Arctic Change 2017: Monday round-up

It is snowing in London. Roll on the inevitable British winter – the blocked roads, the cancelled flights, the closed schools and the queues at petrol stations. Outside our «charmant appartement» here in Québec City we look out on snow piling high on church towers, listen to the sound of crunching boots and catch our breath in the -15°C air. Winter may have arrived in La Belle Province, but the Arctic Change 2017 conference is in full swing.

We arrived this morning in the huge Centre des congrès de Québec to the chatter of Arctic researchers of all ages – from the long stockings and tartan skirts of schoolgirls to the suitcase wheeling suits of professors. Everything about a conference was soon underway. Bonding over velcro in the poster hall. Unexpected feedback in the plenary. A sudden lack of technical support at the critical moment. In a room full of excited scientists, none of it really matters.

Today was the ‘Student Day’, a chance to warm up after the main event kicks off tomorrow. The highlight for us by far was the student elevator pitches – one slide and one minute to sum up a research project. We were blown away by the quality and range of work underway across the Arctic, and the quality and range of talks! Ukelele songs and caribou cams, teabags and drones, Facebook, fishing, birdsong, belugas…the list goes on.

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One minute, one slide

The rest of the day unfolded in a series of meetings, workshops and panel discussions. We enjoyed learning about international collaboration, data management and policy making, among others. Most of all, we enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones (still looking for two months at sea anyone??), before retiring to the Arctic-themed pub quiz to end the day.

It’s now 10pm and the snow is still falling. Bring on tomorrow.

Enjoying snowy Québec!

If you want to meet any of Team Shrub or find out about our work, you can catch us at:


MON06 – I. Monitoring, Modeling and Predicting Arctic Biodiversity
(Wednesday, 10.30-12.00, Room 203)

10.45 – Isla Myers-Smith: Attribution of ecological change to warming across the tundra biome – a summary of recent data syntheses
11.15 – Jeff Kerby: Meso-scale Arctic ecology: Leveraging the High Latitude Drone Ecology Network (HiLDEN) to address longstanding knowledge gaps

MON05 – I. Arctic Remote Sensing: Improving Arctic Monitoring of Sea Ice, Snow, Glaciers and Permafrost for Wildlife Preservation
(Thursday, 10.30-12.00, Room 302 B)
10.45 – Jakob Assmann: Drone imagery reveals scale mismatch between satellite-observed tundra greenness and on-the-ground vegetation monitoring

ECO13. Arctic Tundra and Vegetation
(Thursday, 10.30-12.00, Room 303 A)
10.45 – Haydn Thomas: Changes in plant functional traits across a warming tundra biome: Linking vegetation change to ecosystem function

MON05 – II. Arctic Remote Sensing: Improving Arctic Monitoring of Sea Ice, Snow, Glaciers and Permafrost for Wildlife Preservation
(Thursday, 13.30-15.00, Room 302 B)
14.30 – Andrew Cunliffe: Monitoring Arctic changes with drones

ECO14 – II. Arctic Wildlife
(Thursday, 13.30-15.00, Room 301 B)
16.15 – Cameron Eckert: Identifying key wildlife movement corridors on Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park

INT03. Arctic Cooperation in Action – the UK-Canada Arctic Partnership, 2017 Bursaries Programme: Aims, Results and Next steps
(Thursday, 15.30-17.00, Room 303 A)
16.45 – Isla Myers-Smith: Quantifying the drivers of rapid tundra vegetation change – increased productivity and permafrost thaw


156 – Sandra Angers-Blondin: Reading between the rings: How does competition affect the climate sensitivity of shrub growth?

158 – Haydn Thomas: Decomposition patterns across the tundra biome: Litter substrate explains more than environment.

159 – Jakob Assmann: Snow-melt and temperatures – but not sea ice – explain variation in tundra spring plant phenology on Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island

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