17 July, 10 AM, Dawson City, Yukon
I am back in the world of electricity, Internet, hotels, and tourists. The layers of mosquito repellent have finally been washed off after a much-needed shower in the Hotel last night.
The big news is that the day after I last wrote, we managed to find and collect Pardosa glacialis! We woke early on July 15 and went up to the high elevation tundra habitats located exactly on the border of the Yukon and NWT (we are not even sure what Territory to write on our collection labels! – the site was, literally, on the border!). All five of us helped Katie look for wolf spiders, and after a couple of hours of searching and collected, we found dozens of specimens – this was thrilling, as these specimens are very important for Katie’s research and we were getting anxious about not finding any. We also got a little bit lucky – within an hour of that sampling, some rather nasty weather blew in and we were forced back to camp for the afternoon. In the rain, tundra wolf spiders tend to hunker down deep into the moss and lichens, not to be seen.
I have mixed feelings about being able to catch up on e-mails, and I certainly miss my family. However, I am also missing the fields of cottongrass on the Arctic tundra, eating cloudberries in high mountain passes, and seeking new localities for the Arctic pseudoscorpion. The Dempster Highway is a biologist’s dream – full of wildlife, stunning vistas, amazing habitats, a unique biogeographical history, and a region that hosts a rather stunning and diverse arthropod fauna.
I will be back up here again.