After arriving back in Shapsha field station, we discussed where best to sample Scots Pine near Khanty-Mansiysk. The predominant pine species in this area is Pinus siberica, the seeds of which are also used as a food source, and Pinus sylvestris is therefore a marginal species, restricted again to forest edges and ryam. We found one site near to the field station and then another in the forest which is in the centre of the city.
The forest covers a hill (the only hill for miles around!) and Scots pine clings to the edge of a precipitous slope, on a gradient of about 40°. We scrambled up the dusty path and then made our way back down, sampling the huge trees as we went. The views from the top were fantastic, with the Irtysh River and the Archaeo-park’s bronze Mammoths and other sculptures below. We managed therefore to get another couple of good collections to round off our fieldwork – we were really pleased to have achieved so much, and to get good quality mapped samples from so many locations.
The following day was spent at Yugra State University, meeting the Vice-Rector and being shown around the lab facilities. We were told a little bit about the work that they do, and were impressed by the size of the University and the quality of the labs and instruments.
So after a packed schedule, visiting three field stations and collecting over 400 samples, we set off back to the UK. The whole process went very smoothly, and apart from spending far too much time sitting around waiting in various airports it was a hassle-free day of travelling. And we even got to watch some of the Olympics in Moscow Airport! We all had a really enjoyable time, and would like to thank everyone who helped us and who made our trip to Siberia so successful, with special thanks to Elena.