On July 3rd, Amanda Droghini flew out to Diavik Diamond Mine, located on an island on Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories. She was going there to help Fred Noddin, a fellow Master’s student supervised by Dr. B ill Tonn. Fred and his team are conducting field research on the movement of Arctic grayling, a freshwater fish species. This research is in collaboration with Diavik’s habitat compensation project, which seeks to increase connectivity of fish habitat and fish productivity.
For Amanda, most of the work consisted of catching 90 adult Arctic grayling, measuring them, and inserting Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags in each one. The fish were then transferred to an artificial stream equipped with six PIT tag antennae. These antennae scan the fish as they move up- and downstream, enabling us to track their movements. A water pump was used to manipulate stream flow, so as to mimic conditions at earlier times of the year (i.e. during snowmelt). As a side project, the team also caught and measured young-of-the-year graylings at three different sites.
After his field season, Fred will analyse the data from these antennae to determine where grayling moved and how changes in water flow affects their movement patterns. Being out in the tundra with Fred and his team was so much fun (field experiments are awesome!). Amanda is really happy to have helped out and is excited to hear about Fred’s results.