THIRTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORT
TO FRIENDS OF THE
TAIGA BIOLOGICAL STATION

September 2006

" ... I have visited the Taiga Biological Station Home Page
and was impressed by the volume and duration of the research
conducted there. It seems that the only other boreal station
with comparable research efforts deployed is the Russian Academy
of Science Station on the Yenesei River ("Mirnoye") ..."
Alex Borisenko, Postdoctoral Fellow
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Guelph

Material presented herein is for information only
and is not to be cited or considered as publication.

 

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GENERAL

WET. That is the total description of the year. All the bogs are full and overflowing and the big beaver dam, upstream of our dock, collapsed and the pond washed out. Our dock is partly broken and the causeway through the alder bog is floating. We floated our loaded canoe up the causeway to the life jacket storage shed. The last time we had so much water was in 1979.

In July my son Charles and I made a work trip to TBS for some carpentry repairs. We had to slip out of the canoe into waist-deep cold water and wade ashore through the alder bog. Sometime during this process I nicked the skin on my left ankle. In two days my foot was inflamed and there was a red streak starting up the back of my leg.

We collected our tools and hurried back to the city. For the next ten days I spent several hours each day hooked up to an anti-biotic intra-venous drip at Victoria Hospital and another ten days on a regimen of anti-biotic pills. Although defeat of the offending organism was complete, recovery from and rehabilitation of the damage done has been a slow and painful process. Even now, months after the original incident, I am still plagued with pains in various muscle groups and I still need a cane to walk about. The source of the organism was undoubtedly the muck that was on the bottom of the beaver pond and that was scoured out when the dam broke.

Just in time to handle the rain, Monica had finished working on the roof of the workshop and installing a new gutter. The rain barrel is overflowing and we have plenty of clean water for washing dishes.

Blind River continues to drain the bogs and there has been open water at the mouth all winter. Wallace Lake has about 35 cm of ice; normally the ice would be about 70 100 cm.

We grieve the death of Monica's dog "Sasha." She was not a big dog but she could pull more than her weight. She is buried in the dog cemetery near the Cubby.

 


 

RESEARCH

During the period of the 28th annual sampling of the small mammal populations on the six study plots, Blind River was roaring at the Falls, so Monica did not risk crossing the river to the Jackpine Sandplain. I agree with her decision. The Jackpine Sandplain plot (as do all the plots) requires 4 visits each for complete sampling.

The informal "network" of researchers on populations of small mammals (mice, voles, shrews) in this mid-continent region agrees that there was a dramatic regional population low in 2004. Our one-acre plots also showed general agreement with two exceptions. Two of our 6 plots actually "bottomed out" in 2003 and were well on their way to recovery by 2004 (Aspen Upland and Jackpine Sandplain). Murphy's Law of Research insures that the one bit of data most desired will be precisely those data that are unavailable. Just so.

 


 

VISITORS

Because of the exceptionally high water and dangerous conditions in all the rivers of the East Side, Voyageur Outward Bound School from Minnesota cancelled all their month-long wilderness canoe trips.

Margaret Young (Bill Conley's niece) visited for a few days in preparation for her proposed trip next summer with a class from Bradley University.

 


 

DONATIONS

We are grateful to Donald and Alesa Sutherland for a welcome financial donation. Thank you!

 


 

PUBLICATION

In 2005 The Korean language translation of "Wild Harmony" was published in Seoul by the Eric Yang Agency of Idamedia Publishers, Inc.

Pruitt, W. O., Jr. 2005. Why and How to Study a Snowcover. Canadian Field-Naturalist 119 (1): 118 128.
Abstract: Specialized terminology, duration, thickness, hardness, density of the snowcover of taiga and tundra are described. Methods for detailed study of these characteristics are given, with description and use of simple as well as specialized instruments and techniques in relation to winter ecology of mammals and birds.

Key words: snow, snowcover, taiga, tundra, snow ecology, winter ecology, boreal ecology, snow instruments, snow terminology.

Madeline Grashof continues her work on the German language translation of Wild Harmony, with completion in sight.

 


 

Thank you Erna, and to all who have kept us reasonably sane. This is the only one of our Annual Reports that is lacking one or two photo plates designed and assembled by Wolf Heck. Thank you sincerely, Wolf, for all your contributions through the years.

Signed W.O. Pruitt, Jr.

 


 

This page created January 3, 2007.

 

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