 314.5 cm vs HB = 290.3). Total corpora counts were strongly correlated with age, although the number of corpora (≥ 10 mm) suggests reproductive senescence between 40 and 50 y. Improved understanding of female reproductive patterns and knowledge of changes in the spatial and temporal timing of reproductive processes are fundamental for effective conservation&nbsp;and sustainable management of beluga whale populations.</p> 2020-12-27T14:44:52-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Akimiski Island, Nunavut, Canada: The Use of Cree Oral History and Sea-Level Retrodiction to Resolve Aboriginal Title 2020-12-30T08:25:58-07:00 Leonard J.S. Tsuji Zachariah General Stephen R.J. Tsuji Evelyn Powell Konstantin Latychev Jorie Clark Jerry X. Mitrovica <p class="p1">On 1 April 1999, Akimiski Island of the western James Bay region of northern Ontario, Canada, was included&nbsp;in the newly formed territory of Nunavut, Canada—an Inuit-dominated territory—even though the Inuit had never asserted Aboriginal title to the island. By contrast, the Omushkegowuk Cree of the western James Bay region have asserted Aboriginal title to Akimiski Island. The Government of Canada by their action (or inaction) has reversed the onus of responsibility for proof of Aboriginal title from the Inuit to the Cree. In other words, the Government of Canada did not follow their own guidelines and the common-law test for proof of Aboriginal title. In this paper, we documented and employed Cree oral history as well as a sea-level retrodiction (based on state-of-the-art numerical modeling of past sea-level changes in James Bay), which incorporated a modified ICE-6G ice history and a 3-D model of Earth structure, to establish that criterion 2 of the test for Aboriginal title has now been fully met. In other words, Cree traditional use and occupancy of Akimiski Island was considered sufficiently factual at the time of assertion of sovereignty by European nations. As all the criteria of the common-law test for proof of Aboriginal title in Canada, with respect to Akimiski Island, have now been addressed, the Cree have sufficient basis&nbsp;to initiate the process of a formal land claim.</p> 2020-12-27T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Frequent Flooding and Perceived Adaptive Capacity of Subarctic Kashechewan First Nation, Canada 2020-12-30T08:25:31-07:00 Muhammad-Arshad K. Khalafzai Tara K. McGee Brenda Parlee <p class="p1">Perceived (socio-cognitive) capacity is as important as objective (material resources) capacity in assessing&nbsp;the overall adaptive capacity of people at the community level. Higher perceived and objective capacities generate greater total adaptive capacity. This article assesses the perceived adaptive capacity of the Kashechewan First Nation, located in the flood-prone southwestern James Bay (Subarctic) region in Canada. The community is frequently disrupted by the elevated risk of spring flooding and has experienced five major floods since its establishment in 1957. Residents have been evacuated 14 times since 2004 because of actual flooding or flooding risk and potential dike failure. We surveyed 90 residents using 21 indicators to assess the community’s perceived adaptive capacity. The results indicate that residents’ risk perception and perceived adaptive capacity are high and are reshaping their adaptive behavior to the hazard of spring flooding. The strong positive interrelationships between human capital, social capital, governance, and other determinants, such as migration, personal resilience, and experience, also suggest high perceived adaptive capacity. Human capital and the other determinants are relatively higher contributors to the perceived adaptive capacity, followed by social capital and governance determinants. The results also indicate that residents’ disaster preparedness has also improved. The elevated flooding risk and frequently occurring emergencies have motivated the First Nation to modify their spontaneous and proactive adaptation responses for disaster risk reduction at the individual, household, and band levels. Planning to adapt to natural hazards to mitigate their impacts also requires a nuanced understanding of the perceived adaptive capacity that contributes to overall adaptive capacity. Translating the high perceived adaptive capacity into greater total adaptive capacity would contribute to enhancing community&nbsp;resilience.</p> 2020-12-27T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Effects of Fish Populations on Pacific Loon (<i>Gavia pacifica</i>) and Yellow-billed Loon (<i>G. adamsii</i>) Lake Occupancy and Chick Production in Northern Alaska 2020-12-30T08:24:13-07:00 Brian D. Uher-Koch Kenneth G. Wright Hannah R. Uher-Koch Joel A. Schmutz <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Predator populations are vulnerable to changes in prey distribution or availability. With warming temperatures, lake ecosystems in the Arctic are predicted to change in terms of hydrologic flow, water levels, and connectivity with other lakes. We surveyed lakes in northern Alaska to understand how shifts in the distribution or availability of fish may affect the occupancy and breeding success of Pacific (<em>Gavia pacifica</em>) and Yellow-billed Loons (<em>G. adamsii</em>). We then modeled the influence of the presence and abundance of five fish species and the physical characteristics of lakes (e.g., hydrologic connectivity) on loon lake occupancy and chick production. The presence of Alaska blackfish (<em>Dallia pectoralis</em>) had a positive influence on Pacific Loon occupancy and chick production, which suggests that small-bodied fish species provide important prey for loon chicks. No characteristics of fish species abundance affected Yellow-billed Loon lake occupancy. Instead, Yellow-billed Loon occupancy was influenced by the physical characteristics of lakes that contribute to persistent fish populations, such as the size of the lake and the proportion of the lake that remained unfrozen over winter. Neither of these variables, however, influenced chick production. The probability of an unoccupied territory becoming occupied in a subsequent year by Yellow-billed Loons was low, and no loon chicks were successfully raised in territories that were previously unoccupied. In contrast, unoccupied territories had a much higher probability of becoming occupied by Pacific Loons, which suggests that Yellow-billed Loons have strict habitat requirements and suitable breeding lakes may be limited. Territories that were occupied had high probabilities of remaining occupied for both loon species.</p> 2020-12-27T15:19:58-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC The Best of Both Worlds: Connecting Remote Sensing and Arctic Communities for Safe Sea Ice Travel 2021-01-20T08:20:08-07:00 Rebecca A. Segal Randall K. Scharien Frank Duerden Chui-Ling Tam <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Northern communities are increasingly interested in technology that provides information about the sea ice environment for travel purposes. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing is widely used to observe sea ice independently of sunlight and cloud cover, however, access to SAR in northern communities has been limited. This study 1) defines the sea ice features that influence travel for two communities in the Western Canadian Arctic, 2) identifies the utility of SAR for enhancing mobility and safety while traversing environments with these features, and 3) describes methods for sharing SAR-based maps. Three field seasons (spring and fall 2017 and spring 2018) were used to engage residents in locally guided research, where applied outputs were evaluated by community members. We found that SAR image data inform and improve sea ice safety, trafficability, and education. Information from technology is desired to complement Inuit knowledge-based understanding of sea ice features, including surface roughness, thin sea ice, early and late season conditions, slush and water on sea ice, sea ice encountered by boats, and ice discontinuities. Floe edge information was not a priority. Sea ice surface roughness was identified as the main condition where benefits to trafficability from SAR-based mapping were regarded as substantial. Classified roughness maps are designed using thresholds representing domains of sea ice surface roughness (smooth ice/<em>maniqtuk hiku</em>, moderately rough ice/<em>maniilrulik hiku</em>, rough ice/<em>maniittuq hiku</em>; dialect is Inuinnaqtun). These maps show excellent agreement with local observations. Overall, SAR-based maps tailored for on-ice use are beneficial for and desired by northern community residents, and we recommend that high-resolution products be routinely made available in communities.</p> 2021-01-19T11:29:15-07:00 Copyright (c) 2021 ARCTIC Abundance of the Eastern Chukchi Sea Stock of Beluga Whales, 2012 – 17 2020-12-30T08:25:05-07:00 Geof H. Givens Megan C. Ferguson Janet T. Clarke Amy Willoughby Amelia Brower Robert Suydam <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Aerial line transect surveys were conducted during 19 July – 20 August in each of the years 2012 – 17, with onshore – offshore transects covering a study area of approximately 110 000 km<span class="s2">2</span>, from 140˚ W to 157˚ W longitude and from shore to 72˚ N latitude. These data were used to estimate abundance of the eastern Chukchi Sea (ECS) stock of beluga whales. The data were stratified based on bathymetry to reflect strong large-scale gradients in beluga density. A half-normal key function was used to model detection from a dataset of 999 sightings of 2465 belugas. The detection function was found to depend significantly on sky condition and ice coverage. For the years 2012 through 2017, respectively, the estimated numbers of ECS belugas in the study area during the study period were 7355 (CV = 0.17), 6813 (CV = 0.18), 16 598 (CV = 0.21), 6456 (CV = 0.21), 6965 (CV = 0.23) and 13 305 (CV = 0.27). There is no statistically significant trend. These estimates do not correct for belugas outside the study region. Indeed, diverse data indicate that belugas venture far outside the study region and their distribution varies interannually due to prey availability and other factors. Recently reviewed tagging data suggest that correcting for whales outside the study area would approximately double our abundance estimates. These results provide no indication that the stock has substantially declined during these six years due to the impact of subsistence hunting, industrial activity or climate change, although interannual variation and estimated CVs are both large, thereby potentially masking small-scale impacts.</p> 2020-12-27T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Apparent Collapse of the Peary Caribou (<i>Rangifer tarandus pearyi</i>) Population on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada 2020-12-30T08:23:46-07:00 Conor D. Mallory Matthew Fredlund Mitch W. Campbell <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">In spring 2019, we conducted a comprehensive abundance and distribution survey for Peary caribou (<em>Rangifer tarandus pearyi</em>) and muskox (<em>Ovibos moschatus</em>) on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada. Although much of Axel Heiberg Island is rugged and extensively glaciated, areas east of the Princess Margaret mountain range have high productivity given the latitude and have supported relatively large numbers of Peary caribou and muskoxen. This region of the island has been previously identified as a potential High Arctic refugium. The last island-wide survey, in 2007, estimated 4237 muskoxen (95% confidence interval [CI] [3371:5325]) and 2291 Peary caribou (95% CI [1636:3208]); based on our 2019 results, it appears that muskox numbers have been stable on Axel Heiberg Island since then. Using distance sampling and density surface models, we estimated 3772 muskoxen (95% CI [3001:4742]) on Axel Heiberg Island during our 2019 survey. In contrast, Peary caribou, which is listed as an endangered species under the Canadian <em>Species at Risk Act</em>, appear to have declined dramatically from the 2007 estimate. During the 2019 survey, we observed only six Peary caribou and could not generate an island-wide estimate. Abrupt declines in numbers are characteristic of the species and are usually related to poor winter conditions such as dense snowpack or extreme weather events that result in widespread ground-fast icing. However, the limited monitoring information available at the northern extent of Peary caribou range presents major challenges to our understanding of the mechanisms leading to this near total absence of approximately 20% of range-wide Peary caribou numbers.</p> 2020-12-27T15:48:50-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Climate-Change Induced Permafrost Degradation in Yakutia, East Siberia 2020-12-30T08:23:19-07:00 Jolanta Czerniawska Jiri Chlachula <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Current climate change in the northern regions is a well-recognized phenomenon. In central Yakutia (the Sakha Republic), the long-term trend displays a consistent mean annual air temperature (MAAT) increase from −9.6˚C (1980) to −6.7˚C (2019), corresponding to an average 0.07˚C annual rise, with pronounced temperature anomalies in the last decade. The analyzed meteorological records of the past 40 years indicate a progressing climate change pattern of increased MAAT and mean annual precipitation (MAP) that occurs in 5 – 7 yr cycles. The complex interactions of regional climatic variations with local geological and environmental conditions influence the frozen ground’s thermal balance, which, in turn, impacts thermokarst development. Co-acting factors of temperature rise and higher precipitation rates activate thermokarst lake dynamics and lake expansion following snow- and rainfall-rich preceding years. April experiences the greatest warming trend with a present (2020) 5˚C rise from 1980 with shortening of the winter season. Climate warming together with natural forest fires and anthropogenic activities (pastoral practices and logging) contribute to the taiga landscape opening due to reduced albedo and the greater exposure to solar radiation. The regional hydrologic network undergoes restructuring caused by drained meltwater released from the degraded cryolithozone with peaks of the fluvial discharge in late spring and early summer generating bank erosion. The negative effects of the progressing ground thaw, which are particularly observed in lowland locations, pose risks to local settlements and generate major environmental and engineering problems in the formerly permafrost-stable central and northern areas of Siberia.</p> 2020-12-27T15:54:57-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Glacier: Nature and Culture, by Peter B. Knight 2020-12-30T08:22:52-07:00 Kristina Miller 2020-12-28T17:13:52-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Books Received and Papers to Appear in ARCTIC 2020-12-30T08:22:26-07:00 Patricia Wells 2020-12-28T17:22:55-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC LANCE GOODWIN (1963–2020) 2020-12-30T08:20:12-07:00 Andy Williams 2020-12-29T16:53:27-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC ARTHUR WALTER MANSFIELD (1926–2020) 2020-12-30T08:19:44-07:00 Elizabeth Mansfield 2020-12-29T17:31:51-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Are Arctic Seabirds able to Cope with Changing Sea Ice Conditions? 2020-12-30T08:22:00-07:00 Shannon Whelan 2020-12-28T17:31:23-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Interactive Effects of Environmental Conditions and Contaminants on Incubation Behaviour in an Arctic Seabird 2020-12-30T08:21:32-07:00 Reyd Smith 2020-12-28T17:41:01-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC AINA News 2020-12-30T08:21:06-07:00 Patricia Wells 2020-12-28T17:48:48-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC Manuscript Reviewers 2020-12-30T08:20:39-07:00 Patricia Wells 2020-12-29T06:38:58-07:00 Copyright (c) 2020 ARCTIC