Eyes on Eiders Header

A typical day doesn’t exist on the Arctic tundra. Even in the summertime, you could wake to a day of hail, snow, fog, rain, or 70-degree sunshine. Luckily, on good weather days there is a lot of daylight when scientists can get their work completed. With a flat landscape, light from the sun lasts almost 24 hours. Researchers sometimes work until one o'clock in the morning!

In the 2014 season, Alaska SeaLife Center scientists traveled to the Y-K Delta twice; once in June to investigate habitat for nesting pairs and once in July to study conditions during brood rearing. This fieldwork helped determine if there is suitable habitat on the Delta for the potential rearing of Steller’s eider ducklings in the upcoming years. If the team can hatch and raise Steller's eiders on the Y-K Delta, this may be a way to reintroduce Steller's eiders to that area. The prospective Steller's rearing location needs to have quality habitat for the eiders, but it also needs easy access for the scientists to come and go with supplies.


Sadie Ulman explains what information the field team gathered in 2014 and why. (1:48)

Video Transcript

Click on the tools and equipment in the image below to learn more about what the research team does in the field. Can you find all six items to click on?

Tools of the field.Floatplane Salinity Meter Mini Ekman Grab Vegetation Quadrat Waders Data Collection Tools






  CONDUCTIVITY (n) - the degree to which a specified material conducts electricity.
  DATA (n) - values of something measured.
  DELTA (n) - the area of land where a river splits into smaller rivers before it flows into an ocean.
  HABITAT (n) - the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.
  INVERTEBRATE (n) - an organism that doesn’t have a spine or spinal column; insects are one example of invertebrates.
  pH (n) - a number between 0 and 14 that indicates if a substance is an acid or a base.
  PINGO (n) - a hill of soil-covered ice pushed up in an area of permafrost.
  QUADRAT (n) - a square or rectangular plot of land marked off for the study of plants and animals.
  REAR (v) - caring for and raising (offspring) until they are fully grown, especially in a particular manner or place.
  SALINITY (n) - the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water.
  SEDIMENT (n) - matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid.
  SLOUGH (n) - an inlet on a river or a creek in a marsh or tidal flat.