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Assessing Berries to Monitor Ecological Change: a collaboration with Nunavut Arctic College's Environmental Technology Program

Students of ETP have been contributing to a multidisciplinary study looking at vegetation response in a warming Arctic context, with a focus on berry ecology and productivity of 3 favourite species: Blueberry (Kigutangirnaq/Vaccinium uliginosum), Crowberry (Paurngaq/Empetrum nigrum) and Cranberry (Kimminaq/Vaccinium vitis-idaea). From 2009 to 2013 they have been collecting berries following a scientific protocol in a permanent monitoring plot near their fall camp location at Peterhead Inlet, near Iqaluit. They also took measurements such as vegetation cover and height and soil humidity in 4 open top chambers (OTC's) and 4 pair control plots that were installed in 2011. They have also been retrieving soil surface temperature data from HOBOs dataloggers. As part of the student's Inuktitut class, they interviewed local Elders/berry pickers about berries and environmental changes they have observed in the region.