News from the coast of Hudson Bay

webshotWe are working near the adjacent Cree (Whapmagoostui; “place of the beluga” in Cree) and Inuit (Kuujjuarapik; “little great river” in Inuktitut) villages. The relief consists of low rolling hills built of Prekambrain rocks, depressions and coastal dunes. Vegetation pattern is connected with landscape. The W-K region is located in the transition zone between the forest and tundra. Vegetation types include grass-dominated cover along the coast, lichen-heath cover on rocky outcrops, and lichen-spruce woodlands. In this beautiful scenery we are happy to collect samples from trees and shrubs. Thanks to excellent logistic support of the W-K Research Station, managed by Maxime Saunier, our field work is fast and efficient. We can reach the sampling sites by ATV and boat. During the last few days we have already collected about 200 cores of spruce, 50 samples of dwarf shrubs, mainly willow and birch. The weather is against us (see image J) but we don’t stop our work!

Research in the Whampagoostui – Kuujjuarapik started!

After the unexpected stay in Chisasibi on the James Bay coast due to problems with landing in the Kuujjuarapik, we finally reach the W-K station one day later. We were welcome by the beautiful weather, team of research station CEN and station manager Maxime Saunier. The first day of the our research stay was very exciting. The director of CEN Najat Bhiry took us for short excursion in the vicinity of the station and in the evening we participate in the gathering of the Cree people.

The weather is changable, but we start hard working!

at the W-K airport
From the left: Piotr Owczarek, Najat Bhiry and Magdalena Opała-Owczarek
forest tundra vegetation in the vicinity of W-K


Field work on the edge of Arctic Circle (NE Iceland)

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Last four days were very busy! Good weather and midnight sun favors hard and fruitful work. We have already collected 170 samples of dwarf shrubs (Betula nana, Salix arctica, S.herbacea, Empetrum hermaphroditum, Dryas octopetala) and 40 cores of Betula pubescens. We have worked in different locations including sea coast, rock cliffs, highlands. Four more days of sampling ahead of us!


Arrival to Iceland – Rif Field Station, Raufarhӧfn

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After long flight from Wroclaw to Reykjavik we have finally reached Iceland. Due to strong jet stream our fight was a little bit complicated with an unexpected stopover in Stavanger.

The Rif Field Station is located in north-eastern part of the country. During the first three days we observed amazing landscapes and rich arctic vegetation. We were driving along the southern coast (circa 900 km) – the most glaciated part of the island. We have already collected some samples of dwarf shrubs from warmer and wetter southern part of the Iceland, which will be used for comparison with the ones from northernmost point – the surroundings of Raufarhӧfn.

At the Rif station we were warmly welcome by the station manager – Jónína Sigríður!


Final preparations for the field season

This summer team of the project entitled:  “Growth-ring record of modern extreme weather phenomena in the Low Arctic (REACT)” will be conducting dendroclimatological research in two locations: Iceland (July) and Canada (late July- early August), where they will study how modern climate changes affect the terrestrial ecosystems. The REACT team will investigate how shrubs and dwarf shrubs, growing in the maritime or more continental subarctic and arctic climate zones, react on extreme weather phenomena. They will look for signs of rain-on-snow and other extreme climatic events in the growth-ring records of the Arctic plants.

Tomorrow we will travel from Katowice to Wroclaw to pick up Krzysztof Migala on our way to the airport where we will have plane to Reykjavik. On July 5th we will start first step of our research in 2017 – visit at the Rif Field Station in Iceland (, where we will be collecting samples of shrubs and dwarf shrubs for dendroclimatological investigation of extreme events.

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Everything is prepared for sampling: pruning shears, borers, knives, string and plastic bags. We are ready for the exciting research in the northern Iceland!


REACT TEAM: Magdalena Opala-Owczarek (University of Silesia), Piotr Owczarek (University of Wroclaw), Krzysztof Migala (University of Wroclaw)