Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Gadgets Galore

Zoe Panchen

I am continuing my journey north next week, first to Resolute and then on to Lake Hazen in Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island. I seem to have amassed quite an array of electronic gadgets to use while at Lake Hazen. Some of the gadgets I will be using as part of my research include:

GPS: I will use this to record the longitude, latitude and elevation of the locations of the plants I am monitoring and also for the location of herbarium specimens I collect.

Camera: On my twice weekly visits to each site, I will take photos of each plant species I am monitoring to record their flower and fruit progression.

inReach: This is probably the neatest of the gadgets I have. There is certainly no cell phone or internet coverage at a place as remote as Lake Hazen so this device allows me to send text messages via satellite. Here is how it works. I compose, send and receive text messages using the Earthmate app on my iPad. The iPad communicates to the inReach device via Bluetooth. The inReach sends and receives text messages from the Iridium satellite system. The satellite system relays the text messages to the inReach server. The inReach server notifies the recipient that there is a text message for them to view at the inReach website. How cool is this? Watch out for txt updates on the blog while I am at Lake Hazen!

Solar Battery Charger: The sun is weaker in the Arctic because of its low angle and the rays having to travel further through the atmosphere but the sun is up 24hrs/day in the summer at Lake Hazen so plenty of time to charge my batteries and iPad.
2-way Radio: This is so I can communicate with the warden station at Lake Hazen while I am out in the field each day.


  1. Good to read your posts, Sofia & Zoe, & hear all about your skidoo ride (I fancy doing that!!) & gadgets. Has the weekend's snow gone yet? I guess there will be more up at Lake Hazen.

    1. All the snow has gone from the Monday snow storm. With the slightly warmer weather (well above freezing anyway!) and even longer days (it never really gets dark in Iqaluit now, the older snow is melting fast.
      Lake Hazen and much of the Northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago is considered a polar desert and gets very little precipitation. I think Lake Hazen receives about 30-50mm precipitation per year (1mm precipitation = 1cm snow)! So there maybe less snow at Lake Hazen than Iqaluit.

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  3. Thanks for the equipment list. You might also consider using a chlorophyll meter which measures chlorophyll content. Such an instrument might be helpful in determining whether leaves have sufficient chlorophyll content for effective photosynthesis.

  4. If I remember correctly, the chlorophyll reader part of the meter is about the size of ones index finger which is fine for most leaves but many of the Arctic plants have leaves that are only a few mm across. So it would be a challenge to read chlorophyll levels on such tiny leaves.

    One other interesting feature of the leaves on the Arctic plants are that they often persist for several years. Over the winter months these leaves turn a wonderful burgundy red. We are now seeing the leaves on plants such as Saxifraga tricuspidata (Prickly Saxafrage) turning from red to green again indicating that they are now actively photosynthesising again.

  5. Hi Zoe,
    It sounds like things are going great up there! What an adventure to be following electronically. Amazing plant life, photos and good info.