The SiberNiche team have been at the Mukhrino Field Station in Siberia for over a week now. The setting for the station is magical, perched in the woods between a tributary of the River Irtish and the huge raised bogs on the higher land behind. Most of the scientists at the station are concerned with the ecology or biogeochemistry of the bog itself, so we are unusual in focussing our interest on the floodplain.
We have completed botanical surveys at two sites and are currently mapping the topography and hydrology in order to characterise the soil water regime. The sites are gloriously isolated (compared to our normal research sites in the U.K.) and one of them can only be appraoched by boat. Our hosts at the Station have been great, advising on the best locations to visit, ferrying us to and from the sites and finding or making any bits of kit we decide we need.
Although 61oN, the temperatures have been 30+ all week, which has made fieldwork hot and sweaty, but taking a banya (sauna) in the evening and/or swimming in the river more than makes up for it.
Our last task on this trip is to characterise the soils of the floodplain: their texture, hydraulic conductivity and pore-size distribution. The Research Station here is not used to researching soil hydrology, so we are constructing some facilities from scratch, which will be interesting.
All in all a very successful trip so far and a truly remarkable place to visit.