August 2013 was an exciting month for the Biomonitoring 2.0 project. Team members once again traveled to Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. In addition to sampling within Wood Buffalo National Park, new field sampling sites were selected. These new sites were selected as part of a project focus on integrating new genomic techniques with the needs of local stakeholders.
The Dog River and the Salt River are two major tributaries of the Slave River. Members of the Salt River First Nations helped to select sites along the Salt River which winds along the northeast corner of Wood Buffalo National Park. A crew of field technicians and summer students from the Smith’s Landing First Nations assisted with sampling on the Dog River which empties into the North side of the Slave River. Team members from Smith’s Landing were able to provide an oral account of the present and historical
use of the Dog River for fishing and trapping.
Water, soil, benthic, and terrestrial arthropod samples were gathered from key sites along both rivers. These samples were then brought back to Guelph for genomic analysis. The results will be brought back to Fort Smith in 2014 and presented to First Nations team members. Together, all team members will determine the best interpretation and future use of genomic data for biomonitoring activities.