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All across the tree of life, we see variation - big leaves, needle-like leaves, stems that swing in the wind and hardy woody stems that only the harshest of winds can break. Summarising all this variation in species’ traits in a meaningful way is a challenging task, and one way that ecologists have used is functional groups - categories that bring together different species with similar functions within ecosystems. ~ This arctic lupine is a distinct part of the tundra landscape, with its dazzling blue flowers standing tall above lower, ground-hugging, shrubs. The arctic lupine is part of the forb functional group. Across the tundra landscape, there are many other forb species, all differing in the myriad ways that make our flowers so diverse - just as there are many shrubs and grasses. They all have to find resources to survive from the same harsh tundra environment, but their traits differ - both among different species, but also within species. When we study changes in plant communities, we often use functional groups to categorise different species. But do the functional groups accurately represent variation in plant traits? ~ We found that the characteristics of tundra plant species varied a lot within functional groups such as shrubs, forbs and grasses. This variation wasn’t always well explained by the traditional categories. Functional groups explained significant amounts of the variation in traits that relate to how plants use resources - for example specific leaf area, the ratio of leaf area to dry mass. On the other hand, size-related traits such as plant height, showed few significant differences between groups. Combining functional groups with trait variation within the different groups can complement patterns derived using just functional groups and provide new insights into how tundra plant communities are responding to global change. ~ To find out more, check out our paper in Global Ecology & Biogeography (open access) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/geb.12783 #TeamShrub #Arctic #biodiversity #ecology #plants #plantsofinstagram #tundra #flora #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #arctic_circle #arcticadventures

Sea ice movements mark the arrival of different seasons on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island in the Canadian Arctic. Sea ice break up and retreat signifies the onset of summer, but even when we think all the sea is gone, the tundra winds can bring ice back to the shores of Qikiqtaruk. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, the ice often came and went, disappearing into the distance, only to appear amidst the fog the day ofter. As the sea ice is moving, so is the entire ecosystem - birds flock to the island to breed, shrub leaf buds burst open and the tundra carpet brightens up with the many colours of Arctic flowers. As the winter is rolling in, continuous ice has once again covered the shores of Qikiqtaruk, and although it may appear still from afar, the Arctic tundra is one of the most dynamic ecosystems on the planet - all year round. Among the ice, life in the Arctic persists even in the coldest of winters, as animals like polar bears, walruses and narwals are perfectly suited to the chilly conditions. With another return of the ice, we also see another year coming to an end. It was a big year for Team Shrub with lots of science, three PhD vivas, a beautiful field season and many exciting wildlife sightings. If youre curious to find out more about what we were up to in 2018 - you can check out our blog https://teamshrub.com/lab-blog/ #inthefield2018 #Arctic #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #landscape #landscapephotography #tundra #arcticwildlife #wildlife #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #discoverwildlife @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences

Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island in the Canadian Yukon spends many months of the year under snow, and much of the physical and biological dynamics of this Arctic island are shaped by snow. Snowbeds are elements of the tundra landscape such as hollows and depressions where snow collects in winter and takes a longer time to melt, meaning that the growing season is very short. These snowbeds are often some of the most floristically diverse parts of the tundra, and during the summer they often light up in the many different colours of the flowering plant species they support. In the summer of 2018, we saw fresh snow on the island on multiple occasions - a reminder for the coming winter, when the snow cycle will start once again - a process important for both plants, as well as animals such as this red fox. #inthefield2018 #fox #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #arcticwildlife #wildlife #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #discoverwildlife @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences

Every summer, the tundra on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island lights up in glistening shades of white as cottongrass flowers open up, each holding up hundreds of tiny seeds soon to be dispersed across the landscape by the chilly Arctic winds. The flowering of the Arctic cottongrass is not just a key visual characteristic of the tundra - the timing of these life events in a plants cycle, known as phenology, also has important implications for how ecosystem function and what biodiversity they support. This cottongrass is one of 253 plant species studied in a recent synthesis led by Janet Prevéy and with the participation of Team Shrubs Isla and Anne, published this week in Nature Ecology and Evolution! The study found that climate warming shortens the flowering seasons of plant communities in the tundra - a harsh environment where timing is particularly important for food-web dynamics and plant-pollinator interactions! The shortening of the community-level flowering season was due to late-flowering species starting to flower earlier. Knowing how tundra plant species respond to warming can help us predict how plants and ecosystems will respond to climate change in the future. To find out more check out https://rdcu.be/bdbFK @janetsplanets #Arctic #phenology #biodiversity #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #plants #plantsofinstagram #tundra #flora #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #arctic_circle #arcticadventures #biodiversity @polar.knowledge @apecs.polar

A snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) rests on top of the entrance to an ice house on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island. Built by whalers as a means of storing food, now the raised surface of the ice house provides a vantage point for predators like this snowy owl - a place from where they can scan the landscape and spot lemmings and voles! This is also the sole remaining intact ice house on the island, as thawing permafrost has led to the collapse of the rest. #TeamShrub #Arctic #Yukon #Qikiqtaruk #YukonParks #wildlife #owls #birds #birdsofinstagram #ornithology #UKinArctic #inthefield2018 @rgs_ibg @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @nercscience

Escaping the Permafrost // Even the Arctic gets warm in the summer, so over a century ago whalers blasted huge storage lockers into Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island’s permafrost. After building wooden supports, these holes were covered with sod to make a freezer. All of the island’s permafrost freezers have since collapsed, apart from this one... and it too may not last much longer as permafrost thaw accelerates with climate change. Here I am emerging from the dank and dark hole that is its entrance, smelling like old whale meat. This is where we stored our food supplies that summer! This is the same island I returned to in 2017 with support from @insidenatgeo to explore how the tundra continues to change along with colleagues from #TeamShrub. Thanks to Jakob Assmann for snapping this photo. #Arctic #Canada #Permafrost #ClimateChange

Congratulations to Dr. Assmann, master of #phenology, #drones & remote sensing, on passing his viva! By filling in the gaps between different observational scales, Jakob has revealed how #tundra plant phenology and productivity are changing across space and time. Here is an excerpt from his PhD thesis: The findings presented in this thesis highlight the importance of the localised processes that influence large-scale patterns and trends in tundra vegetation phenology and productivity. Localised snowmelt timing best explained variation in tundra plant phenology and drone imagery revealed meter-scale heterogeneity in tundra productivity. Research that identifies the most relevant scales at which key biological processes occur is therefore critical to improving our forecasts of ecosystem change in the tundra and resulting feedbacks on the global climate system. #TeamShrub @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences #e3dtp Photo by Sandra Angers-Blondin

“Are plant communities all alike or is every plant community unique in its own way?“ Team Shrub, represented by Isla and Anne, was part of a global study on plant community traits, published this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution! Our study, the product of an international collaboration, found that plant communities are less different from each other than expected by chance. Most plant communities spread across two main gradients related to plant stature\seed size, and leaf acquisitiveness, which resemble closely those described for individual plants species. Filtering by environmental or abiotic processes may explain why plant communities around the world are less different from each other than previously thought. For example, when we were up the Kluane Plateau, pictured here, the conditions can definitely have an Arctic feel, and the plant community there, made up of low-growing shrubs, grasses and forbs, reminds us a lot of the plant communities we see 1000km away on the remote Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island in the Arctic. You can check out the paper here https://go.nature.com/2S7KNMO . Read more about the journey behind the paper here https://go.nature.com/2OWx7lR . #sPlot #iDiv #TeamShrub #ecology #plants #flora #plantsofinstagram @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge

Sex and pollination amongst the whale bones // This fly is pollinating an Arctic poppy growing in the nutrient rich soils surrounding a dead whale carcass. These little processes are what makes the Arctic tick. #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #TeamShrub @dartmoutharctic #UBC #Polar

The Yukon Arctic coast and Qikiqtaruk are areas with ice-rich soil, frozen year round. As the growing seasons are getting longer and the temperatures are warmer in summer months, the landscape is changing. Slump D, the retrogressive thaw slump in this photo, is a very dynamic part of the Qikiqtaruk landscape, and the headwall is retreating more and more every year. We aim to determine how Arctic ecosystems respond to warming and how plants will change, in order to make predictions about how climate change will develop in the future. Is the Arctic is getting greener? How are new technologies enhancing research? Check out this article on the RGS website for more informationL https://www.rgs.org/geography/news/is-the-arctic-getting-greener/ Photo by Andrew Cunliffe #TeamShrub #inthefield2018 #Qikiqtaruk #uedinburgh #Arctic #ecology #dronestagram #drones #yukonterritory #northerncanada #exploreyukon #ukinarctic #arcticresearch @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @rgs_ibg @edinunigeosciences @nercscience

New findings published recently in Nature show that taller plants are increasing in the tundra (doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0563-7). The research spanned several decades and involved an international team of 130 scientists and an incredible 20,000 hours of data collection! . The study provides a better understanding of how climate change can shape the structure and function of plant communities, helping scientists to more accurately predict how ecosystems might change with future climate warming. Discover more on the Nature Research Ecology & Evolution Community: go.nature.com/2N6mOuJ (link in bio). 🌱 . Images: 1. The seeds of Dryas integrifolia (Mountain Avens) twist as they develop (by Anne Bjorkman) 2. Taller species like Salix arctica (Arctic willow) are becoming more prominent in the warming tundra biome (by Anne Bjorkman) 3. The grass species Alopecurus alpinus (Foxtail grass) is expanding across the tundra landscape (by Mariana Garcia Criado and Gergana Daskalova) 4. Measuring plant traits (by Gergana Daskalova) . . #arctic #tundra #plants #ecology #TeamShrub #climatechange #environment

Late in the day on Ellesmere Island. Summer 2018. #UBC #DartArctic #TeamShrub #Canada #HighArctic #WatchOutForPolarBears

Enter the world of willows. Journey to the south-west corner of the Yukon, to a land of glorious landscapes, shrubs and magic, where willows from the south and north live side by side… to a place that never existed (prior to 2014), to a time that is now (with a small blog posting delay). It is a world where a courageous team plants willows, living out an adventure that tests how shrubs grow in a warmer climate. Check out our blog to find out how the willows are growing in our common garden in the Yukon! By studying how willows grow in a warmer climate, we can better understand how tundra plant communities will change in the future. https://teamshrub.com/lab-blog/ Inspired by the 1988 movie “Willow”. Video footage by Noah Bell and Isla Myers-Smith, edited by Gergana Daskalova. #TeamShrub #Arctic #alpine #ecology #arcticresearch #ukinarctic #iDiv #tundra #plants #flora #plantsofinstagram #biogeography @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge

August adventures on Qikiqtaruk with @kaylaarey. A remarkable opportunity to further explore the islands birds, plants, and myriad little creatures; and for me, learning so much more about Inuvialuit culture and their enduring connection to the Island. Thanks Kayla! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Qikiqtaruk #yukonparks #biodiversity #teamshrub #arctic #herschelisland #protectedareas #conservation #parks #yukonbirds #birder #birds #birding #ecologicalmonitoring #storiesofthecoast #island #sharinglifestories #thankyou

Up in the air! // Spend forty seasons studying the high Arctic tundra of Ellesmere Island, Canada, and you’ll have a perspective like Prof. Greg Henry’s. The study of plants and animals at Alexandria Fiord has strongly shaped the scientific understanding of ecology throughout the Arctic, and has been a training ground for generations of researchers. Last summer I joined a large collaborative effort (with @teamshrub!) to bring drones to this site to help characterize decades of plot-based work in the broader context of the landscape. People like Greg and his colleagues play an outsized role in our understanding of Arctic change - past, present, and future. #UBC #TeamShrub @dartmoutharctic #DartArctic #ellesmereisland #Climate Change #Parrot #DJI

Sandra Angers-Blondin #TeamShrub student and now Dr. has defended her PhD! By reading between the rings of shrubs across the Canadian #Arctic, Sandra’s research has revealed the surprising lack of influence of competition on the climate sensitivity of #tundra shrubs. Here is an excerpt from her PhD: “My thesis highlights the complexity and variability of growth responses when using radial growth as an indicator of climate sensitivity. I detected this variability at multiple scales, from plant parts within an individual showing inconsistent climatic signals, to site-scale sensitivity responding to different facets of global change. I did not find strong or consistent influences of biotic and abiotic controls on the growth responses of tundra shrubs; however, these relationships may change over time as shrub densities continue to increase and exacerbate resource limitations. With 80% of tundra biomass potentially located below ground, understanding whole-plant and community-level responses to climate will be critical to improve projections of tundra plant community responses to global change.” @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences. Video by Simon Sloan @simonsloan

Plant traits, such as height, leaf area and more, can help us understand how global change processes are reshaping plant communities across the #tundra biome. We are excited to share that the #OpenAcess Tundra Trait Team database of 92,000 tundra plant functional #traits is officially public! The Tundra Trait Team database can be used to address wide‐ranging theoretical and practical ecological questions. Identifying how traits vary across different environments can inform predictions of plant and ecosystem responses to global change. Find out more here: https://bit.ly/2ORxkLT #TeamShrub #Arctic #alpine #ecology #arcticresearch #ukinarctic #iDiv #tundra #plants #flora #plantsofinstagram #biogeography @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge

Dr. Shrub! // Prof. Isla Myers-Smith (U. Edinburgh) is a global expert on how tundra responds to climate change in the far north. She leads the #TeamShrub working group, and not surprisingly, much of her research focuses on how and why shrubs are ‘taking over’ parts of the Arctic. Seen here on Ellesmere Island waaaay up north in Canada, she seems to have finally found a spot in Alexndra Fiord free from shrubs! Scene from a busy summer full of collaborative work with #TeamShrub and the #ITEX crew from #UBC. #Ellesmere #Arctic #ScientistsAtWork #Canada

Time lines // Ellesmere Island, High Arctic Canada. #UBC #TeamShrub #DartArctic

Glacial tombstones // These boulders fall out of the receding ice, ghosts of glacier now gone. One large rock in the right of this frame is in the process of freeing itself from the ice wall. This shrinking glacier in the high Arctic reflects patterns of glacial loss globally. It’s all just so much faster up here... #ClimateChange #Arctic #Canada #Ellesmere #ITEX #DartArctic #UBC #TeamShrub

Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) numbers on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island fluctuate from a handful of individuals to a herd of over 30 muskoxen. Standing majestically in front of a retrogressive thaw slump, here you can see a single male muskox in the historic whaling settlement of Pauline Cove. Herbivores such as this muskox may be the first to feel the impacts of the changing climate as the vegetation grows taller and shrubbier in this part of the Canadian Arctic. #inthefield2018 #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #arcticwildlife #arcticbirds #wildlife #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #discoverwildlife #muskox #arctic_circle #arcticadventures #biodiversity #UKinArctic @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @rgs_ibg @edinunigeosciences @EdinburghUniversity

Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) are masters of camouflage. Almost pristinely white during the winter and greyish-brown during the summer, camouflage is their key survival strategy. We often saw them dashing around as we were progressing through daily tasks during our field season on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island in the Canadian Arctic. In 2018, we saw them much less often compared to 2017 - could it be that because of all the snowy owls around, the ptarmigan were more secretive? Using drones, we get a better understanding of how the habitat of this species, and many others, is changing as the climate warms. #inthefield2018 #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #birds #arcticwildlife #arcticbirds #wildlife #Qikiqtaruk #birdsofinstagram #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #discoverwildlife #ptarmigan #arctic_circle #arcticadventures #biodiversity #UKinArctic @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @edinunigeosciences @EdinburghUniversity

Bluebird Day! A few tardy shorebirds winging south on a bracing cold north wind (break out the toque). Bird nerd fun counting golden-plover primary tips ... one, two, three, four. #birdeverybird #yukonbirds #birder #goldenplover #birdnerd #ebird #teamshrub #migration #bluebird #happybirthday

The tundra is getting taller. || A photo from my @insidenatgeo supported grant work in Siberia. || Taller tundra. This may sound like a simple statement, but it’s backed by perhaps one of the most comprehensive studies in ecology (estimated >20,000 hours just for data collection) recently published in Nature with lead authorship by several of my colleagues on #TeamShrub. There is, of course, much more to this study than a quick summary, but I highlight this simple statement and ridiculous amount of work (the Bayesian models that quantify these patterns also take a looong time to build and run) to illustrate the amount of time and effort required to be able to resoundingly state something in ecology. Funding for basic research in the rapidly changing northern latitudes is critical, not just for targetted studies, but for having eyes-in-the-field in places were people otherwise rarely live or even visit. This week I’m in Rovaniemi, Finland for the Arctic Biodiversity Congress. Looking forward to hearing the latest on #ArcticChange from a variety of northern perspectives. #CAFF #Arctic #NatGeo #ABACongress

The tundra is more diverse than you might think. Though from afar the landscape looks predominantly green and brown, when you look closely, you can find tens of species, some of which turn the tundra ground flour into a colourful carpet of flowers over the summer. In 2017 and 2018, we went on a plant discovery mission. We identified every plant species we could find within 100m radius of our long-term ecological monitoring plots, resulting in over 60 different species. We also recorded where we found them, and our aim is to determine where across the Arctic landscape we find the hotspots of plant biodiversity. Understanding the patterns of biodiversity will help us to predict how ecosystems are changing and what this might mean for interconnected species in a warming tundra biome. #Arctic #biodiversity #inthefield2018 #ecology #fieldwork #TeamShrub #canadianarctic #plants #plantsofinstagram #tundra #flora #Qikiqtaruk #canadagram #northerncanada #yukon #discoveryukon #earthoutdoors #earthcapture #arctic_circle #arcticadventures #biodiversity #UKinArctic @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @edinunigeosciences @EdinburghUniversity

#Repost @natgeo ・・・ Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

Big shout out to many of my close scientist colleagues (including several members of #TeamShrub) on the publication a comprehensive paper (200,000 hrs of work by over a hundred scientists to collect the data) in the journal Nature. This photo is by Anne D. Bjorkman, the paper’s co-lead author with Isla Myers-Smith and others. Their words below. || Taller plants are taking over in a warming tundra biome. Our findings published today in Nature suggest that the traits of tundra plant communities, despite differing across biome-wide climate and soil moisture gradients, are not changing rapidly with warming… except for plant height! Some species are expanding across the landscape, leading to an increase in the height of tundra plant communities as a whole. As plant communities get taller, the functions of their associated ecosystems might change. Snow is trapped by taller plants, insulating winter soils and potentially thawing permafrost. If stems extend above the snow pack, this could darken the surface in spring, bringing more heat into tundra ecosystems. Our results show that environment shapes the traits of tundra plant communities at the cold extremes of the planet. With warming trait changes could alter global climate feedbacks for the planet as a whole. #TeamShrub #EdinburghUni #Arctic #alpine #ecology #arcticresearch #ukinarctic #iDiv #Nature #tundra #plants #flora #plantsofinstagram #natureresearch @natureresearch @nercscience @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge

Taller plants are taking over in the warming tundra. Our findings published today in Nature suggest that the traits of tundra plant communities, despite differing across biome-wide climate and soil moisture gradients, are not changing rapidly with warming… except for plant height! Species like this Salix arctica (Arctic willow) are expanding across the landscape, leading to an increase in the height of tundra plant communities as a whole. As plant communities get taller, the functions of their associated ecosystems might change. Snow is trapped by taller plants, insulating winter soils and potentially thawing permafrost. If stems extend above the snow pack, this could darken the surface in spring, bringing more heat into tundra ecosystems. Our results show that environment shapes the traits of tundra plant communities at the cold extremes of the planet. With warming trait changes could alter global climate feedbacks for the planet as a whole. Photo credit: Anne D. Bjorkman #TeamShrub #EdinburghUni #Arctic #alpine #ecology #arcticresearch #ukinarctic #iDiv #Nature #tundra #plants #flora #plantsofinstagram #natureresearch @natureresearch @nercscience @edinburghuniversity @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge

Thawing permafrost exposes more and more frozen ground each year forming huge ice cliffs in this tundra landscape. Slump D, as this retrogressive thaw slump is known, is retreating into the undisturbed tundra at a rate of approximately 14 metres per year, causing huge volumes of ice and soil to be lost to the ocean. By capturing this rapid rate of thaw over time using drone imagery, we can map the 3D structure and change of these dynamic Arctic ecosystems. #TeamShrub #inthefield2018 #Qikiqtaruk #uedinburgh #Arctic #ecology #dronestagram #drones #yukonterritory #northerncanada #exploreyukon #ukinarctic #arcticresearch @apecs.polar @polar.knowledge @rgs_ibg @edinunigeosciences @nercscience

Haydn Thomas #TeamShrub student and now Dr. has defended his PhD! Captured here in this pensive photo from the field on #Qikiqtaruk in the Canadian Arctic, Haydn’s research investigates plant traits in a warming tundra biome. Here is an excerpt from his PhD: “Climate change will transform plant communities across the planet. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the #tundra biome - the cold Arctic and #alpine regions beyond the treeline - where temperatures are increasing at twice the global average. As the tundra warms, the characteristics of tundra plants are changing, in turn altering key processes such as carbon storage that could have knock-on impacts for the Earth’s climate. Together, this thesis demonstrates that plant traits can be used to predict how climate change will transform plant communities and key functions such as carbon storage in the tundra biome, with consequences for global climate and entire planet.”

In stark contrast to our field seasons of the past few years, this year Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island had at least 14 different snowy owls. Owl population numbers fluctuate depending on the availability of their main food sources - voles and lemmings were peaking on the island this year. We saw snowy owls every day as we hiked across the tundra. Though for us snowy owls became a common sight, much about this Arctic-roaming species remains unknown, including the outer limits of its breeding and migratory ranges. This is the bird species that can have the greatest distance between consecutive nesting sites (over 2000 km) as they roam the tundra looking for sufficient food to raise their chicks. They can also either remain in the Arctic over winter or migrate a few thousand kilometres south. Roaming is what snowy owls do best, which is why it was such a treat to have them staying put to hang out with us this summer. PhD student @gndaskalova caught this view of one of our snowy owl companions hanging out among the blues, yellows and whites of the summer tundra flowers. #teamshrub #arctic #yukon #qikiqtaruk #yukonparks #wildlife #snowyowls #birds #ornithology #UKinArctic #inthefield2018 @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @rgs_ibg @nercscience @polar.knowledge @cen_nordique

A Polar Oasis // This valley adjacent to Alexandra Fiord on Ellesmere Island is home to one of the most intensively studied patches of tundra in the Arctic. There are very few such long-term research sites at such high latitudes (79+ North), yet these latitudes are among the fastest warming in the world. A great deal about what we know about High Arctic tundra change comes from sites like this. Not a bad place to spend a summer. #Arctic #Ecology #UBC #TeamShrub #Dartmouth #Canada

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) walks along the beach at sunset near the Pauline Cove settlement on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island. Here, red foxes feed on lemmings and voles. It was a peak year for these cyclic rodent populations at our Arctic field site in 2018. We got to witness many successful pounces by this playful blonde-tinted fox who was our fieldwork companion on the island this summer. Team Shrub researcher and University of Edinburgh PhD student Gergana Daskalova captured this evening photo of our furry friend on his way home from the hunt. #TeamShrub #UEdinburgh #Qikiqtaruk #Arctic #Yukon #UKinArctic #inthefield2018 @edinunigeosciences @apecs.polar @rgs_ibg @nercscience

Helicopter carrying a ghost? Maybe it’s just a massive popped weather balloon.... Had a brief stop-over at Eureka weather station on my way back from Ellesmere. Delightful cafeteria and friendly scientists and staff were a real treat (ice cream??!!!) after weeks in the field at Alexandra Fiord. #Arctic #Canada #Eureka #ellesmereisland #UBC #Dartmouth #TeamShrub

The problem of having too many photos to share and you get left behind, is a problem I’m happy to have💁🏻

Permafrost thaw slump I flew three years ago to make a 3D map. This work, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh, has continued annually ever since. Most of this peninsula of frozen ground is now gone. We’re now working with teams all around the Arctic to use drones to make scientific maps of tundra landscapes. Support from @insidenatgeo and @parrot_official has made my involvement possible, but the work is just beginning. We’re now back from the field and processing photographs into data-rich maps and subsequent satellite analyses. The Arctic is transforming in front of us. We know why (🔥☀️🌨), but what will these landscapes look like in 5, 10, or 50 years? What will happen to all the carbon in the permafrost? The research coming from these photos will help answer those questions. #DartArctic #TeamShrub #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #Arctic #NatGeo #NGS #DronesForGood // For more on permafrost change and research check out the timely and frighteningly beautiful article by 📸 @katieorlinsky and ⌨️ @craigwelch for #NatGeo.

A longer walk // Researchers on Ellesmere Island wrap up a long day of hiking. This was the annual trip to a nearby glacier to mark where ice turns to rock. Compared to early aerial images from the 1950s this glacier is now hundreds of meter further up the valley than it used to be. Each year, this walk continues to get a little further. I love landscapes because they inspire awe and transcend the human scale. It’s disturbing to think how the collective influences of humans thousands of miles south will have changed this very walk and its views when its revisited next year. #UBC #Dartmouth #TeamShrub #Ellesmere #Arctic #Canada #NatGeoCreative #climatechange

We found a little more summer in northwest Alaska, despite the call letters of the local radio station. #gotmilk? #ngeearctic #teamshrub

An abrupt tern // For a bird with the world’s migration, Arctic terns have a remarkable ability to fly in place. Scanning the tidal pools for small crustaceans, the will hover then abruptly dive to pierce through the waters surface as they grab their prey. Their acrobatics make for entertaining viewing as they scoot up and down the coastline. #Arctic #Tern #Ellesmere #Canada #AlexandraFiord #Dartmouth #UBC #TeamShrub

Spot the muskoxen // They’re out there, really! #Arctic #Ellesmere #UBC #Dartmouth #TeamShrub

Jump! // Blocks of ice stranded by the tide at Alexandra Fiord. Spot tundra researcher Dr. Isla Myers-Smith (University of Edinburgh) for scale. #Arctic #TeamShrub #Dartmouth #UBC #Canada #Ellesmere

Death of summer // Arctic poppies thrive further north than most plants dare live. Towering over their neighbors, yet just a few inches tall, they speckle the tundra and rocky slopes of the High Arctic. Their normally yellow (rarely white) petals take on streaks of blueish-green as summer fades, a dying burst of color before the snows begin again. Scientists track these annual rhythms - growth, flowering, senescence - at sites around the Arctic. Changes from year to year tell the biological story of climate change, how and why plants respond, or in some cases don’t, to warmer summers. Beyond serving as canaries in a coal mine, these flowers are also the basis of a rich food web in a seemingly desolate place. So, here’s to the Arctic poppy, and all it stands for. || The Arctic is a realm defined by time - there’s never enough of it for plants and animals. Ever flower, fox cub, and reindeer antler is a mark on a biological stopwatch counting down until winter. #Ellesmere #Canada #Arctic #Poppy #Dartmouth #TeamShrub #UBC #ClimateChange @natgeocreative

Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

#repost from @natgeo Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

@igrannapp from @natgeo: Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

Photo by @jtkerby (Jeff Kerby) // Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have been coming here every summer here since 1980, a polar oasis home to one of the longest running (and now widespread) experiments in Arctic plant ecology. After a long day in the field, we all take a turn at cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Canada #UBC #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #ITEX #TeamShrub // For more photos about the science and scientists at this site, #FollowMe on @jtkerby

Edge of the Oasis // Wild clouds dump snow and rain on the peaks surrounding Alexandra Fiord. Summer passes in a gasp in the High Arctic, marked mostly by endless daylight and unpredictable weather. Localized atmospheric shoving matches between airflows from Greenland and systems to the west generally keep the long-term vegetation experiments at this site calm and clear. So here we sit, watching the tempest rage around us. No wonder the plants only grow a few inches tall in these parts... #Ellesmere #HighArctic #AlexandraFiord #UBC #Dartmouth #Edinburgh #TeamShrub

Changing perspective // This photo is full of data - and that’s why I captured it. With a home-built drone carrying a Sony RX100, we snap hundreds to thousands of pictures as it flies along pre-determined transects. These photos are then stitched together and processed to make a larger map, one that captures 3D information about the landscape. While a single flower tells an important story, knowing the story of hundreds of thousands of flowers (and grass tufts, ice bergs, lemming dens, etc!) fills in gaps in our knowledge. Drones ecology is less about drones than it is fresh perspectives on landscapes and ideas about how the world works. So while this picture shows where the waters of Alexandra Fiord approach Canada’s northernmost RCMP building, it also documents a moment in time for innumerable plants and their changing environment. What will we notice is different when we revisit a day, week, month, decade later? #DroneEcology #DartArctic #TeamShrub #Dartmouth #UBC #UEdinburgh

Washing up // A quiet view of Alexandra Fiord on the east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Even in the peak of summer, ice lingers on the tidal flats as the sun glides in a continuous circle low on the horizon. Tundra researchers have spent every summer here since 1980, setting up one of the longest running (and now widespread) tundra experiments to study the influence of warming on plants and permafrost. After a long day in the field, members of the research crew take turns cooking and doing dishes. While I generally love cooking, this is one of the first times I’ve also looked forward to cleaning up the mess. What a view! #Arctic #Ellesmere #Dartmouth #DartArctic #TeamShrub #UBC #UEdinburgh #ITEX

My little Midnight Magic crapemyrtle has popped a bloom. So pretty. I love the purple foliage. This crape only gets up to six feet tall and wide. A perfect little tree that doesnt require any crapemurder. Picked this jewel up @fairviewgardencenter #dirr #crapemyrtle #itsnotacrepe #youeatcrepes #ncgrown #fairviewgardencenter #teamshrub

Frozen portal // A ladder to Dante’s frozen hell? Or a refrigerator carved deep into the permafrost? Relics of the whaling era, Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk) used to have several of these cold storage chambers dug deep into the island - though all but one have since collapsed. Fortunately none have turned into tombs, though the entranceway certainly has that character... As permafrost thaws around the Arctic, there are much bigger concerns to fret about. #Yukon #Arctic #Qikiqtaruk #TeamShrub #DartArctic @insidenatgeo

Photo by @jtkerby | In the Arctic, thawing permafrost pours into the ocean as temperatures in the region continue to rise. Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) is a small, frozen chunk of land hugging the Arctic coastline. At the western edge of the Yukon Coast, this island is a historical hub for Inuvialuit, and later, European-descended hunters, fishermen, and whalers. A few buildings remain standing on a spit of land that itself is on the verge of being inundated by storm surges (when I arrived there for the first time in 2016, nearly all of the buildings had water lapping up against their edges after a huge storm), but in summer its likely that there are more caribou on the island than people. Thats truly something considering the caribou need to swim out across a narrow stretch of the Beaufort Sea to make landfall. All along the edges of the island, erosion peels back the layers of frozen tundra - a process happening along large stretches of the northern coast of Canada and Alaska. As permafrost dumps sediment into the ocean, the creeping coastline threatens to send coastal archeological sites into the water as well. About this photo: Truly data becoming art. This photo is from a home-made airplane-style drone I built to map changes in the tundra. I joined a group of researchers (@teamshrub) to help them capture data at this site, returning in the summer of 2017 with support from @insidenatgeo to build on these efforts. Every photo from these mapping flights is a page in a larger book about the broader patterns of change happening in the Arctic. #Arctic #Canada #NatGeo #InsideNateGeo #Herschel #TeamShrub #DartArctic | For more from the Arctic, follow @jtkerby

Stunning! #tuesdaymotivation RG: @natgeo - Photo by @jtkerby | In the Arctic, thawing permafrost pours into the ocean as temperatures in the region continue to rise. Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) is a small, frozen chunk of land hugging the Arctic coastline. At the western edge of the Yukon Coast, this island is a historical hub for Inuvialuit, and later, European-descended hunters, fishermen, and whalers. A few buildings remain standing on a spit of land that itself is on the verge of being inundated by storm surges (when I arrived there for the first time in 2016, nearly all of the buildings had water lapping up against their edges after a huge storm), but in summer its likely that there are more caribou on the island than people. Thats truly something considering the caribou need to swim out across a narrow stretch of the Beaufort Sea to make landfall. All along the edges of the island, erosion peels back the layers of frozen tundra - a process happening along large stretches of the northern coast of Canada and Alaska. As permafrost dumps sediment into the ocean, the creeping coastline threatens to send coastal archeological sites into the water as well. About this photo: Truly data becoming art. This photo is from a home-made airplane-style drone I built to map changes in the tundra. I joined a group of researchers (@teamshrub) to help them capture data at this site, returning in the summer of 2017 with support from @insidenatgeo to build on these efforts. Every photo from these mapping flights is a page in a larger book about the broader patterns of change happening in the Arctic. #Arctic #Canada #NatGeo #InsideNateGeo #Herschel #TeamShrub #DartArctic | For more from the Arctic, follow @jtkerby

an inspiring photo for textures and prints, as well as being able to imagine hidden figures in the beauty of the colors .... #inspiration #texture #prints #tany_catalog #fashion #crafts #Repost @natgeo Photo by @jtkerby | In the Arctic, thawing permafrost pours into the ocean as temperatures in the region continue to rise. Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) is a small, frozen chunk of land hugging the Arctic coastline. At the western edge of the Yukon Coast, this island is a historical hub for Inuvialuit, and later, European-descended hunters, fishermen, and whalers. A few buildings remain standing on a spit of land that itself is on the verge of being inundated by storm surges (when I arrived there for the first time in 2016, nearly all of the buildings had water lapping up against their edges after a huge storm), but in summer its likely that there are more caribou on the island than people. Thats truly something considering the caribou need to swim out across a narrow stretch of the Beaufort Sea to make landfall. All along the edges of the island, erosion peels back the layers of frozen tundra - a process happening along large stretches of the northern coast of Canada and Alaska. As permafrost dumps sediment into the ocean, the creeping coastline threatens to send coastal archeological sites into the water as well. About this photo: Truly data becoming art. This photo is from a home-made airplane-style drone I built to map changes in the tundra. I joined a group of researchers (@teamshrub) to help them capture data at this site, returning in the summer of 2017 with support from @insidenatgeo to build on these efforts. Every photo from these mapping flights is a page in a larger book about the broader patterns of change happening in the Arctic. #Arctic #Canada #NatGeo #InsideNateGeo #Herschel #TeamShrub #DartArctic | For more from the Arctic, follow @jtkerby

Photo by @jtkerby | In the Arctic, thawing permafrost pours into the ocean as temperatures in the region continue to rise. Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) is a small, frozen chunk of land hugging the Arctic coastline. At the western edge of the Yukon Coast, this island is a historical hub for Inuvialuit, and later, European-descended hunters, fishermen, and whalers. A few buildings remain standing on a spit of land that itself is on the verge of being inundated by storm surges (when I arrived there for the first time in 2016, nearly all of the buildings had water lapping up against their edges after a huge storm), but in summer its likely that there are more caribou on the island than people. Thats truly something considering the caribou need to swim out across a narrow stretch of the Beaufort Sea to make landfall. All along the edges of the island, erosion peels back the layers of frozen tundra - a process happening along large stretches of the northern coast of Canada and Alaska. As permafrost dumps sediment into the ocean, the creeping coastline threatens to send coastal archeological sites into the water as well. About this photo: Truly data becoming art. This photo is from a home-made airplane-style drone I built to map changes in the tundra. I joined a group of researchers (@teamshrub) to help them capture data at this site, returning in the summer of 2017 with support from @insidenatgeo to build on these efforts. Every photo from these mapping flights is a page in a larger book about the broader patterns of change happening in the Arctic. #Arctic #Canada #NatGeo #InsideNateGeo #Herschel #TeamShrub #DartArctic | For more from the Arctic, follow @jtkerby

Alestine’s. Fish tacos, reindeer chili, Inuvialuit doughnuts, and friendly owners. Named in honour of Alestine (Lennie) MacDonald who raised her 9 children at 48 Franklin Drive, now home to the best restaurant in Inuvik. #northwestterritories #inuvik #midnightsun #dempsterhwy #alestines #teamshrub

End of land || Bit-by-bit Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) thaws and falls into the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea each year. In this region land, ocean, and atmosphere are all tightly coupled...and all changing rapidly. From @insidenatgeo, @parrot_official and @teamshrub supported fieldwork last summer in #Arctic #Canada #UAV #DroneEcology #TeamShrub @dartmoutharctic #DartArctic

Time to do some collllllddddd fieldwork at the #vcrlter! @laurenkate8 will be doing some shrub physiology and Michael will be getting preliminary data from his shrub encroachment site. It’s -1 degree Celsius this morning at the #abcrc but the sunrise is still pretty nice. #cpelvcu #teamshrub #shrubteam #whichhashtagisbest

Winter is here! ❄️ #ngeearctic #teamshrub #iti2018 @fern_and_feather

Theres none more Scots than the Scots abroad. #strathisla #spiritofthewest #teamshrub

Seedling surveys. #mingvklaketundrafire #myhappyplace #teamshrub #ngeearctic

Sunday morning commute. #muskoxofinstagram #teamshrub #ngeearctic

The living room after almost 2 weeks of fieldwork and a couple long days in the rain. #riteintherain #teamshrub #ngeearctic

Searching for birds amongst the driftwood and evening mist on Herschel Island, Canada. This is about as dark as it gets this time of year, in this case mostly just due to cloud cover. The mountains of Canadas North Slope rise in the background. I left #teamshrub last week as they continue to work on a tundra ecology project in Western Canada and have now made my way to Siberia. Ill be off the grid for a few weeks, but looking forward to sharing the science and scenes of Arctic fieldwork once Im back in contact. My fieldwork is being supported in part by a grant from the #NationalGeographic society and by the existing research programs at each of these sites. More details on the specifics in a few weeks! Now off to mosquito country... #NGS #Siberia #DartArctic #Dartmouth #Russia #Arctic #Research

Remnants of sea ice along the coast of Herschel Island in late June. The region was completely locked with ice when we flew in by Twin Otter near the end of the month, but all disappeared in a matter of weeks. When the nearby ocean is covered with ice, winds chill as they pass over, cooling nearby tundra and slowing plant development. In recent decades, earlier sea ice loss each season (on average) has been associated with earlier plant growth in spring. The chain between sea ice and life on land is. it always direct, but is widespread in the Arctic. #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #TeamShrub #DartArctic #NatGeo

Moose in the Mackenzie River Delta, Canada. Ive had a series of nights without sleep the past few weeks, and this is a scene from one of them. I was fortunate to be able to hop on a power boat ride from Herschel Island back to Inuvik with some Yukon Parks rangers, managing to cover the ~280 km trip across the Beaufort in 9 hrs or so. This scene was from after we entered the maze of channels and waterways of the delta around 5am. Once in the delta, the route became twisted, but with the advantage of much calmer water. This moose was sitting in the middle of one such waterway as our boat sped past. This was the beginning of my journey from Canada to Siberia while working on a #NatGeo grant to study tundra change in northern ecosystems. #DartArctic #Dartmouth #UEdinburgh #TeamShrub #Canada

The tip of Simpson Point on Qikiqtaruk (Herschel) Island. This bit of land is constantly reshaped by ice, sea conditions, and sediment deposition. It provides one of the few protected harbors along Canadas NW coast, and was also home to me, Yukon Parks rangers, and a team from the #UEdinburgh as we spent part of June and July studying patterns of vegetation change on the island. #NatGeo #Grant #DartArctic #UEdinburgh #Canada #TeamShrub

Yukons North Slope. Home to hundreds of thousands of caribou in the summer, but also a landscape in transition. The ice that has locked the soil in a steady state for thousands of years is receding deeper - and plants and animals are responding. Ill be spending this summer studying this from a birds eye view in Canada and Russia with a grant from #NatGeo, joining up with larger research teams in each area to better understand these processes. Not sure when Ill be able to post once Im out in the field, but stay tuned for more as it comes! #UEdinburgh #DartArctic #TeamShrub #Explore #HiLDEN

#iPhone snap of the Scottish Highlands near Glencoe. Gray, cool, and beautiful. Functional tundra in a land once brimming with trees. Was just thinking someone ought to do a #NatGeo story on this region and the complex story between humans, wildlife and the elements...when lo and behold one turns up in the May issue! Great timing! Beautiful photos in there by @jimrichardsonng - check it out folks! #Scotland #Moor #TeamShrub #DartArctic

The Scottish Highlands. Taking a few moments out from planning this summers arctic fieldwork with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh. Seemingly a cross between mountains and tundra, these stunning landscapes will have me coming back for more soon! @landscapes.fr seems to be enjoying the view as well! #iPhone #Scotland #Highlands #Edinburgh #Dartmouth #DartArctic #TeamShrub

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