March 2005

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2004 TBS Activity Photo Mosaic






Monica (Reid) spent a great amount of time on top of the workshop steel-panel roof, installing gutters and down-spouts to a 45-gal plastic rain barrel, with a brass spigot. With this rainy summer we had lots of clean water for dishes and washing. Not far upstream from TBS in the Blind River there is now a big beaver dam and lodge. The river, therefore, has a high level of miscellaneous coliform bacteria as well as a rather high level of E. coli, so we no longer use that water for drinking or washing dishes or clothes. We now haul our drinking water from the pump at the cottage colony on the south side of the lake or bring a supply each trip from the city.

Monica also installed steel roof panels on the privy ("Jim's john") overlooking the bog to the north and northeast of Home Hill. She also outfitted the kitchen propane bottles with new valves and attachments.

The Conley-TBS-Resources garage on the south side of Wallace Lake was broken into between 16 and 19 September. The Conley aluminum boat and the Resources 18-foot aluminum canoe were stolen, as well as several paddles, oars, life jackets, etc. The TBS "Motoski" snowmobile was stored there for the summer, wrapped up in an orange tarp. Nothing was stolen from it but it was vandalized by having sand and gravel from the garage floor poured into the gas tank. (The Conley "Olympique" snowmobile was similarly vandalized.) Les Pelletier and Charles Pruitt heaved the Motoski into Les' truck and he brought it into the city where it spent the winter being dismantled, cleaned and repaired.




Monica, Les Pelletier and his nephew, Cory LaMott, participated in the Annual Nocturnal Owl Survey in March. This yearly survey, originated by Dr. Jim and Patsy Duncan, is becoming a widespread event.

We sampled the six small mammal plots for the 27th year. Blood samples of the 2004 collection were tested for hantavirus by the Federal Virology Lab in Winnipeg. All samples reported negative. Populations of small mammals continue well below the levels of the 1980s and 90s.

Both Monica and I spent most of the winter preparing papers for publication. My large paper on techniques and reasons for detailed study of snowcovers has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Field-Naturalist.




Two groups of Outward Bound students visited; one group of ten with 2 instructors on 15 June and the same number on 23 June. We gave them each a "Natural History Day" of informal lectures on the basic ecology of the taiga, the history of the region and display of a representative sample of specimens of some of the mammals of the area. Dr. Karen Johnson was with us for the group on 23 June. Monica collected a big plastic bag of plant samples and Dr. Johnson showed the group how to identify the species of each and something about the habitat and potential uses of some of them. Monica took the group, in the pouring rain, to a couple of her study plots and gave field lectures on the ecological history of the plots. Madeline (Monica's sister) and her husband Bernt Grashoff visited from Germany and spent some time with us. Madeline is engaged in translating "Wild Harmony" into German.

This next report is not about a "visitor" but a permanent resident of Home Hill a big female Red-Sided Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). We have seen her a number of times as well as several very young snakelets. They all like to bask on the front porch of the Lab on hot days. They are all of the dark phase, velvety black, with a bright yellow longitudinal vertebral stripe. Several times I have seen them disappear into a crack in the Shield basement rock. I wonder if this is a den or just a temporary refuge when disturbed. They would be perfect subjects to radio-tag.

Thanksgiving Day (10 October this year) was warm and sunny so we again set up the table outside and had a feast of baked salmon, potatos, carrots and parsnips, salad, pie, with a bit of wine to set it off, with cantaloupe and grapes. Participating were Monica (and Sasha), Les Pelletier, Cory LaMott, Margaret Young (Bill Conley's niece, visiting from Illinois), Martin Zeilig, Erna, Bill and Charles Pruitt.




Chim Wong gave a handsome financial donation to TBS. Thank you, Chim.




Pruitt, W. O., Jr. and L.M. Baskin. 2004. Boreal Forest of Canada and Russia.;
Bilingual, English and Russian with parallel texts. 163 pp. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria. Price: Euros 28.90, ISBN: 954-642-199-5. TBSPUB62

The publisher's advertisement reads:

"Our planet's green halo is the circumpolar taiga or boreal forest. This forest is remarkably uniform in its climate, vegetation types and animal forms. All life forms here have evolved adaptations to the long, cold and snowy winters, the short, hot and dry summers, and the swiftly-changing seasons. The same genera and families of birds and mammals, although usually with vicarious species, occur in this forest type in Eurasia and North America. Humans have invaded and exploited these northern coniferous woodlands differently in Canada and Russia. The similarities and differences have been studied by biologists, human ecologists, anthropologists and other scientists at two research and teaching field stations in the taiga."

"Introductions to their work are presented here in both English and Russian in parallel texts. Such a format is ideal for students, not only of the natural sciences, but of both languages. This multi-level and inter-science approach seems to have never before been accomplished."



Wolf Heck again made the photo plate and assembled the parts for duplication. Monica used her computer skills to bring the graphs up to date.

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.



TABLE 1. Taiga Biological Station (TBS) small mammal species richness 1977 through 2004. Numbers in brackets refer to the number of sampling years a species was found on the plot. Sampling years = 26 years for ASP, ATB, ECO, JPR and 27 years for BSB and JPSP.
13 species; 671 individuals 13 species; 567 individuals
Blarina brevicauda (3) Blarina brevicauda (6)
Clethrionomys gapperi (3) Clethrionomys gapperi (27)
Microsorex hoyi (1) Condylura cristata (2)
Microtus pennsylvanicus (11) Microsorex hoyi (3)
Peromyscus maniculatus (220) Microtus pennsylvanicua (12)
Phenacomys intermedius (3) Peromyscus maniculatus (12)
Sorex arcticus (1) Sorex arcticus (2)
Sorex cinereus (23) Sorex cinereus (27)
Synaptomys sp. (3) Synaptomys sp. (3)
Zapus hudsonius (7) Zapus hudsonius (4)
Glaucomys sabrinus (7) Glaucomys sabrinus (3)
Tamias minimus (11) Tamias minimus (13)
Tamiasciurus hudscus (4) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (8)
10 species; 473 individuals 7 species, 372 individuals
Blzrina brevicauda (4) Blarina brevicauda (1)
Clethrionomys gapperi (22) Clethrionomys gapperi (25)
Microsorex hoyi (2) Peromyscus maniculatus (14)
Microtus pennsylvanicua (15) Sorex cinereus (12)
Peromyscus maniculatus (3) Glaucomys sabrinus (2)
Sorex arcticus (4) Tamias minimus (11)
Sorex cinereus (27) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (11)
Synaptomys sp. (4)
Glaucomys sabrinus (1)
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (4)
10 species, 250 individuals 10 species, 388 individuals
Clethrionomys gapperi (22) Clethrionomys gapperi (25)
Microsorex hoyi (1) Microtus pennsylvanicus (2)
Microtus pennsylvanicus (4) Peromyscus miniculatus (25)
Peromyscus maniculatus (6) Phenacomys intermedius (1)
Sorex cinereus (21) Sorex cinereus (9)
Sorex arcticus (2) Synaptomys sp. (1)
Synaptomys sp. (1) Zapus hudsonius (7)
Zapus hudsonius (1) Glaucomys sabrinus (9)
Tamias minimus (1) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (4)



Biomass Productivity of
Taiga Biological Station Small Mammal Plots: 1977 - 2004



This page created August 6, 2005.




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