Written by Jacqueline Middleton, PhD Candidate This year’s annual ArcticNet meeting (Arctic Change 2017) was held in the historical Quebec City, QC, from December 11-15, 2017. The international conference hosted Arctic researchers, stakeholders, and community representatives from across the North. Over 60 topical sessions and more than 350 posters across disciplines encouraged learning and discussion among attendees. The venue also promoted relationship building as it conveniently provided space for side meetings necessary for project partners to collaborate.
Once again, a fantastic Student Day was held with a focus on ‘International Cooperation and Collaboration in Arctic Research’, and had its inaugural ‘Elevator Pitch’ competition, where students from across disciplines were challenged to engage audiences with a one-minute oral presentation on their poster. The Harper Lab’s own Anna Manore participated in this competition – presenting on her Master’s work with the PAWS project on shellfish contaminants in Iqaluit.
The Harper Lab contributed a number of oral and poster presentations, showcasing our research group’s work on environmental health surveillance and monitoring, mental wellbeing, as well as water and food security.
After an engaging week learning about the forefront of Arctic research, the conference ended with a beautiful banquet where awards and acknowledgements were presented, including PhD candidate Alex Sawatzky who won first place in the Health and Social Sciences category in the graduate student poster competition! The evening closed with a fantastic performance by Iqaluit artists The Jerry Cans. It was a privilege and a tremendous pleasure to participate and attend Arctic Change 2017. The Harper Lab can’t wait for next year!
Written by Anna Manore, MSc Candidate After many long flights, I landed in Arkhangelsk, Russia, to begin a week of learning with the Collaborative Arctic Summer School in Epidemiology (CASE). CASE is a meeting of epidemiology faculty and students from the United States, Canada, Norway, and Russia. It’s a great opportunity to meet with other researchers working in Arctic contexts, and I’m fortunate because this was my second time attending! A few other CASE participants from Alaska had been on my flight from Moscow, and after waiting for the rest of the participants’ flights to arrive, we set off on a 3.5-hour drive to Golubino.
Golubino is a resort along the Pinega River, and it was the beautiful setting of CASE 2017. The food was delicious, and always surprising! Breakfast on the first day included porridge with berries (surprisingly savoury), and small pastries (surprisingly filled with fish). Presentations from faculty and students began almost immediately, and continued throughout the week. Although every presentation focused on Arctic Epidemiology, the populations and outcomes of interest varied widely. We heard about suicide and suicide prevention, cardiovascular disease, perinatal outcomes, and environmental contaminants, among other topics. One presentation that stood out was by Ketil Lenert Hansen from the University of Tromsø- on the topic of “Ethical and methodological Issues in working with Indigenous peoples in the Arctic”, and focused on the Sámi context in Northern Europe. From Ketil’s talk, there seemed to be common themes between issues faced by Sámi and by Indigenous peoples in Canada. Ketil also recommended a film, “Sámi Blood”, which is a dramatized telling of a Sámi girl’s experience growing up in Sweden in the 1930s.
In the evenings, we had time for activities! The first night’s adventure was a walk through the Taiga forest to a holy spring. Some in our group were suffering from stuffy noses, so our tour guide showed us how to use the forest ants as a remedy. There were large anthills made of pine needles along our path, and to help a stuffy nose, you tap your hands three times on the anthill, bring your hands to your face, and inhale. The ants make your hands smell like vinegar, which, we all learned, is very effective at clearing out sinuses.
Tuesday night’s activity was an excursion to the nearby “Golubinsky proval” karst caves. These are limestone caves carved by water, and there are tunnels are over a kilometre long. The temperature inside the caves is much cooler than outside, so the white limestone was coated in ice. Unfortunately, most of the tunnels were flooded, so we couldn’t go very far into the cave. But – what we could see was stunning, and definitely worth getting all dressed up for!
Wednesday night was team-building activities, followed by a campfire, tea tasting, and traditional songs and dances by the river. We heard that the singers, dressed in traditional costume, are all local retirees! Our last night, Thursday, saw us all making “Pinega shanezhki” pies and relaxing after a trip to a monastery. Friday was our long drive back to Arkhangelsk, with a stop at “Malye Korely”, an open-air museum of wooden architecture from the Arkhangelsk Region. From the museum, it was back to Arkhangelsk and the airport – a great end to a great week at CASE!
In case you missed it, here is a story from 2016 about the People, Animals, Water, and Sustenance (PAWS) Project. In this article, MSc Candidate, Anna Manore, describes her data collection in Iqaluit, Nunavut. With over 150 shares on social media, don't miss reading this article! http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/clam-study-iqaluit-1.3767015
Written by Anna Manore, MSc Candidate Things have been progressing well in Davis!
In February, I presented mine and People, Animals, Water, and Sustenance (PAWS) project's work at the Northern California Parasitologists’ Spring Meeting at San Francisco State University (SFSU). The meeting was attended by faculty and students, mainly from SFSU, and who seemed to mainly work on Lyme disease. Some of the presentations brought back memories of a PopMed Seminar at the University of Guelph, where some preserved ticks were passed around…
Because the meeting was on the Saturday before Presidents’ Day, I spent the rest of the long weekend (along with a housemate of mine) exploring the city. Riding a cable car, climbing Telegraph Hill, and seeing sea lions on Pier 39 were some highlights of the visit.
I was lucky enough to return to the city the following weekend with a friend from home, and got to explore even more! Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and a trip to Point Reyes National Seashore were the main activities, and they were both excellent.
In the lab at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), I’ve been working closely with lab technicians Beatriz and Brittany to make sure everything is ready to start testing the Nunavut clam samples for Cryptosporidium and Giardia. In fact, we tested our first batch of clam samples just last week. Things are progressing well, and there’s still lots of work to be done!
Written by Anna Manore, MSc Candidate After an early flight on Friday the 13th, I felt very lucky to arrive safe and sound in sunny Davis, California! I’m incredibly fortunate to be spending the next few months at UC Davis, working in Dr. Karen Shapiro’s lab to test clam samples from Nunavut for the enteric pathogens Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
My first weekend was spent running errands and settling in. One part of my routine that I could continue was a Saturday morning visit to the Farmer’s Market. Although the atmosphere at the Davis market is like the one in Guelph, the variety of produce is very different. The farmer’s market is right next door to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame – which is well-placed in Davis. The whole city is very bike-friendly, and almost perfectly flat, making it easy to get around on two wheels. The only obstacle to biking is the rain. This winter in Davis has been very rainy, and it’s definitely taken some getting used to!
For the first few weeks in the lab, I’ve been learning a lot by shadowing Beatriz, the lab technician. She’s been so great and has been teach me the lab methods I’ll be using. I’ve also been working to compare different gel dyes so I can compare my results to ones that I get in Guelph. The work I’ve been doing is helping to lay the groundwork before I begin testing my clam samples, which will hopefully happen soon!
My first California adventure was a short weekend trip to Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Seeing otters and sea lions right from the beach was a highlight of my trip so far!
Written by Sherilee Harper The poster session is one of my favourite aspects of the ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meetings, and this year was no exception. Of all the conferences that I have participated in, the ArcticNet poster session is among the best attended and most engaging poster sessions.
Our research group had a number of posters presented at this conference, showcasing work that ranged from climate change impacts on mental health and wellbeing, to community-based climate-health monitoring, to place-attachment and maternal health, to caribou documentaries, to one-health projects.
Members from our research group were awarded 1st and 2nd place in the Graduate Student Poster Competition! Congratulations David and Alexandra for your 1st and 2nd place win (respectively)!
Written by Anna Manore, MSc Candidate
On November 16th, students from the Harper Lab showcased their work at the OVC Graduate Student Research Symposium through posters and oral presentations. Students Danielle Julien and Anna Manore took home the 1st place prizes in the PhD and MSc poster competitions, respectively.