Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada

A Spotted Wolffish on the cover of Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada. 
© Candaian Scientific Submersible Facility/DFO, 2014

Coad, Brian W. and Reist, James B. (Edited and authored) with contributions by Peter Rask Møller, Claude B. Renaud, Noel R. Alfonso, Karen Dunmall, Michael Power, Chantelle D. Sawatzky, Fikret Berkes, J. Brian Dempson, Les N. Harris, and Heidi K. Swanson. 2018. Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada. Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa and University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Buffalo, London. xiv + 618 + pp., 521 figures, 219 maps, 182 colour figures.

This large format book will tell you everything you want to know about Arctic fishes. Up until now, information on Arctic fishes was relatively difficult to find because the Arctic is remote and scientific studies on fishes were more likely to be done closer to home. Museum of Nature researchers have been changing that and documenting new species in the north. Here is their announcement of the book

It was awarded the Dartmouth Medal.

A few years ago while the book was being written, a blog post (link to nature.ca) gave us some background.

Now you can read the book at OPL. Their description and summary of the book:
“Because of its wide geographic scope and harsh conditions, Canada’s Arctic presents many challenges for researchers and biologists. In this book, scientists from the Canadian Museum of Nature and Fisheries and Oceans Canada present a guide to the marine fishes found in Arctic Canadian waters and featuring up-to-date research on 222 species. Each of the 58 families is described in a general account followed by species accounts comprising common name, taxonomy, physical description and identification, habitat data, biology, distribution, commercial importance, and traditional knowledge. Many of the species are known only to scientists and come from the deeper waters of the Davis Strait while others have been important food sources for Indigenous peoples for millennia. A wide-ranging general introduction looks at the history of research, fish habitats, climate, fisheries, fish structure, and the collection and preservation of fishes while an essay on traditional ecological knowledge provides an important perspective. Exquisite black-and-white drawings of each species complement colour photos and illustrations. Finally, new range maps showing distributions across Arctic Canada were created for this volume. The book will be a welcome reference work for Northern residents, biologists and ecologists, environmental groups, and resource extraction companies operating in the North, as well as commercial and amateur fishers in Canada and in other circumpolar countries.”

A review by Betty Galbraith, Washington State University:
“Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada is a beautiful book. It is the first encyclopedia dedicated exclusively to the Arctic fishes of Canada and contains 222 species organized by 58 families. Each family of fishes is introduced with an overarching description of the biology, life cycle, behavior, and specific habitat. This family section is followed by accounts of each species within the family, including common name, taxonomy, physical description, biology, life history, distribution, commercial and cultural importance, and a short bibliography of sources. Each species also has a map of its range and beautiful line drawings. An introduction to the subject covers the history of research, fish habitats, climate, environment, and more. The book also contains a glossary of terms and a bibliography. Coad (emer., Canadian Museum of Nature) and Reist (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) both bring considerable expertise to this subject, having written several articles and bibliographies on Arctic fishes. A must-have book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.”

Backyard Wilderness 3d Movie

An image from the Backyard Wilderness 3d movie

The Nature Museum in Ottawa is playing an amazing movie showing wildlife in the north america forests. Backyard Wilderness has a feel-good family oriented theme.

It is amazing how close-up the photography is. The foxes, wood ducks, mice and salamanders are at times just inches from the camera. Clearly the photographer would be using a sensor to trigger the camera, but still, how could she set up the equipment in such a perfect position?

The theatre’s 3d vision is much better than what you see in the Cineplex with their disposable polarised glasses. Nature.ca has non-disposable glasses which give a bright, clear 3d view. The glasses use active shutter technology.  The left lens ‘opens’ for a fraction of a second, and the projector/screen shows the left view. Then the right lens ‘opens’ and the projector/screen shows the right view, and the cycle repeats. You cannot see any flickering or hear any mechanism. The 3D effect is more striking that what you get with polarised glasses, because they do not perfectly block your left eye from seeing the right image and vice versa.

There are some human actors in the movie, but they are upstaged by the wild animals. The human family lives in a rather nice two storey house, which is in a forested setting and harmonious with nature. Any neighbouring house seems to be out of sight. Any vehicles or roads are almost out of sight. This is an ideal living arrangement that would be difficult to attain for most of us!

The cost is $4 in addition to the regular museum entrance fee.