March 2004

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2003 TBS Activity Photo Mosaic #1

2003 TBS Activity Photo Mosaic #2






We sampled the six small mammal plots for the 26th year. Blood samples of the 2003 collection were tested for hantavirus by the Federal Virology Lab in Winnipeg. All samples were reported negative. Note the apparent change in "shape" of the population curves in the late 1990s and early 2000s from those in earlier years.




Three groups from voyageur Outward Bound School in Minnesota visited. For each I talked about the post-glacial history of the region, then described the several levels of the food chain, the roles of the several levels of the chain. I then brought out my collection of skins and skulls of small mammals of the taiga and discussed their adaptations (herbivore, carnivore, terrestrial, arboreal, volant, etc.) Monica took the students to some of the permanent small mammal plots and gave field lectures, explaining her research, to each of these groups. On 29 May eight leaders visited. They were on a familiarization trip on routes over which they would lead their groups later in the summer. After their "Natural History Day" their contribution was moving a snowmobile to storage, and then moving some large logs scavenged from blow-downs across the Falls Trail. Two other groups visited, on 21 June and 10 July. After our regular "Natural History Day" presentations they also moved logs as well as one group muscling the freighter canoe into the water beside the dock.

Dr. Jim Duncan of the Provincial Government Conservation Data Centre visited, checked and refurbished his owl-nesting platforms. He was assisted by Ms. Cecilia Loughead of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada), who is a specialist in Odonata (dragonflies).

Drs. Tom Booth and Michelle Piercey-Nordmore of the Botany Department spent a few days with us in mid-July. Dr. Piercey- Nordmore specializes in lichens. We have a varied lichen flora but we know very little about the species unless they are important to Woodland Caribou. We anticipate her return for research.

A high point of the summer was the time spent with us by five members of a Japanese TV film crew. Instead of charging them the usual rates for use of Station facilities and boats we asked them is they would prepare some traditional Japanese food for us. They delightedly accepted. Unfortunately, when they changed planes in Anchorage, Alaska the US Customs confiscated all their groceries from Japan. They re-supplied in Winnipeg (which is not exactly known as a centre for Japanese cuisine!). The meals were fabulous, things I had never before tasted. And, perhaps more interesting, we made progress in learning how to use chopsticks.

We were highly impressed with the professionalism of the crew - each knew exactly what to do with the equipment and when to do it. Before they departed Winnipeg we all enjoyed a farewill dinner at a local restaurant. We certainly hope to see them again.

Monica's big project this summer was building a new dock in Conley Bay. The materials were bought by the Natural Resources station in Bissett because the dock will be used primarily by students and visitors to their teaching camp on Conley Bay. Monica did all the work (designing, cutting, assembling and painting), assisted by Les Pelletier.

We held our traditional Thanksgiving dinner outside because 13 October was a warm, beautiful day. We feasted on baked salmon, roasted potatoes, parsnips and carrots, and salad. Participating were Les Pelletier, Martin Zeilig, Deborah Voth, Monica Reid, Erna and William Pruitt. Some of Deb's famous homemade wine completed the feast.

David Wright spent some time with us during the snow season. In addition to working his mechanical magic on motors and electrical devices, he replenished our firewood supply. Thank you, David!




TBS received a very handsome donation from AZMAX, the Japanese TV production company. We also received very welcome donations from Chim Wong, David and Irma Braddell, to all of whom we convey our thanks. I continue my efforts to obtain money to endow a Chair in the Natural History of the Boreal Forest (Taiga). This fund now consists of about $380,000. Quite a ways to go, but a nice beginning.




Negotiations are under way toward publication of Korean and German language editions of "Wild Harmony," with an agreement signed with the Korean Publisher.



Wolf Heck again made the photo plates. Thanks to all, and especially thank you, Erna, for keeping us reasonably sane.

Keep up to date on TBS activities by visiting the TBS Home Page at:

Signed W.O. Pruitt, Jr.



Biomass Productivity of
Taiga Biological Station Small Mammal Plots: 1977 - 2003



This page created August 6, 2005.




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