In the Field

Explore our work in the field, the instruments use, and why collecting these measurements is important.

One of our favourite parts of doing research is the ability to soak in the natural systems we are studying by conducting field work. Connecting with the outdoor world fuels our sense of wonder and curiosity about our surroundings, and makes us better scientists.

Have a look through the gallery to explore some of the work we get to do in the field, the cool instruments we get to use, and why collecting these measurements is important.

Collecting data in shallow rocky water

Temperature loggers deployed!

Here, Inuit Research Coordinator Almuni Sydney Dicker is setting out a temperature logger. Temperature loggers are devices we use to measure water temperature over a period of time.

Sampling in a stream

Setting up the temperature logger

The Inuit Research Coordinators tied data loggers to rocks and submerged them in 2 creeks around Nain. The loggers help us recognize changes in water temperature through each season.

Sampling in a stream

Measuring river temperature

Recording the temperature of rivers is important for understanding ecosystem processes, fish habitat, seasonal changes, and the formation of river ice.

Students breaking through the ice in the field

Loggers collected!

Months later, Inuit Research Coordinators John Winters and Caroline Nochasak returned to the same rivers to collect the temperature loggers.

Two people posing after collecting samples

There it is!

Here, John Winters and Caroline Nochasak show us one of the temperature loggers currently out in the field. They tied orange tape to it so we can find it easily next season.

Close up view of cell phone displaying research data

What does it show us?

Data from each logger was collected through Bluetooth, then the HOBO app immediately created graphs for us to see! One thing we noticed is that one river was warmer than the other in the summertime, but both of them are close to freezing now. One river cooled down faster than the other.

Deploying a sonde through a small hole in the ice

CTD Sampling

Here, Inuit Research Coordinator Alumni Sydney Dicker measures oxygen, chlorophyll, dissolved organic matter, and turbidity with a RBRconcerto³ CTD instrument.

Two people doing field work on frozen ice

Why CTDs?

These measurements are taken in order to track changes to salinity and temperature in the coastal inlets of Nunatsiavut to better understand how coastal ocean conditions shift with climate change. These measurements compliment rich Inuit Knowledge, and aid in ensuring the long-term productivity of fish species in the area. Here we also have Oceans North Legend Joe Webb supporting our fieldwork.

Glider getting ready for deployment

Glider deployments

In partnership with Oceans North and local expert Joey Angnatok, we deployed an autonomous ocean glider and a number of surface ocean drifters, just off the coast north of Nain. This team also included Ephraim Merkeratsuk of the What’s Happening (pictured here) & Sid Pain of Ocean’s North.

Deployed glider in the water

Goodbye glider!

Drifters and gliders measured temperature and salinity over depth and longitude and were tracked along the continental shelf of Atlantic Canada. These data are used to identify both temporal and spatial changes in ocean conditions.

3 people posing in front of a beautiful sunsets

Aboard the William Kennedy cruise

Inuit Research Coordinators John Winters and Katrina Anthony, and NG Researcher Liz Pijogge participated in the William Kenndey cruise. This cruise was run by the University of New Brunswick.

Ocean view from a research vessel

Collections and deployments

During the William Kennedy Cruise, plankton and water samples were collected and sampled for nutrient contents. Additional  ocean drifters were also deployed and used for mapping ocean currents.

Two students talking on a boat while doing research

Data check

Terrance Scott and Nathan Jacque examine the CTD cast data on the tablet.

These images are co-owned by the Nunatsiavut Government and Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, who are working in partnership to support community-based ocean research initiatives. This project collaborated with the Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures project through the Ocean Frontier Institute

Deploying sensors off the side of a boat

CTD Training with Ocean Networks Canada

Terrance Scott (T'Sou-ke First Nations Ocean Networks Canada Youth Science Ambassador) and Elizabeth Tuglavina (Nunatsiavut Government) lower the CTD overboard while Luci Marshall observes.

These images are co-owned by the Nunatsiavut Government and Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, who are working in partnership to support community-based ocean research initiatives. This project collaborated with the Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures project through the Ocean Frontier Institute.

Students collecting samples through a hole in the ice

Major 2023 on-ice fieldwork campaign

This 2023 on-ice field season, Emmanuelle Cook and John Winters took under-ice noise measurements near Hopedale and Postville.

Monitoring equipment deployed in the water through a hole in the ice

More 2023 measurements

During the 2023 ice field season, the team measured sea ice and snow thicknesses, sea water temperature and salinity, and marine biogeochemical  variables along a series of bays and fjords near each the four communities we are working in.

Preparing sensors for deployment over frozen water

The IceShark in Nain

Dalhousie PhD student Eleanor Barry finally takes the novel IceShark instrument to the waters of Nain for her project. Here she is seen deploying it with the help of Inuit Research Coordinator Katrina Anthony at a site along Nain Bay. Locations were identified as important hunting and travel grounds through community meetings and are paired with seasonally collected CTD data.

Underwater sensor

What is the IceShark?

The IceShark, was created to collect both phyto- and zooplankton samples underneath the ice, along the coastal Nunatsiavut region.

It’s been fitted with a pump at one end which pulls water through the interior of the Shark when submerged under the ice. This water is thrust through a mesh net (a very fine mesh to collect the smaller phytoplankton and a slightly larger mesh for the zooplankton) which will filter the samples into a cod-end bottle.

Field work in tall grass

Keeping our eye on it

Inuit Research Coordinator Jacqueline Winters setting up a trail cam to see what other species are on the islands that the birds lay on.

Drone operator in the field with equipment

Flying with the birds

The face behind Birds Eye Inc (Birds eye Inc Drone Service Provider) Eldred Allen and one of the drones used for the bird research in Rigolet.

Arial shot of rocky terrain

A real Bird's Eye View!

Seabirds captured by drone service provider Birds Eye Inc. Can you spot the double-crested cormorants (shags),great black-backed gulls (saddlers) and common eiders?

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