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A Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic

This book is a practical, portable guide to all of the Arctic’s natural history—sky, atmosphere, terrain, ice, the sea, plants, birds, mammals, fish, and insects—for those who will experience the Arctic firsthand and for armchair travelers who would just as soon read about its splendors and surprises. It is packed with answers to naturalists’ questions and with questions—some of them answered—that naturalists may not even have thought of.

344 pages | 413 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Biological Sciences: Natural History

Travel and Tourism: Travel Writing and Guides

Table of Contents


1 Sky
The Land of the Midnight Sun
What about the Midday Moon?
A Compass near the Magnetic Pole
The Geomagnetic Pole
The Aurora Borealis, or "Northern Lights"

2 Climate and Atmosphere
The Arctic Climate
The Seasons
The Climate near the Ground
Arctic Mirages
The Air Made Visible

3 Terrain
Ice Caps and Glaciers
Traces of the Ice Age
Tundra Polygons
Peat: Peat Mounds, Palsas, and Peat Plateaus
Tundra Hummocks
Patterned Ground of Other Kinds
Underground ice
Thawing landscapes
Arctic Rivers

4 Seas
Sea Ice: The Pack
Ice Islands
Open Water: Polynyas and Leads
Ice and Beaches

5 Plant Life
Why Trees Can’t Grow in the Far North
The Northernmost Tree Species
The Wavering, Shifting Treeline
Trees and Permafrost
Tundra and Polar Desert
Carbon in the Tundra Ecosystem
Plant Adaptations to Arctic Conditions
Arctic Flowers
Seeds and Fruits: The Way Plants Spread
When Seeds Fail
Some Plant Communities
Where Have They Come From?
A Field Guide to Arctic Ferns and Their Relatives
Arctic Mosses, Lichens, and Nostoc

6 Birds
Residents and Migrants: The Quest for Food
More on Migration: Populations and Destinations
Protection from the Cold
Breeding in the Arctic
More on Breeding: Nests and Eggs
A Field Guide to Arctic Birds

7 Mammals
The Arctic as a Home for Mammals
The Bear Family
The Cattle, Sheep, and Goat Family
The Deer Family
The Dog, Fox, and Wolf Family
The Weasel Family
The Hare and Rabbit Family
The Squirrel Family
The Beaver Family
The Mouse, Lemming, and Vole Family
The Shrew Family
Walruses and Seals
Two Whale Families

8 Fish
Fish and Naturalists
The Salmon Family: Pacific Salmon
Other Fish of the Salmon Family
Some Other Arctic Fishes

9 Insects
Insect Life in the Arctic
Insect Pollinators: Bumblebees and Flies
Insects and Food for Birds: Flies
Mosquitoes and Blackflies
The Warble Flies and Nose Bots of Caribou

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