Alaska Field Trip, Part 1: Denali
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
by Caitlin Carlson
As part of a NIH funded grant focusing on symbiotic relationships between insects and their microflora, the Currie Lab is traveling around the United States. We are collecting a diverse set of insect specimens from a wide range of geographical locations featuring unique biomes. So far we have collected specimens in Wisconsin, California, Florida, Hawaii, and our latest destination Alaska.
Alaska is a massive state, after some reserach we dissected the state into 3 areas for sampling. First we shuttled it in to mile 85 of Denali National Park, we then headed north to the arctic tundra 8 hours north of Fairbanks, and finally we headed back down to southern Alaska to the Kenai Peninsula.
This first post is focuses on our collections in Denali National Park.
Laura & Caitlin with full backpacking and field sampling gear headed to Anchorage, AK
After a 6 hour plane ride, a 6 hour shuttle into Denali, and a 4 mile hike we arrived at our first sampling location. We are situated at the base of Mount Denali along the McKinley river. This was by far our most majestic location, and to our surprise home to a huge grasshopper population!
Following Wonder Lake and the McKinley bar trail we moved into the Igloo Creek Campground. This site featured more forested habitat, which proved to be another very successful sampling site containing rich and diverse array of insects.
Igloo Creek Camp was our last night in Denali. All in all we collected around 100 insects in Denali, saw 10 bears, 10 moose, numerous caribou and dall sheep.
The next morning we took the first shuttle out of the park and headed up to Fairbanks to begin our next leg of the journey...The Arctic Circle, and Brooks Range.