(August 1/15) – GPS Practice and the Geocaching Challenge
Blog entry written by: Team Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum)
Team Members: Will Baigent (UofT), Fan Wu (York), Xiaofei Feng (BNU), Chiahsing Hsu (FDU)
Weather: High of 27°C, Low of 16°C. Isolated showers in the afternoon.
The day began with a delicious breakfast of oatmeal and cherry turnovers. The food to date has been outstanding as evidenced by the speed with which students rush to line up come meal time. On this, a day that would push our physical and mental abilities to their limits, it was important that everyone would be well fed and hydrated. In the morning we were given the coordinates of a spot on the QUBS property that we would have to locate using our GPS. It was vital that we were able to complete this task as this acted as a practice round for the ‘geocaching challenge’ that was to follow in the afternoon.
After a lunch of Italian sandwiches and some last minute strategizing the class set off for the site. The geocaching challenge took place on the trails of a forested area near ‘Telephone Bay’ (18T 0391584 4933642) off of Opinicon Road. The drive from the station to the site took roughly 10 minutes and was filled with eager anticipation. The goal of the challenge was to navigate our way to a series of stations which all contained a question regarding the surrounding area. Unfortunately, our group got off to a bit of a rough start. The first station we had to find (18T 0391024 4934041) took us over an hour to locate but after some fine tuning of our GPS skills it was smooth sailing from there. We found all the remaining stations in good time and made it back to the entrance with time to spare. One of the highlights of the afternoon was finding a beaver dam not far from one of the stations. Beaver dams are of importance because they help to create healthy downstream ecosystems by raising groundwater levels which helps to provide moisture to many plants. Their ability to fell trees also helps to open up space in the forest canopy allowing for the development of understory.
We were disappointed to learn that we were not the victors on this day with that honour going to the ‘Black-Shouldered Spinylegs’. This did little to damage our spirits as we had a great afternoon and vowed to do better next time. Beyond exhausted, we returned to QUBS where it was time to relax for a little while before a supper of vegetable curry, yum.
The evening portion of the course consisted of two more group seminars on aquaculture, and oil spills. The aquaculture lecture provided the class with a sound understanding of the ins and outs of the industry as well as some information on the large economic significance of aquaculture. We learned that China is the largest producer of aquacultural goods accounting for 70% of the global market! This is largely due to aquaculture being so heavily rooted in Chinese societies as well as their easy access to numerous bodies of water. The aquaculture industry appeals to many people due to its ability to produce mass amounts of seafood but there are numerous environmental impacts associated with it as we learned on this evening. Aquatic ecosystems have been degraded and destroyed around the world in order to keep up the operations of these fish farms. In addition fish that escape from fish farms can have a wide range of negative impacts on the environments they migrate to due to their genetic remodelling.
The seminar on oil spills was also terrific. The ‘White-winged Scoters’ outlined the various oil types and the concepts behind the formation of oil types before diving into some of the biological and environmental impacts. Our society tends to take having oil for granted and often fails to see the trouble it causes to regions around the globe. Oil has the ability to damage individual organisms as well as deplete entire species populations should it leak or spill. It can also act as a devastating pollutant of both the air and aquatic ecosystems. One of the many challenges this generation faces is figuring out how best to shift our dependence on oil to a more sustainable form of energy without crippling the economies of the countries who produce it. Our group looks forward to discussing how this might be achievable with our fellow students in the second week of the course.
This day really embodied all that we have come to love about our time at QUBS so far; there was lots of physical activity, great food, and lectures that both provided us with lots of knowledge but also challenged us to think more critically about the world around us and the issues we face.
Q1 (18T 49°33′75.9″N 03°91′53.4″E)
Q2 (18T 49°34′04.1″N 03°91′02.4″E)
Q3 (18T 49°34′82.1″N 03°90′96.4″E)
Q4 (18T 49°34′20.3″N 03°91′10.4″E)
Q5 (18T 49°33′57.7″N 03°91′22.0″E)
Q1在入口处的一个转弯处，湿地规模小，水浅，水边有很多干枯的树干，很容易找到。寻找Q2时按照GPS指示的直线走进了树林，在Q5附近转了很久，最后决定回到小路上才顺利找到了Q2。Q2是一个气象站，旁边是Leroi Swamp。Q3在泥泞小路的尽头，紧靠着Cataraqui Trail，旁边的湿地中有一个河狸建的水坝，隔开了整个湿地。被隔开的湿地水位已经很低。Q4在返回的路上，有个队员走得太远差点走丢，幸好在后来遇到的Tall hairy groovebur小组帮助下找了回来。Q5在一块湿地旁边，这块湿地水较深，水面开阔，有宽叶香蒲（Typa Latifolia）和水百合（Nymphaea Alba）在这里生长。最后我们在下午四点左右完成任务顺利回到起点。各个点的问题如下：
Q1: What amphibian species do you think will breed in this kind of wetland (which that typically dries up during the summer)?
Q2: This is a weather station measuring various microclimatic variables. What variables do you think these might be and why might these be important for biological research?
Q3: Which animal do you think built this dam and why are dams important to such wetland ecosystems?
Q4: This is the common rock formation in this area (an outcrop). Do you know what this is part of and why is it important to local ecosystems and biodiversity?
Q5: What type this wetland is? What this type tell us?
晚上7点开始seminar presentation。两个小组分别是Black-shouldered spinyleg和white-winged scoter，各自介绍了水产业和石油泄漏。