Summer is here!

Things move at their own pace in these parts, especially the weather. But, summer may have arrived at last, with sunshine and blue sky promised this week! I made the most of the fine conditions yesterday and collected soil and gas flux samples from the heath as part of the spatial survey of microbial diversity. After being badly hit by the summer insect outbreak, vegetation is recovering well and looking especially green and healthy across from Abisko village.

Vaccinium vitis-idaea may have avoided the worst of the Epirrata moth larvae herbivory, but red leaves here indicate fungal damage.
Vaccinium vitis-idaea may have avoided the worst of the Epirrata moth larvae herbivory, but red leaves here indicate fungal damage.

The field COSM experiment was completed with obvious treatment effects of Tea + FeSO4 vs Glucose additions on soil respiration. Microbial biomass and phage counts from the cores back in the lab will uncover whether bacterial numbers also increased with this activity, and if the anti-viral properties of the tea extract was sustained after 5 days in the field.

Undergraduates from Aberystwyth have been put to work doing vegetation cover + damage estimates on the elevated CO2 plots, as well as assisting us with the gas flux measurements for the NERC-funded project.

Team Aberystwyth taking a well earned "fika" (coffee + a treat) break at the eCO2 plots
Team Aberystwyth taking a well earned “fika” (coffee + a treat) break at the eCO2 plots

A visit to nearby Stordalen beckons today as we investigate an old eCO2 experiment. Assessing the “legacy” of elevated CO2 treatments, both above and belowground, could provide new insights into life beyond 2050 in the Arctic, if rising CO2 levels were to be curtailed. However, deciphering ancient maps of the plots may be tricky, let’s hope we don’t have to resort to “dowsing” rods!

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