NatureNL Blog

Welcome to the Nature Newfoundland & Labrador Blog. Here we share interesting local nature stories, photos from our hikes and events, selections of articles from our publication ‘The Osprey’, and more.

5 Neat Things about Microplants

Posted November 27, 2018

Gene Herzberg recently gave a beautiful Nature NL talk about plants of the Limestone Barrens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

The adaptations that these plants have developed to cope with this windy, cold, nutrient-poor environment are fascinating. For example, irregular surfaces on leaves help retain moisture, while fuzzy coats break up winter winds. And the growth form of rounded mounds that many of these plants show is a tight compact structure that keeps the flowers warm and protected from the wind.

 

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Outport Chronicles: A Weekend in Grates Cove, NL

Photos by Sara Jenkins & John Jamieson

Posted November 22, 2018

 

This chilly winter weather has us thinking back on some of the fun we had before the snows hit.  This October, as a thank-you to our valued members who make all of our programming and educational activities possible, we organized a members-only weekend retreat to Grates Cove, NL.  We chose Grates Cove because its remoteness, rugged beauty, and the ingenuity of this community’s adaptation to both the natural landscape and changing lifeways of Newfoundland and Labrador inspire us to get out and celebrate both our province’s natural heritage and our role within it.

 

Grates Cove is the northernmost community on the Avalon Peninsula, located at the tip of the Bay de Verde Peninsula and situated in the eastern hyper-oceanic barrens ecoregion.  This ecoregion is restricted to several isolate localities in Newfoundland and is characterized by extensive carpets of heath with diverse lichen, moss, and ground plant communities. In the fall, the entire landscape seems ripe with edible bounties of berries.
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Researcher Spotlight Series: Michelle Fitzsimmons

By Michelle Fitzsimmons, Memorial University

Posted November 19, 2018

Editor’s Note: In our Research Spotlight Series we shine a light on exciting research in our province. In this post we showcase Michelle Fitzsimmons who recently defended her PhD thesis in the Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology Graduate Program, Memorial University.

 

 

 

 

Researcher Michelle Fitzsimmons.

 

My research focused on investigating the behavioural and physiological responses of Atlantic puffins to changing food resources. I studied puffins in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is home to the largest breeding colony of Atlantic puffins in North America. Over a period of four breeding seasons, I conducted two separate food supplementation studies, in which natural prey abundance also fluctuated greatly. Infra-red video cameras and Passive Integrated Transponder tags were used to identify parents and observe provisioning behaviour and parent-chick interactions.

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2018 Wild Things Scholarship Winners

The Wild Things Scholarship recognizes the enthusiasm and efforts of post-secondary students whose volunteer activities have helped conserve or enhance nature in Newfoundland and Labrador. The award was funded by Wildland Tours and St. John’s businessman Dave Snow, a well-known conservationist in Newfoundland and Labrador and an alumnus of Memorial University. To date, the scholarship has awarded more than $25,000 to students.

 

The Scholarship presentation took place on November 7th, with representatives from Nature NL, Memorial University and the Snow Family present. See the article by Kelly Foss in the MUN Gazette here.

 

 

The Dean of Science at Memorial, Dr. Mark Abrahams, presenting at the Wild Things Scholarship ceremony, Nov. 7th, 2018.

 

Committee Report

By Rita Anderson

 

The 2018 Wild Things Scholarship competition received 15 applications from around the province; 9 applications were complete.  Rita Anderson coordinated the competition, while Sara Jenkins, Jennifer Sullivan and Tara Stucklass independently evaluated the applications. We are pleased to note that volunteering on behalf of the environment and nature is alive and well, as several applicants had volunteered an amazing amount of time and energy on behalf of our provincial nature.  Impressively, the volunteer activities of two applicants were so striking that the committee decided to make two awards this year.

 

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Moth Walls: Living Placards for Biodiversity

By Joe Bowden, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Corner Brook, NL

Posted October 26, 2018

 

 

 

My good friend and colleague Marianne Graversen in Aarhus, Denmark first introduced me to the concept of the moth wall while I was a postdoc (2013-2015) at Aarhus University and Natural History Museum (where she works). I remember heading out to one of their National Parks, Mols Bjerge, and seeing this white wall on a forest edge and thinking, “This is a fantastic idea!” During the day, it’s just a white board with a light fixed to it. At night, it is quite a spectacle when the light comes on. Moths (among other insects and the bats that eat them) start bombing around and eventually land on it. I also thought, “We need this kind of thing in Canada,” and was determined to get such a project up-and-running as soon as I could get the opportunity.

 

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