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What


Our mission is simple:

cooperate and collaborate to conduct research on Arctic birds

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What


Our mission is simple:

cooperate and collaborate to conduct research on Arctic birds

 
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Migration Surveys


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Migration Surveys


Migration surveys are a basic but highly effective way of monitoring bird populations. One of the easiest and most effective ways to survey migrating birds involves nothing more complicated than finding a comfortable place to sit and taking a few weeks to enjoy the show! Although a typical survey only accounts for a portion of a total population, because it it easily repeatable, it still serves as a useful tool for looking at changes over time. Since most Arctic breeding species follow a few well-defined migratory routes, an effective survey depends on finding a place where birds congregate and gather, either to feed or to follow a natural path around a physical barrier.   

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Habitat Surveys


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Habitat Surveys


The Canadian Arctic is vast, and survey coverage has been limited to a very few key sites. Figuring out where birds are nesting and what habitat variables they rely on is a necessary first step in generating accurate population estimates and predicting what areas are likely to be most important for sustaining significant populations. Since 2011 we have been surveying seabird habitat  throughout Nunavut in order to better understand the patterns affecting the distribution and abundance of seabirds. Furthermore, the results of such work can then be used to prioritize future surveys in new areas, targeting habitat we can identify as being likely to support birds.

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At-sea Surveys


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At-sea Surveys


The open ocean is the final frontier. While most seabirds are relatively accessible at breeding colonies, where they go and what they do during the other nine months a year is still largely a mystery. At-sea surveys give us a means of understanding the timing of migration and the importance of specific areas to wintering populations of seabirds. To date we have collaborated with Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and Heritage Expeditions to conduct extensive at-sea surveys in Russia, Canada, Alaska. Working with Quark Expedtions, we have been able to conduct surveys in the remote Southern Ocean and in Antarctica.

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Monitoring


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Monitoring


Censusing and surveys provide valuable data, but it only amounts to a snapshot. To learn more about how populations of breeding birds fluctuate over the years, and which factors are most likely to affect reproductive success and survival, we conduct annual monitoring studies of a variety of species at multiple sites across the Arctic. Nasaruvaalik Island is one of the most important monitoring sites for seabirds anywhere in the Canadian High Arctic.

We have been conducting long term studies of a number of species - arctic terns, common eiders, Ross's, Sabine's and ivory gulls - and more. 

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Tracking


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Tracking


Many Arctic breeding birds undertake spectacular migrations, some travelling many tens of thousands of kilometers each year. By using highly specialized GPS, satellite, and geolocator tracking tags, we can follow individual birds on their amazing journeys and learn more about their annual cycles and what habitats they rely on throughout the year.

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Baseline Data


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Baseline Data


Often times we will visit a bird colony only once or twice. How do we assess the health and size of the colony? How do we know what factors and variables are 'normal'? By collecting data on everything from plankton abundance to lemming cycles at key sites which are monitored regularly, we can develop an accurate model of typical conditions and use it to determine how conditions at other less frequently visited sites compare to a known average.

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Outreach


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Outreach


Data collected is interesting, but it only becomes relevant once it is shared. Our mission is to cooperate and collaborate - not just with other scientists, but with the public at large. Education and outreach are important aspects of our work, and publications in popular literature, presentations at conferences and festivals, and engaging students in classrooms and the field are all important outlets through which we can communicate our findings beyond the immediate scientific community.