Field trip 2023

Text for this section was written by Jolanta Miadlikowska and Shannon Skarha.

In July 2023, we completed our second round of fieldwork for the NSF-funded project exploring the endophytic and endolichenic fungal communities in the Arctic. We collected plants, lichens, and soil in the land of predominantly Inuit communities in Nunavut, Canada.

Researchers exploring a collection site near Apex (Photo credit: József Geml).

Shannon Skarha and François Lutzoni processing fresh plant and lichen material at the Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit. (Photo credit: Betsy Arnold)


We sampled around Iqaluit, which is the capital of the territory and is located on the southeastern coast of Baffin Island. We also sampled in Pond Inlet, which is located on northern Baffin Island, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut.

Aerial snapshot, on the way to Pond Inlet from Iqaluit. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)

Sled in Pond Inlet. (Photo credit: Francois Lutzoni)

Town of Pond Inlet. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)

Town of Pond Inlet. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)

Boulder featuring Xanthoria elegans and assorted forbs, including Vaccinium sp. and Cassiope tetragona. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)

Jola Miadlikowska, François Lutzoni, and Betsy Arnold collecting specimens along the river near Pond Inlet. (Photo credit: József Geml).


Our field team included: Betsy Arnold (PI), Brooke Sykes (Ph.D. student), Taylor Cavallaro and Emmett Bauer (undergraduate students) from the University of Arizona, Tucson; Barnabas Daru (PI) and Paul Markley (Ph.D. student) from Stanford University; François Lutzoni (PI), Shannon Skarha (Ph.D. student), and Jola Miadlikowska (Researcher) from Duke University; and Jozsef Geml (Researcher) from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Eszterházy Károly University, Edger, Hungary. Samples were processed at the Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit (with a huge thank you to Jamal Shirley and staff for hosting our research team!).


Iqaluit features the work of many local artists around town, including numerous sculptures. (Photo credit: Francois Lutzoni)

Intermixed heath of lichen, moss, and plants, featuring Vaccinium uliginosum, Stereocaulon sp., and, Racomitrium sp. (photo credit: Shannon Skarha)

Outcrop featuring Dryas integrifolia. (Photo credit: Betsy Arnold)

Trimembered Peltigera sp. with apothecia, intermixed with Racomitrium sp. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)

Outlook at Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park.

Hunters’ encampment over ice, Pond Inlet. (Photo credit: Jola Miadlikowska)


The arctic team in Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. Left to right: Jola Miadlikowska, François Lutzoni, Betsy Arnold, Barnabas Daru, Taylor Cavallaro, József Geml, Emmett Bauer, Paul Markley, Shannon Skarha, and Brooke Sykes