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Category: Field work
Adam joined Maara Packalen and Jim McLaughlin from the OMNR-F to conducted field work from August 18th to 27th near Peawanuck, Ontario, in the traditional territory of Winisk First Nation.
Before data collection, Adam, Jim, Maara, and other researchers from OMNRF participated in a 4 day outreach event (15th to 18th) to meet new community members, and reinforce existing relationships. The group of researchers camped at Hawley lake with approximately 30 community members, including youth and elders, and conducted demonstrations and workshops. Adam got to dig a big pit with the kids to show them what permafrost is and where it is found, which was a big hit because kids enjoy playing in the mud, and so do permafrost researchers! Adam and Jessica, an OMNRF intern, had a chance to discuss opportunities for youth in science and research. This event was organized by Sam hunter, the community environmental steward.
After the camping trip, field work began to the east of Peawanuck, where Adam collected cores of active layer peat, permafrost, and thermokarst from palsas and peat plateaus. One of the cores that had over 50 cm of pure ice! He also installed stakes fitted with small temperature data loggers to monitor snow pack development through the winter, and temperature sensors into the top of permafrost to report on the relationship between snow pack and palsa degradation.
Though tired at the end of the trip, Adam, Jim, and Maara were happy with the work accomplished and sad to leave Peawanuck until next year.
Fieldwork in the Blackstone Uplands (August 2nd to 22nd, 2018) was uneventful this year, although the weather was rather cold and rainy. Below are some photos of Maude (who joined the trip to lend a hand), Pascale, and baby-Florent in the field.
Adam Kirkwood won a Weston Wildlife Conservation Society-Canada Fellowship for his M.Sc. project on The significance and vulnerability of carbon and mercury stores frozen in palsa mires of the Ontario Far North. He will be working on cores extracted from intact, partially degraded, and degraded palsas extending along a latitudinal gradient between Peawanuck and Attawapiskat. Adam will 1) characterize the microbial community in the cores with eDNA (targeting methanogens, SRB and Hg methylation genes with sequencing and qPCR); 2) incubate the samples to assess greenhouse gas production potential; and 3) analyzed them for total mercury and methyl mercury content.
This project is a collaboration with researchers from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who have equipped the palsa gradient with climate stations, permafrost monitoring stations, and flux towers, and with the BIOTRON Institute for Experimental Climate Change Research at Western University, and the Vale Living with Lakes Center at Laurentian University.
Adam’s project directly addresses concerns and priorities identified by the Muskegowuk Council, which has given its support to the project, and we look forward to sharing information with Muskegowuk communities. A poster in Cree and English (Greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost in Polar Bear Provincial Park – ᑲᑎᑭᑌᐠ ᐱᑐᐡ ᑲᑎᑭᐠ ᐁ ᐃᔑ ᑭᔑᑲᐠ) with information on some aspects of this project was presented earlier this year at the Muskegowuk Climate Summit.
Welcome to our newest and smallest lab member, Florent Léveillée-Renard, born on June 26th, 2017. Florent went on his first field trip to the Yukon with Pascale this summer, at the age of 2 months. He was great help while visiting field sites along the Dempster highway.