A couple of weeks into season one of fieldwork and I have seen and done a lot. From the monotonous to the incredible to the plain bizarre. In reference to the latter please see below
Despite moving into June, temperatures remain below 5, snow flurries come and go and carry on setting up our ecosystem scale experiment.
We have been working on phase two of our experiment; again soil is being shifted from heath to birch forest with the aim of simulating an expansion of the forest but this time with a few alterations. We are installing soil transplants inside PVC collars with ‘windows’ which either allow birch forest roots into the heath soil or only allow their ecotmycorrhizal symbiotic fungal partners. The idea of this to work out if forest does colonise the open heath, how will soil respiration change and which parts of the colonisation will have the greatest effect on carbon cycling. In addition to this we have set up data loggers to measure soil temperature along the ecotone to investigate how vegetation effects soil temperature throughout the year.
Personal highlights so far have been seeing countless midnight sun events (see below), field work at the treeline being accompanied by reindeer and the first bbq by the lake (at 3 degrees!).
Arrival of an honours student from Stirling, Richard, has given our flagging team a much needed boost and we are looking forward to a very productive couple of weeks in the field.