Arctic Research Station in Labytnangi (Part 1)

Dear Friends of INTERACT!

We, Violetta Filippova and Kirill Shkliar, are the master’s programs graduates of the Earth Sciences faculty, Saint Petersburg State University. Today we present the Arctic Research Station in Labytnangi, Yamal peninsula, as we are new employees of the new lab based on the Station – “Dynamics of Arctic ecosystems”. Our cooperation does not last so long, but definitely we fell in love with the beauty of the tundra and the friendly atmosphere of the lab team. Our area of interests is GIS, remote sensing and the interpretation of spatial patterns. During field trips the one of our tasks was to monitor the growth of willow shrubs cover. Up to date this topic is relevant, since climate warming is the driver of this process. One of the features of studying tundra vegetation with mean of remote sensing is drone survey, as well as ground measurements that help to interpret satellite images with a wider spatial coverage.

Violetta Filippova and Kirill Shkliar on Erkuta and Polar Ural study sites (Photo: the Arctic Research Station)

COVID-19 made adjustments to the organization of scientific activities on the Yamal this season. Closed borders has led to the fact that none of the foreign colleagues who have been cooperating with us for a long time, could join the field sessions of our  Station, which have been carried out continuously since 1999. This meant that all the specialists in our multidisciplinary lab had to come together and devote all their efforts to continue the collection of a huge amount of field data. In this case, both we and anthropologists in our  team had to learn the basics of bird ringing, counting rodent number and checking Arctic Fox dens. Driving once again through the peaceful waters of the Erkuta river (the Erkutayakha in Nenets), each of us notices with enviable speed that it was a short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) that flew out of shrubs, and exactly long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) hurries up ahead of the boat.

The rough-legged buzzard ringing by Aleksandr Sokolov and Alexandra Terekhina in the Erkuta study site; the Arctic fox puppy near the hole, the Erkuta study site; Natalia Sokolova is taking photo of the long-tailed skua (Photo: the Arctic Research Station)

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