Flashline-16 Science Report-03 05-07-2024

 In Science Report

Author: Natasha Nicholson – Chief Science Officer

Flashline Mars Research Station, Devon Island, 75°25’53”N  89°49’27”W, Nunavut.


  • To sample water from lake A for nanoplastics
  • To search for and sample algal mats identified in 2023

Water Sampling

The triplicate samples were taken at 16:10 from Trinity Lake, coordinates 75°26’2.8”N, 89°46’59.3”W.

Thick working rubber gloves were sterilised with isopropanol. Water was gathered in 80ml Pyrex glass jars, each in triplicate from a site approximately 1m from the location of the previous triplicate sample site, (see Fig. 1).

Sampling algal mats:

The triplicate samples were taken from an area upstream of Trinity Lake, beyond an alluvial plain, at coordinates 75°26’30”N, 89°45’30.4”W. The algal streak was approximately 12ft long and 10 inches wide, uphill of the lake tributary, at the north end of the plain, (See Fig. 2).

Nitrile gloves, a stainless steel lab scoop and tweezers were sterilized in the field with isopropyl alcohol. A portion of the algal mat was loosened from its location with the lab scoop and gripped with the tweezers to transfer it to a 50 ml falcon tube. Approximately 7.5ml of water was also scooped into the falcon tube to keep the algae hydrated during transportation.

Field Observations

The slow moving inlets into the lakes, and the lakes themselves, had evidence of a darker algae than the green algae we sampled, (Fig 3.). We did not disturb the dark algae at this time, but they would be interesting to sample for future analysis.

Balls of very dark moss, black in some cases, were found at places in the alluvial plain (see Fig.4), and a few tufts of grass were also noted (see Fig.5), and an unidentified kelp-like plant, growing in a damp area of snowmelt on the alluvial plain (Fig.6), which we did sample.

Some higher areas had a rich abundance of the Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) which had also been seen around Resolute (see Fig.7). We also found an area of bright yellow/orange mineralisation in a ring around a large rock, with a tail heading downhill, which might be interesting to geologists in the future, (Figs. 8a and 8b), at coordinates 75°26’30”N, 89°45’29.8”W.

Figure 1. Water sampling site at Trinity Lake
Figure 2. Algal streak on alluvial plain.
Figure 3. Darker algae in inlets, looking north to Trinity Lake
Figure 4. Dark moss, found north of Trinity Lake.
Figure 5. Example of grass tufts found in alluvial plain.
Figure 6. Unidentified kelp-like plant growing on damp ground.
Figure 7. Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia).
Figure 8a. Ring of yellow/orange mineralisation, 8b. streak of orange mineralisation heading downhill.