CAPISCO on the road again!

Summer came and went, and the autumn road trip for the INTERACT project CAPISCO started on the 15th September. This time we decided to start from Finland, from the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute. We flew to Kiruna (Sweden), got into our rented Hyundai and started the 670km drive towards northern Finland.  The drive was long and mostly dark, but just before Sodankylä the sky was suddenly lighted up by spectacular Northern lights. We had to stop and admire them for a while as they performed their light green wave-like dance in the sky.

Refreshed by the amazing light show, we continued all the way to our destination and arrived there around 2:30 am. Yes, a little late (or early), but what wouldn’t you do for science.

 Day two started with some lab work. We prepared our temperature loggers to be set up on our transects for the winter and got our trapping equipment ready for the evening. The moth adults (winter and autumnal moths) fly late in the autumn to find their mates and lay their eggs. They are active during the dark hours, so we started our field sampling around 8 pm.

We were at our site a little bit early, but that was ok, since we got to admire a beautiful sunset lighting up the hill side that was covered in ruska (autumn coloured) trees.

Sun set illuminating Ailigas fjäll covered in autumn coloured trees.

We sampled the adults at our transect in Utsjoki by 3 methods, one of which involved illuminating a white sheet in order to attract the moths.

Sheet and light trapping at Utsjoki

We knew that the moth densities at Utsjoki were really low based on the sampling from the summer tour. We were therefore not that surprised that we didn’t catch any adults although we saw 3 in flight. Nevertheless we decided to do some transect counting on our 20km drive back to the station and spotted at least 9 autumnal moth males.

This time we got to the station before midnight and were happy to go straight to bed after a late dinner.

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