14 August, 2000

Dr. Radtke, Josh Ruhl (Dr. Radtke's assistant) and I are traveling this afternoon to Baltimore from Honolulu. Finally, two weeks ago, all of the permits fell into place after a year of negotiating with various agencies including the Fishing and Hunting Association at Qaanaaq, the Danish Polar Center, the Home Rule Government of Greenland, and the United States Airforce Base at Thule. They have agreed to allow us to go in and collect fish at two sites, Kap York and Lake Tassersuit. We will work with the local fishermen and hire a local hunter with his dog as guide and protection, against polar bears in parcticular.

I am very excited to be finally doing the study that we had prepared to do last year. (Please see my journal entries of August1999 for details.) Our plan is to collect 40 fish in the lakes at the two locations mentioned above. We will sex, size the fish, and remove their otoliths--a bony sturcture in their "ear"-- for work up at the University of Hawaii lab when we return. The lab work will show us whether the fish has traveled from fresh water to salt water or vice versa during any point in its life history. This can be told by the amount of elemental strontium in the otolith. If there is a significant amount, then they have lived part of their lives in salt water where strontium is more prevalent. The rings in the otoliths will also be used to age the fish, similarily to how consecutive dark and light rings in a cross section of a tree trunk denote years of age.

We will arrive in Baltimore tomorrow, rest, and catch the late night flight to Thule airbase from Baltimore Washington International Airport. The next day we fly by helicopter to Qaanaaq where we will set up a base and go by helicopter or boat to Lake Tassersuit. (See maps.) There we will set up camp, catch fish, and then fly back to Qaanaq to recoup and treat the samples. After this we go to the second study site Kap York from Qaanaaq, repeat the collection process there, fly back to Qaanaaq, treat the samples, and then return to Thule Air Base and back to the states.

Map of Greenland showing Thule Air Base (plane symbol) and Qaanaaq area at the upper left.

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