Plants

Copyright for the images is with the authors. Please get in touch if you are interested in using any of our photos.

1 ADB Dryas
The seeds of the mountain avens (Dryas integrifolia) twist as they develop. Once ripe, they stand upright and feather outward to be carried away by the wind, dispersing to new environments across the tundra landscape.
Photo credit: Anne D. Bjorkman
2 GND Cottongrass
Cottongrass tussocks (Eriophorum vaginatum) are a distinct characteristic of the landscape on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island. So distinct, you can even see them in drone imagery taken tens of meters above the surface of the tundra. We are using machine-learning techniques to develop ways to track plant phenology, in particular flowering times, using drone imagery.
Photo credit: Gergana N. Daskalova
3 AMC Shrubs from Above
This photograph from early July – the very beginning of summer on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island – shows the tundra shrubs leafing out. The healthy-looking shrub on the left of the picture is called Bjørn. At around 1.65 metres tall and growing about 10 centimetres per year, it is probably the tallest plant growing on Qikiqtaruk! The process of shrubs increasing in tundra landscapes and growing taller has come to be known by tundra scientists as ‘shrubification’.
Photo credit: Andrew C. Cunliffe
4 ADB Salix arctica and Sea Ice
On Ellesmere Island at nearly 80 degrees north in the Canadian Arctic, Salix arctica is the dominant shrub species in this high Arctic polar oasis. The hardy plant, growing at the edge of life on land, reaches a maximum canopy height of just 10 centimetres.
Photo credit: Anne D. Bjorkman
4 SAB Evening Colours
Dwarf fireweed (Chamerion latifolium) is a plant commonly found across northern regions. Here on the shore of Kluane Lake in the Yukon, it appears very dwarfed indeed by the tall mountains surrounding it.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
5 SAB Mastodon Parade
Mastodon flowers (Senecio congestus) growing in the mud at the foot of a 40-metre-high permafrost thaw slump. Belonging to the daisy family, these flowers are among the first plants to recolonise the ground after environmental disturbances.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
6 GND Sunset Grasses
It isn’t just shrubs that are increasing in many tundra ecosystems. Grass and sedges, equally as tall as many of the dwarf shrubs in these cold environments, have also increased in locations around the Arctic, including here on Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island.
Photo credit: Gergana N. Daskalova
7 SAB Colonising Cracked Mud
The cracked mud of Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island is quickly invaded by opportunists, finding a space free from the fierce competition of other plants. As they grow, these plants stabilise the surface of the eroding permafrost landscape.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
8 SAB Cottongrass 2
Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) is a dominant species across large stretches of the tundra. Its white fluff-ball flowers can be seen blowing in the wind for miles into the distance. Retaining its dead leaves year after year to form a tussock, it plays an important role for carbon storage in the Arctic.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
9 SAB Summit Flower
This saxifrage grows on a rocky ledge at the top of a mountain in the Yukon. Like other Arctic and alpine plants, it has evolved to survive in highly stressful conditions. Its low stature and compact form reduce the amount of plant tissues exposed to wind and ice.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
10 SAB Mountain Yellow Flower
It is a tough life for these Potentilla flowers growing on an exposed summit on the Kluane Plateau. They are however very hardy and well adapted to growing on rock with little soil or water available for them to grow.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
11 SAB Dune Dwellers
Lyme grasses are pioneers that colonise sand dunes. Their extensive root network helps to stabilise the dunes, meaning that other plants can gain a foothold.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin
12 SAB Shrub Rings
Shrubs are woody plants which, just like trees, lay down annual rings of wood in their stem as they grow. In tundra shrubs the rings are so narrow that they can only be observed and measured under a microscope. The amount of wood produced in a year depends on the growing conditions, and we generally find that warming in the Arctic promotes growth.
Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin

Copyright for the images is with the authors. Please get in touch if you are interested in using any of our photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s