Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

Salluit Day 3: Encountering a caribou

The walk on the north-east road, heading along the coast in front of Salluit, was freshened by the breeze from the north-east wind. A gravel road trends beneath slight slope that was over-grown with shrubs, and half way to the top of the hill were covered with grassland.

Birds whistling through the rugged chilly tundra land as they fly overhead. The gravel road went zigzag up hill, and further up a hill over there, a beautifully horned caribou stopped on its track to observe us, the intruders. As not only male but also female caribous have horn (unlike other deer horns only grown on males), we could not tell it a male or a female.

Once at the top of a hill, I took a gradual climb onto exposed rocks and started looking around. Most visibly dominant lichens were the crustiose lichens of greenish concentric-circular colonies formed on the rock surfaces. The morphological appearance would be ascribed to the forms of the genus Xanthoparmelia. In close observations, the thallus formed distinct layers of inner, middle and outer thalli. The inner part may represent an oldest thallus; the outer part may represent a youngest thallus; and, intermediate thalli would be in between in ages. The distinct layers (parts) provided an opportunity to test for variations on bacterial flora found on thalli at different ages, i.e., older, intermediate and younger. And, I collected samples from each part very keenly.

To avoid cross-contamination between the 3 distinct layers, I carefully scarped the inner layers, followed by middle, and then the outer thallus layer. Although the scrapping took time and patience, the surrounding scenery compensated for it, making the sampling enjoyable.

After sampling, I took a walk to a nearby ice-block, or lingering snow, that gradually melted by the heat of the summer sun, releasing water into the surrounding grassland.

Merry Sailonga Faluaburu

A caribou (reindeer) on a Salluit valley hill

A concentric-circular colony of the lichen belonging to the genus Xanthoparmelia