Here are the winning photos in the Research in Action category.
1st place (pictured above): "Soil Gas Sampling for Arctic Microbes" by Martin Brummell (graduate student in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources). An array of soil gas probes have been hammered into the rocky ground of The Dome, a polar desert mountain near Alexandra Fjord on Ellesmere Island. The nalgene bottles increase the sample volume of soil gas we can analyze. Differences in concentration of carbon dioxide and other gases point to regions in the soil where microorganisms are most active. We then dig out the probes – the Pit Bag and shovel are waiting in the background - and collect soil from those regions and seal the soil in jars, so the activity can be carefully measured and the most interesting soils brought back to the lab at the University of Saskatchewan.
2nd place: "Busy Mom" by Émilie Bouchard (graduate student in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine). This research is about Toxoplasma gondii, a tiny parasite infecting a wide range of birds and mammals worldwide. It usually causes no symptoms but can cause neurological, ocular, and reproductive problems, especially if the immune system is compromised or if a mammal becomes infected while pregnant. As T. gondii can only produce eggs in the intestines of felids, which are rare in the tundra regions of the Arctic, there are other transmission mechanisms occurring. The main objective of this research is to determine major routes of transmission of this parasite in an Arctic ecosystem in Nunavut. We want to determine if the parasite is transmitted via the placenta (female foxes to the pups). To test this hypothesis, we collect and test blood samples from live-trapped adult and juvenile Arctic foxes. This research will provide important information about how Arctic people become exposed and the health effects in wildlife.