Stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in all aspects of field research, includ­ing logis­ti­cal prepa­ra­tions and the cap­tur­ing, han­dling, and sam­pling of birds.  Fre­quently, stu­dents are required to develop and imple­ment their own small research project, which includes lit­er­a­ture reviews, pro­posal devel­op­ment, data col­lec­tion, data analy­sis, and write-up and pre­sen­ta­tion of results.  The High Arc­tic Insti­tute coop­er­ates with Dr. Jen­nifer Burn­ham at Augus­tana Col­lege in Rock Island, IL, to iden­tify suit­able stu­dents for our pro­gram.  Fre­quently projects done by stu­dents in Green­land can be incor­po­rated into Senior Research Projects at Augus­tana.  By pro­vid­ing this oppor­tu­nity we hope to fos­ter student’s inter­est in the con­ser­va­tion and research of Arc­tic species and train the sci­en­tists of tomorrow.


2018:  Bai­ley Aasen joined us in the field in 2018, becom­ing an excel­lent boat dri­ver as well as field assis­tant.  For her senior research project at Augus­tana Bai­ley ana­lyzed migra­tory data col­lected on pere­grines in Thule.

2016:  Zoe Robb helped us to process our Atlantic Puf­fin geolo­ca­tor data by using GIS to ana­lyze pat­terns and tim­ing of move­ment of a small pop­u­la­tion of birds nest­ing on Dal­rym­ple Island.

2015:  Sara Baugh joined us in the field in 2015 and then spent the next school year ana­lyz­ing results from six years of passer­ine trap­ping data at Thule Air Base. She was inter­ested in look­ing for pat­terns of increased sum­mer storm events and its impact on repro­duc­tion for Lap­land Longspurs and Snow Buntings. Her project was titled “Washed Away: Sum­mer Storm Occur­rence Effect on Two Passer­ine Bird Species in North­ern Green­land.”

2014:  Inspired by the results of our blood mer­cury stud­ies in 2010–2012, Fal­lon Meyer was inter­ested in study­ing the mer­cury con­tent in eggs laid by two seabird species; Com­mon Eider Ducks and Thick-billed Mur­res. Her research was used for her senior research project and was pre­sented at the Cel­e­bra­tion of Learn­ing con­fer­ence.  “Mer­cury Con­t­a­m­i­na­tion in Arc­tic Seabird Eggs from North­west­ern Green­land

2012:  Claire Behnke worked on our Black-legged Kit­ti­wake geolo­ca­tor project.  Through­out the 2012–13 school year she ana­lyzed geolo­ca­tor data and pre­sented her find­ings at the Augus­tana Col­lege Cel­e­bra­tion of Learn­ing in May of 2013. The title of her project was The Migra­tion Pat­terns of Black-legged Kit­ti­wakes (Rissa tri­dactyla) Breed­ing in North­west Greenland.”

2010:  Ryan Biester­feld par­tic­i­pated in a project quan­ti­fy­ing the spa­tial dis­tri­b­u­tion of methyl mer­cury in avian species in the Thule area.  Ryan took on the respon­si­bil­ity of study­ing the rela­tion­ship between methyl mer­cury lev­els of three bird species  and the dif­fer­ent geo­graph­i­cal regions from which they were sam­pled in the Thule area.  His results were pre­sented at the Cel­e­bra­tion of Learn­ing at Augus­tana Col­lege in May of 2011:  “The Spa­tial Dis­tri­b­u­tion of Methyl Mer­cury in High Arc­tic Avian Species of North­west Green­land.”

2008:  Jeremy Hughes was part of a team which con­ducted our first avian sur­vey of the Carey Islands, north­west Green­land, result­ing in the paper “An ornitho­log­i­cal sur­vey of the Carey Islands, North­west Greenland.”

2015-07-12 16.56.57
Sara Baugh with an adult Par­a­sitic Jae­gar in sum­mer 2015. Bai­ley Aasen learn­ing to rappel.
Fallon's first puffin 
Augus­tana Col­lege grad­u­ate Claire Behnke (Dr. Behnke as of late 2016) with a Black-legged Kittiwake.  Fal­lon Meyer with an adult Atlantic Puf­fin dur­ing the 2014 field season.
For­mer Augus­tana Col­lege stu­dent Jeremy Hughes with an adult Atlantic Puf­fin in north­west Greenland.
Augus­tana Col­lege grad­u­ate, Ryan Biester­feld, col­lect­ing a blood sam­ple from an adult Thick-billed Murre.