Subject: Matamek Conference on Biological Cycles, 1931 From: email@example.com (David Williams)
I am currently finishing up a paper on Charles Elton's research into animal population fluctuations in the Canadian Arctic. I was wondering if anyone has any information, or know of any sources, relating to the Matamek Conference on Biological Cycles which was held in 1931 in Matamek Factory, Labrador? I know the conference was attended by numerous leading university and government zoologists including Elton and Aldo Leopold, and that it is considered to be an important conference in the shaping of ecological thinking , but I can find very little that has been written about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Department of History
University of Toronto
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 11:26:59 -0600
Subject: Re: Matamek Conference on Biological Cycles, 1931 From: Kris E Inwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is a long shot, but you might try the library of the Geological Survey
of Canada for information about this conference. The Survey took an
interest in northern animal populations during this period.
University of Guelph
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 11:27:01 -0600 Subject: Re: Matamek Conference on Biological Cycles, 1931 From: LORNE HAMMOND <lhammond@UVic.CA>
Lloyd Keith refers to it in Wildlife's ten year Cycle (Iowa State U Press, 1963, pp. 522-38). I have read elton files at the HBCA in Winnepeg and there are some scattered Elton correspondence dealing with the north in external affairs. As for conference papers, i would suspect you might find something in storage in Ottawa. That means a long hunt and a few days to have them brought in from storage.
The conference of 1931 does not seem to have an impact on Dominion-Provincial Wildlife Conferences. They do discuss population cycles in the conferences of: 1928, 1930, 1937, 1939, 1945, 1948, 1950, & 1951. Note that 1931 & 1932 are absent from the ministry's index of topics discussed. My general sense is that sun-spots are a big item for most of them. They are also curious about linking tree ring cycles with sun-spots and animals. However, I'd make sure i checked in with a field biologist or two, before getting lost in the various theories. I found Llyod keith's comments on it all useful for perspective. I think I have a run of elton articles as well as the Ian McTaggart Cowan cycle article from the BC Historical Quarterly (January 1938): 19-30. But I don't think he refers directly to the conference.
If you run across anything on human-animal vectors of disease (zoonotic?) or elton's stuff on distemper outbreaks moving between dogs and arctic foxes, let me know.
Dept. of History
University of Victoria
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 11:27:06 -0600
Subject: Matamek conference
From: Bill Waiser <email@example.com>
Canadian materials for the conference are likely to be found in the Rudolph Martin Anderson papers at the National Archives in Ottawa. You should also check government archives divsion, record group 132 (records of the National Museums of Canada), also at the NAC--these papers used to scattered throughout Ottawa at the various NMC divsions but were collected some ten years ago and deposited at the NAC. There may still be some papers at the branches though. I remember working at the Vertebrate Zoology lab in south Ottawa for my biography on dominion naturalist John Macoun and finding a row of filing cabinets full of correspondence from the early 20th century. Just be careful where you step--the room was full of whale bones.
I doubt there is anything readily accessible on the Matamek Conference; it seems to have been carried out in an odd way and the results not well publicized. There may be stuff in the files of the Canadian Wildlife Service (harrison Lewis attended), but I do not remember anything in his typescript autobiography and service history (see RG 109, volume 1). There is a sketch by the American writer of children's animal stories, Thornton W. Burgess, in THIS I REMEMBER, his autobiography, but there is precious little science in it. There ought to be something in the US Fish and Widlife Service files in Washington, but I doubt that the cataloging has been fully done. Tell me if you find anything.
Subject: Re: Matamek Conference on Biological Cycles, 1931
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 13:07:28 -0330 (NST)
From: Sean Cadigan firstname.lastname@example.org
I checked with a friend on mine when I saw the reference to Matamek
Factory because I was unfamiliar with the name, and have done some work
It may be that this was located on the Matamek River on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec. I have learned that the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute had a research institute there.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's NF A1C 5S7
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