Project Dashboard

Ecological monitoring of terrestrial arthropods on Umingmat Nunaat (Axel Heiberg Island), Nunavut (149302)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Anthony Zerafa
Company: McGill University
Schedule:
Start Date: 2020-06-25
End Date: 2020-08-05
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Introduction: The effect of rapid climate warming on High Arctic ecosystems is not fully understood, because we lack a complete understanding on how High Arctic ecosystems function. Terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders, etc.) are the most abundant animal life in the High Arctic, which makes them ideal model organisms for studying these ecosystems. Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut may yield valuable information on how High Arctic ecosystems function, however no ecological study of terrestrial arthropods had ever been conducted on this huge landmass. The McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS)—which represents the only human presence on Axel Heiberg Island—already hosts several long-term monitoring projects looking at Arctic environmental change. The proposed project is the PhD fieldwork of Anthony B. Zerafa (Redpath Museum, McGill University), who is working to add to the long-term activities at MARS with the establishment of new long-term ecological monitoring program that will use terrestrial arthropods as model organisms for studying how High Arctic terrestrial ecosystems work. Methodology: Four study sites, each spaced 800 m apart, will be established along the same water system in the Expedition Fiord region of western-central Axel Heiberg Island. Each site will consist of a 10 m x 60 m transect, each oriented away from the water body. Each transect will consist of 14 yellow insect pans, each spaced 10 m apart. Each yellow insect pan will contain a few centimetres of 50% propylene glycol solution (which is non-toxic and acts as a mild preservative), with a few drops of dish detergent added to break surface tension (so that the arthropods sink). The pans will be left out in this state, their contents collected every four days for a total of five or six sampling periods (logistical constraints will ultimately determine the duration of this fieldwork) and around 280-336 individual samples. Each of the four sites will also have a compact case containing Campbell Scientific weather instruments that will collect local climate data during the study period. Arthropod samples will be stored in Whirl-Pak sample bags and unpacked and sorted once back in the lab. Contribution to Arctic science: As climate change continues to alter the Arctic environment at an unprecedented rate, this project fills a vital gap in our understanding of Arctic ecosystems by addressing a High Arctic location that is severely understudied in this regard. Research activities at MARS already include several long-term monitoring projects, but none concerning ecology, and so it is proposed that this research will see the start of a long-term ecological monitoring program on Axel Heiberg Island—operating in conjunction with the other long term projects— using arthropods as model organisms for the unified goal of detecting changes to the Arctic environment over time.
Personnel:
Persons: 5
Days: 30
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
6095 polygon New project geometry
Planning Regions:
Kivalliq
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
NIRB: Screening Decision Report
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Equipment
Type Quantity Size Use
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 1 Length: 15 m; Wingspan: 20 m Transportation to and from the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) is facilitated by Twin Otter aircraft of Kenn Borek Air Ltd. operating out of the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) in Resolute Bay. Logistical support for my project is included in the logistics request form submitted to the PCSP by Dr. Wayne Pollard (Director, MARS) under MARS baseline studies.
hand trowel 1 37 cm x 7 cm Collection of soil samples.
insect pan 60 18 cm diameter Collection of terrestrial arthropods
Campbell Scientific compact weather sensor case 6 51 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm Weather sensors contained in compact, durable case for in-situ recording of climate data.
Measuring tape 1 60 m length Measuring out dimensions of study sites.
Whirl-Pak® sample bags 336 532 mL capacity (each) Storage of arthropod samples.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Aviation fuel 6 205 Liters Fuel for aircraft at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS). There are four (4) fuel storage locations for 205 litre fuel drums; these include one adjacent to the runway to store fuel for aircraft (Jet-A, Jet-B). The number of fuel drums stored adjacent to the aircraft runway fluctuates as a result of fuel caching by the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP).
Diesel 6 205 Liters Fuel for heating at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS). There are four (4) field storage locations for 205 litre fuel drums; these include three (3) locations for storing fuel and/or feeder drums to heat buildings (diesel).
Gasoline 3 205 Liters Fuel for snowmobiles, ATV's, and generators at the McGill Arctic Research Station (note that the vehicles are not relevant to this project application). There are four (4) fuel storage locations for 205 litre fuel drums; these include one location to store fuel for motorized equipment such as snowmobiles, ATV's and gasoline-powered generators.
Propane 2 45 Kg Fuel for heating (stove) and cooling (freezer) at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS). There is (1) storage area next to the kitchen building.
Propane 6 54 Kg Fuel for heating (stove) and cooling (freezer) at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS). There is one (1) storage area next to the kitchen building.
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
70% ethanol solution 4 4 Liters Preservation of arthropod specimens.
Propylene glycol 4 4 Liters Preservation of arthropod specimens (note that this substance is non-toxic and occurs commonly in some of our food products)
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
1 Pump Colour Lake (water source for the McGill Arctic Research Station)
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
This project involves digging several small depressions into the ground, spread out over a large area, in order to lay down insect pans.. The environmental impact of digging these small depressions will be negligible, because each depression will be small and shallow (the minimum size to fit an 18 cm diameter dish), and requiring only a small hand trowel to carry out the task. Furthermore, the same depressions would be re-used in hypothetical future field seasons as this is a proposed long-term monitoring project. This project involves the collection of a significant number of terrestrial arthropods. Care will be taken to ensure that insect pans are spread out sufficiently (if necessary, modifying the collection protocol) so that they do not have any significant negative impact on local arthropod populations.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Combustible wastes 60 pounds For further details, please refer to the attached document NPC Environmental Impacts and Proposed Mitigations. At the McGill Arctic Research Station, there is a SmartAsh Incinerator for processing combustible wastes.
Greywater 205 L For further details, please refer to the attached document NPC Environmental Impacts and Proposed Mitigations. At the McGill Arctic Research Station, grey water is disposed in a sump constructed from a perforated 205 L barrel buried 50 cm into gravel, which is located > 50 m from any streams or water bodies.
Non-Combustible wastes 60 pounds For further details, please refer to the attached document NPC Environmental Impacts and Proposed Mitigations. At the McGill Arctic Research Station, all glass, metal, non-burnable waste and incinerated ash is packaged in empty 205 L fuel drums and removed from camp on the first available aircraft for proper disposal.
Sewage (human waste) 62 pounds For further details, please refer to the attached document NPC Environmental Impacts and Proposed Mitigations. At the McGill Arctic Research Station, there is an Incinolet toilet for solid human waste disposal. Liquid human waste is disposed in a latrine.
Category: Application form attachment - Hazardous Material Use
Recieved: 2020-02-29
Originator: Anthony Zerafa
Public Registry ID: 17495
Document Size: 1110 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2020-02-29
Originator: Anthony Zerafa
Public Registry ID: 17496
Document Size: 82.7 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2020-04-21
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 17709
Document Size: 236.79 Kb
2020-03-05 14:01:10, from: Goump Djalogue
 Hi, Could you please revise or provide more explanation to the answers for the North Baffin Questionnaire. E.g. Low Flights; Consultation with NRI, Local services... Feel free to contact us should require any assistance, Thank you, Goump

2020-04-17 14:36:04, from: Anthony Zerafa
 Hello, I only just now noticed that you submitted this request for me to revise my answers on the North Baffin Questionnaire, and have made the necessary changes. Please let me know if there is anything else I can clarify. Thank you, Anthony Zerafa

NORTH BAFFIN QUESTIONAIRE

GENERAL
Environmental Protection:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurrences of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.
YES

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to remove all drums safely from the site and dispose of the drums in a safe manner.
YES

New Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.1 and Appendix H, s1: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its natural condition to the greatest extent possible.
YES

Old Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.2: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its original condition to the greatest extent possible, including any work required due to the applicant's action prior to this application.
YES

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?
YES

Caribou Protection Measures:
s3.3.7 and Appendix D: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix D?
YES

Caribou Water Crossings:
s3.3.7 and map: Will the applicant avoid, between may 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified
YES

Polar Bear Denning Areas and Walrus Haul-outs:
s3.3.8: Will the applicant keep its activities away from any polar bear denning area or walrus haul-out?
YES

HERITAGE RESOURCES
Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s3.11.3 and Appendix H, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (GN)?
YES

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Scientific Research:
s3.9.3: Does the project proposal involve scientific research?
YES
If yes, will the applicant integrate all available and relevant local and traditional knowledge when conducting its research?
NO

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s3.9.5: Has the applicant consulted with the Nunavut Research Institute about research topics that would benefit or interest local residents?
NO
ii. If no, explain why.
It is precisely the remoteness of western Axel Heiberg Island, located so far from any permanent settlement, that has left it understudied and therefore of great research interest for an ecological study. This study seeks to expand our relatively limited understanding of High Arctic ecosystems by addressing a region that has been left understudied, in part due to it not being located near to people.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
NO
ii. If no, explain why it is not possible.
The study site is extremely remote, located in the interior of a large island that in uninhabited and with no nearby services. As a grad student, I barely secure enough funding to get myself to this location, and so employing other individuals is unfortunately not feasible at this time. It is however my hope that this proposed project will be able to expand over the coming years, which could open it up to employing individuals.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s3.2.8: The applicant will, at minimum, translate a summary of its work into Inuktitut and communicate with communities using language that is clear and non-technical. The results of all scientific re
YES