Kristina Miller is a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary in the Geography Department. Her research aims to calculate a water balance for Lhù’ààn Mân’ (Kluane Lake) watershed and quantify carbon dioxide and methane exchange between the lake and the atmosphere. Kristina’s research was inspired by discussions between community members and researchers at the 2019 Kluane Lake Research Summit. Summer 2022 was the second summer Kristina spent in the region collecting data and more importantly learning about the environment. In summer 2022 Kristina wrote an essay on the benefits of extended data collection seasons in Arctic and co-presented with KFN elder Dr. Alyce Johnson at the Canadian Water Resources Association conference in June.
Dr. Alison Criscitiello is the Primary Investigator for the Mount Logan ice core extraction project. She is an ice core scientist at the University of Alberta in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Director of the Canadian Ice Core Lab. The goal of this project was to obtain a full holocene ice core record on Mount Logan’s summit plateau. Dr. Criscitiello and other team members of the project climbed for ten days to reach the plateau and drilled 14 hours per day for 10 days, with the return trip lasting 27 days. The team used a ground penetrating radar to locate the ideal site for the ice core and then used the Eclipse Ice Core Drill to drill 327 m of ice. The ice core is expected to contain more than 20,000 years of climate history. As part of this project, the Kluane Lake Research Station was used as a staging area for researchers and equipment.
Dr. Luke Copland’s research focuses on measuring the dynamics, surges, and long term changes of glaciers in Kluane National Park. The research is conducted at Fisher, Lowell, Dusty, Kaskawulsh, Little Kluane, and Donjek glaciers and the Discovery and Eclipse Icefields in the St Elias Mountains. GPS stations on Donjek, Kaskawulsh, and Lowell glaciers monitor ice flow, glacier dynamics, and mass balance to understand how they are changing with the changing climate. Weather (temperature, humidity) and glacier mass balance are monitored in the icefield. Although glaciers have always been changing, their melt rates have been accelerating. The research is aiming to learn more about what the dominant behaviour of the glaciers will be and how long until these behaviours take effect. The research addresses the vulnerability of glacier connected resources and impact on communities that depend on them.
Dr. Dan Shugar is a Geomorphologist at the University of Calgary. Dr. Shugar and his Masters student, Jackson, are trying to understand the surface topography underneath Tweedsmuir Glacier and learn about Turnback Canyon. To do this, they used a few different methods for data collection. To determine the thickness of the ice of the glacier, they used a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) from a helicopter to map points. In Turnback Canyon, samples of bedrock were taken to be analyzed to determine how long they’ve been exposed to cosmogenic rays.
Arnold Downey is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Montreal. His research focuses on measuring optical properties of the mineral dust aerosols from the Ä’äy Chù river valley in Kluane National Park and relating them to their chemical composition and size distribution. Arnold is researching how mineral dust interacts with light and will relate this to its composition to improve the accuracy of climate modeling. Downey is conducting this research in the Kluane region since the increased frequency and severity of dust events is a relatively new environmental change to the region due to the drying of the Ä’äy Chù as well climate change has shown to have a more pronounced effect in northern regions.
Dr. Christie Sampson is conducting postdoctoral research on fish biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. The pilot study she is working on is looking at microplastics in aquatic systems. In 2022 summer, Dr. Sampson and her assistant, Jonas Stadfeld, used KLRS as a staging base for their data collection. The fieldwork involved collecting macroinvertebrates, minnows, and larger fish at the Kluane, Donjek, and White Rivers, and their tributaries. The different sizes of fish were chosen to see how microplastics would move through the food chain in aquatic systems.
Sophie Pouillé is a PhD student in the Biogeography Lab in the Department of Geography at the University of Montreal. She is studying the impacts of dust deposition on soil and vegetation around Lhù’ààn Mân’ (Kluane Lake). To do this, Sophie took samples of lichen, plants, soil, tree cores, and lake cores. Sophie is conducting this research to understand if it’s possible to follow dust deposition events and composition of dust in soil and vegetation. Communities in this region use plants, and understanding the effects of dust deposition can assist in informing how composition of plants is changing.
Sarah Sapper is a PhD student in the Geosciences and Natural Resource Managemnet Department at the University of Copenhagen. Sarah studies greenhouse gas emissions at glacier snouts on Greenland. In 2022, through the INTERACT Transnational Access program, Sarah collected first greenhouse gas measurements at the toe of Kluane, Donjek, and Little Kluane Glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains.
Dr. Michel Baraër is an Associate Professor of Construction Engineering at L'École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) at the University of Quebec. He is a Primary Investigator in the Hydrology, Climate, and Climate Change (HC3) Research Laboratory studying the impact of cryospheric changes on water resources. His research is focused on studying the continuum of debris-covered and rock glaciers and their drainage systems in the St. Elias range. Part of Dr. Baraër’s team in summer 2022 were Eole Valence, Bastien Charonnat. To conduct this research, Dr. Baraër and his team spent time in rock piles near Shar Ta Ga’ ( Grizzly Creek valley) to learn about the drainage systems of the rock- and debris-covered glaciers. The team collected samples and used remote sensing methods to collect data.
Colin Bonner is a PhD student in the Department of Integrative Biology in the MacDougall Lab at the University of Guelph. Colin’s research project is focused on the seasonality of plants along an alpine gradient ranging from the boreal forest to alpine tundra. The research project aims to predict future community compositions. Colin returned to KLRS for a second season in summer 2022. He researched the phenology changes within each plant species across an elevation gradient and how that relates to their reproductive output, with a particular focus on fall senescence timing.
Hannah Miller is a Masters student in the Integrative Wildlife Conservation Lab at Trent University. Her research focuses on snowshoe hares and she is looking at how their home ranges vary throughout the nine- to eleven-year snowshoe hare cycle. Understanding the variation of the home ranges helps to provide information about the snowshoe hare cycle, which is important as the hares are a keystone species with reverberating effects in the boreal forest.
Savanah Muller is a Masters student at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in Environmental Sustainability. Her research is part of the Bringing Research Home project, which has a goal of developing tools or mechanisms to enhance the ability for the Kluane First Nation to actively drive and engage in research on their traditional territory and to guide a more ethically engaged research process. Savanah’s research focuses on how researchers are responding to or engaging with the Kluane First Nation’s research protocols, expectations, and guidelines. In 2022 Savanah conducted interviews with researchers and engaged in participant observation methodology as she stayed at KLRS and other research accommodations, including Outpost and Yukon University to meet and build a rapport with researchers.
Dr. Ryan Danby is a Primary Investigator of the Danby Lab and is part of the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of Geography at Queen’s University. His research in Kluane centres on trying to broadly understand the causes and consequences of ecosystem change. His long-term research is on tree-line dynamics. The goal of this research is to understand the boundary between forest and alpine ecosystems, what causes that boundary to exist, and how climate change could affect and is affecting that boundary. Dr Danby’s work this summer was supported by graduate students, Mary Anne and Sandra, and their field assistant Aidan.
PhD student Theron Finley is studying the Denali fault in Kluane National Park, which presents a hazard of earthquakes. The section found in Canada is less studied than that in the United States, and there are outstanding questions, such as how it moves and how complex it is. Theron and his team returned for a second data collection campaign at KLRS in 2022 and collected LiDAR data from a high resolution drone.
Experience Howl, founded in 2021, is an organization offering experiential programs to youth aged 18 to 30 in Alberta and Yukon Territory. The organization offers program options for a semester-long experience in Canmore, Alberta or a ten day-long experience in the Kluane region in Yukon. In May Howl educators and facilitators spent a weekend at the Kluane Lake Research Station to learn about the kinds of experiences Howl participants would have in the Yukon. Later in the summer, the first Howl ten-day experience program took place in Yukon.
Rene Lapierre brought fourteen eighth-grade students from F. H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse to KLRS for their fifth-annual year-end science and outdoor education field trip. While at KLRS, the students spent time hiking and took part in activities with researchers that complemented their school curriculum.
12 students from the University of Ottawa visited KLRS as part of a glaciology and cold regions field school led by Drs. Luke Copland and Jean Bjornson. They learned about field data collection methods, geomorphology in the region, spent part of the field school at Icefield Discovery camp in the St Elias icefield, and worked on individual projects.
Girls* on Ice Canada is a non-profit organization providing tuition-free expeditions to 16-17 year-old girls and female identifying individuals. The 12-day expeditions are instructed by women guides, artists, and scientists. In 2022, KLRS hosted the first Yukon-based expedition of G*OIC, where the participants traveled to spend 6 days in the Tatshenshini-Alsek park learning about the landscape and glaciers. At the conclusion of the expedition, KLRS hosted an afternoon where participants presented their science projects to the researchers and members of the community.
Y2C2 is a conservation program for youth in Yukon Territory. The Yukon Government program provides hands-on experience and opportunities to work with researchers. This year, the group updated one of the cabins at KLRS, talked to researchers, and helped with water sampling for a hydrology project. They returned a few weeks later to help with Community Ecological Monitoring Program (CEMP) and spent time counting hare pellets, mushrooms, berries, and spruce cones.
KLRS had the honor and pleasure of hosting a training camp for Indigenous youth. This training camp is a part of Norma Kassi’s project titled “Youth Training in Ethical Knowledge Sharing and Co-Production to Advance Northern, Indigenous-Led Conservation and Stewardship”. Norma Kassi is the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) Co-Research Director, and her project was awarded the 2020 Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP). With the support of CMN and the AIP, the camp included researchers and Indigenous leaders and elders to train Indigenous youth to be guardians and researchers who care for the land and water within their traditional territories.
An undergraduate field school from the University of Exeter visited KLRS with two groups in 2022 - one in May and one in September. They learned from local community members about the land, hiked, and conducted projects at KLRS. In these field schools students explored wilderness habitats starting from the boreal forests, lakes, and taiga of Kluane Lake, through the alpine tundra and icefields of the St Elias mountain range, to study how these ecosystems formed and how they function. Students also enhanced their research skills by undertaking field studies in terrestrial and freshwater environments developing projects in small groups.