About INTERACT bloggers

Here we introduce the researchers blogging from their field trips to stations offering Transnational Access in INTERACT:


Perrin Hagge; blogging from NERC Arctic Research Station, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard and Kobbefjord Field Station, GINR, Greenland

I am a second-year graduate student at Duke University studying Earth and Climates Sciences. This summer, my advisor, Nicolas Cassar, and I are traveling to Arctic and sub-Arctic environments in Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska to investigate how climate change is affecting nitrogen cycling and carbon sequestration. Perrin Hagge

Through polar amplification, the Arctic is warming up to four times faster than the global average, destabilizing the delicate nutrient balance of these ecosystems. Arctic warming and nutrient imbalance echo throughout the atmosphere and biosphere, with Arctic climate disruption exerting consequences on a global scale. Predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations assume that increases in carbon sequestration by primary production partially will offset increasing atmospheric CO2. However, nitrogen availability frequently limits photosynthesis in the Arctic. This means carbon sequestration depends in part on the amount of available nitrogen for photosynthesis, which in the Arctic primarily derives from biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) by bacteria and archaea (diazotrophs) associated with cryptogams (lichens and bryophytes). Despite the reliance of photosynthesis on nitrogen availability, the rate and magnitude of cryptogam-derived BNF are poorly constrained in the Arctic, impeding our ability to predict the climatic stability and future of global environments.

Nicolas CassarWe plan to collect Arctic and sub-Arctic cryptogam and soil samples to measure the BNF activity of the diazotrophs in these samples in our lab at Duke. To do this, we will use an instrument developed in our lab called ARACAS. Compared to traditional acetylene reduction assay methods, ARACAS has 1000 times the sensitivity and a higher temporal resolution that allows continuous BNF measurements with time intervals on the order of seconds as opposed to hours or days. Through a series of experiments, we will simulate the ongoing shifts in temperature, moisture and nutrient levels due to climate change and use ARACAS to measure how the diazotrophs respond to different environmental conditions. It is a great privilege to conduct research in Arctic tundra environments, and we hope to return next year to measure BNF in situ with ARACAS.

We are excited to start our fieldwork this July at NERC Arctic Research Station and to continue our work in August at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. We hope you will join us throughout our journey by following our blog “Arctic Greening: Does Nitrogen Hold The Key?”

Michał Kolasa; blogging from Zackenberg Research Station in Greenland 

Kolasa and team

I am a member of the Symbiosis Evolution Research Group® at Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, (the Dream Team, and the Seven – although we are actually ten but hopefully, you get the pop culture reference) https://symbio.eko.uj.edu.pl/en_GB/news. Together with prof. Tomas Roslin (the more handsome gentlemen in the picture [the one in red]) we are studying how in the past decade microbiome composition changed on the community level in the Zackenberg Valley – one of the best insect communities described so far.

Microbial symbionts of insects are known to influence key life-history traits of their hosts, can often transmit reliably between host generations, and occasionally move across host species. These features make symbionts a promising but largely unexplored mechanism of response and adaptation of insect populations and communities to environmental challenges. As the climate-ecological crisis progresses, rapid symbiont-driven adaptation could play increasingly important roles in the biology of wild insects. However, our understanding of symbiont diversity, distribution, and transmission in natural communities are fragmentary, preventing us from fully comprehending their ecological roles.

This year we are once again facing all kinds of dangers in the beautiful Zackenberg Valley to collect the most diverse insects for microbiome studies. Join me, Veronika (our master’s student), and Tomas in this crazy ride we call science, and together let us unwrap the secrets of insects’ microbiome 😉 Follow Michal’s blog Micro-allies during mega-crisis? The role of the microbiome in insect community responses to climate change.


Cath is a Polar ecologist with a focus on intertidal and nearshore habitats. Her previous work on community structure and development has been mainly on or around the Antarctic Peninsula and islands. Along with the Arctic these are the fastest warming places on the planet and little is known about what is going to happen to the plants and animals that live there. She is interested in how changes in environmental conditions and increasing human activity will affect the native species and how non-native species may alter these fragile ecosystems. She is currently working on the impacts of plastic pollution (especially microplastics) on Polar nearshore systems and the spread of non-native species by rafting on anthropogenic and natural flotsam.

Huw is a marine biogeographer with an interest in the Polar Regions. He has worked for the British Antarctic Survey since June 2000 and participated in several expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic investigating benthic biodiversity and biogeography. His interests include large-scale biogeographic and ecological patterns in space and time with a focus  on molluscs, bryozoans, pycnogonids, echinoderms and sponges as model groups to investigate trends at high latitudes.

Stephen is a Quaternary Geologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, UK. His research focuses on reconstructing past environmental change from terrestrial records (principally, lake sediment and peat deposits). In 17 years at BAS, he has developed novel (bio)geochemical proxies that help to reconstruct past changes in wind, temperature, glacial history, changes in sea level, and place the impact of current and future climate change and modern pollution into a longer term, geological context.

Follow the team in their fieldwork from Biodiversity and Plastics in Arctic Intertidal and Nearshore Terrestrial Systems


ANNE EBERLE; blogging from Abisko Research Station in Sweden

I am Anne Eberle, a PhD researcher at the University of Bristol studying the interaction of the iron and carbon cycle in thawing permafrost peatlands.

My PhD project looks at the impact of permafrost thaw on mineral protection of organic carbon – more specifically the role of iron for protection of carbon against microbial decomposition (the rusty carbon sink) or for metabolisation of carbon by microorganisms. My main interest are palsa mires, where dry/ oxic peat mounds with frozen cores collapse into waterlogged, oxygen-depleted bogs or fens upon thaw. A previous study on Stordalen mire near Abisko has found that up to 20% of carbon can be associated with iron oxides, which dissolve and release this carbon upon thaw and collapse of the palsa. However, so far the role of this “rust” for carbon preservation has not been studied in other palsa mires. With our INTERACT project, we are trying to answer the question how rusty are palsa mires? We are going to visit a variety of different thawing palsa mires to find out about common geochemical and microbial characteristics of thawing permafrost sites as well as differences across sites to provide a better estimate of the risks posed by release of iron-associated organic carbon.

In September I will travel to Abisko Scientific Research Station together with fellow PhD researcher Fin Ring-Hrubesh to explore the thawing palsa mires of northern Scandinavia. On our journey we are going to miss our supervisor Casey Bryce, who remains in Bristol, for her enthusiastic pore water filtration and on site discussions but luckily phone signal is expected to be good in most places.

Follow our field work on the blog “How rusty are permafrost peatlands? – A journey to the thawing palsas of northern Scandinavia



RÚNA MAGNUSSON; blogging from Chokurdakh Tundra Research Station in Russia


Hi, I am Rúna Magnússon, PhD Candidate at the Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation group of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. I spend my summers in the vast and deserted lowland tundra of North-Eastern Siberia, to study vegetation – permafrost interaction. More specifically, I try to determine how these ecosystems will develop under global change; will we see a greener tundra, or will we see extensive wetland development due to permafrost degradation? To answer such questions I roam about in thaw ponds, stinky little depressions formed by local collapse of permafost. We study their development in terms of thaw depth and water levels over time and try to relate this to vegetation succession mechanisms. Apart from that I use remote sensing data and dendrochronology on Arctic dwarf shrubs. This will tell us whether there is a net trend of shrubification or wetland formation in this area, and on what timescales.

Together with my supervisors Dr. Monique Heijmans and Dr. Juul Limpens and master students who are brave enough, I travel to the Kytalyk Tundra Research Station in Chokurdakh during the summers of 2018-2021. Working in such a remote place with little luxury, and still carrying out cutting edge research comes with very specific and sometimes unexpected challenges. Luckily we receive fantastic support from the IBPC institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and staff of the local nature inspection.

This summer (2019) I am travelling to the tundra with my supervisor Monique and master student Daniël. Through this blog I will try to provide a glimpse into the remote but exciting life at the Kytalyk Tundra Station in Chokurdakh, Russia.

Follow Runa’s blog Arctic Greening or Arctic Drowning? to join the adventure!

CATHERINE MOODY; blogging from FINI at Faroe Islands

I am a NERC Fellow from the University of Leeds in the UK. My current work is focused on the composition of organic matter in surface waters, primarily those draining upland areas in the UK. I work with water companies to investigate how the composition affects the treatability of drinking water. Additionally, the composition impacts the degradability and therefore the potential for greenhouse gas emissions from water.

The Faroe Islands provide a unique landscape to study organic soils and DOM composition, as little (if any) restoration work has been carried out on the peat, despite it being subjected to years of degradation, such as cutting peat for fuel and grazing of livestock. The Arctic and sub-Arctic areas are vulnerable to climate change, and the Faroe Islands have been included in studies looking at the impact of warming on vegetation; however there is little research into the DOM or carbon in the soil, or in the water draining upland areas.

Follow Cat’s blog Faroe Islands – water, wind and weather to learn more!

ADRIAN DYE, FRANCESCA FALCINI and JOE MALLALIEU; blogging from Tarfala Research Station, Sweden

Adrian is a PhD researcher who is interested in glacial and periglacial environments, remote sensing as well as GIS. He started his current research project in 2015on how lakes evolve in front of glacier termini as they retreat, with a particular emphasis on the thermal processes acting within the system. Francesca is a PhD student who is interested in glaciology, remote sensing, and GIS. Her current research project is focussed on the roughness of palaeo-ice stream beds. Joe is Teaching Fellow in the School of Geography at University of Leeds. In addition he is also a Research Postgraduate, investigating the interactions between ice-marginal lakes and ice sheet dynamics in western Greenland.

Follow the teams TA research from their blog Cold Ice in a Warm Bath

ANDREA PAIN, ELLEN MARTIN, and JONATHAN MARTIN; blogging from Kobbefjord Field Station, GINR, Greenland

We’re a team from the University of Florida (Andrea Pain, postdoctoral associate, and Profs. Jonathan and Ellen Martin) escaping the tropical heat to study how deglaciation impacts the fluxes of water and solutes to the ocean. We’ll be traveling to Kobbefjord Field Station near Nuuk, Greenland, to study the chemical composition of small streams that are disconnected from the ice sheet, what we refer to as “non-glacial” streams.

Most research on water and solute fluxes from Greenland have focused on large rivers draining the melting ice sheet (proglacial rivers). However, as the ice retreats, more landscape will be drained by smaller nonglacial streams. This summer we’ll study the nonglacial streams flowing to Kobbefjord that are monitored by Asiaq Greenlandic Survey and are part of a larger study by the Greenlandic Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) and Greenland Ecological Monitoring (GEM). We will measure nutrient concentrations, organic matter quantity and quality, mineral weathering products, and instream primary productivity to evaluate their potential to impact coastal processes and greenhouse gas exchange. These results will help us understand how deglaciation has impacted chemical fluxes in the past, and how they may evolve in the future.

Catch us in action at our GrAINFluxes: Greenlandic Atmospheric, Isotopic, and Nutrient Fluxes blog!

PAULINA WIETRZYK-PEŁKA; blogging from Tarfala Research Station, Sweden

My name is Paulina Wietrzyk-Pełka. I am a PhD candidate at the Prof. Z. Czeppe Department of Polar Research and Documentation at Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland). In 2017 I used to blog from Svalbard, from some about 78’ N. This time I will be not so far north, but it does not mean it will be easier. This year, together with my team, we are going to visit the northernmost Sweden and the glacier forelands of the highest mountains of Sweden. Destination: Tarfala Research Station (68’N).

Together with Jakub Pełka (GIS specialist, 3D-developer at Halmstad Community, Sweden), and Michał Węgrzyn (PhD at Jagiellonian University, Poland), we plan to conduct research on vegetation succession and soil development with the help of some modern GIS technologies and 3D analyses of glacier forelands.

In the glacier forelands which are located in Tarfala area we will investigate the primary succession process of vegetation (especially cryptogams) as well as soil development. We will use the same methods as during fieldwork in 2017 (to find out more visit mine last blog: Cryptogams – in search for hidden life in the glacier forelands), as well as some new, that were technically impossible to use in Svalbard. Tarfala valley seems to be perfect for such comprehensive studies due to great amount of glaciological research carried out in that area among decades. Collected data also allows to compare the cryptogam succession and soil formation processes between the High Arctic and alpine regions.

We hope to prepare good documentation, and interesting relation so stay with us at: Cryptogams – in search for hidden life in the glacier forelands, and follow us on Twitter (@PolarResearcher) so you will not miss any of our content! We start our excursion in mid-July. And let the (good) weather be with us!

LISA BRÖDER, JULIEN FOUCHÉ and CATHERINE HIRST; blogging from Zackenberg Research Station, Greenland

Permafrost soils store large amounts of carbon (C) as organic matter (OM), which upon thaw can be decomposed to greenhouse gases that then fuel further global warming. The extent of permafrost disturbances is predicted to increase across Arctic landscapes, which may lead to enhanced release of permafrost OM to water bodies. On its way to the ocean, it can either be decomposed further – increasing the effect on climate – or buried and removed from active carbon cycling – limiting the effect on climate. Close interactions between OM and minerals, such as physical protection and adsorption, may protect OM from decomposition. Yet, how this complex interplay of different mechanisms functions and evolves from soils to the marine environment is still poorly understood.

Here, we present our upcoming fieldwork campaign funded by INTERACT, where we will travel to the Zackenberg valley in Northeastern Greenland to investigate the role and evolution of organo-mineral interactions in preventing permafrost OM decomposition. We will use the opportunity of this blog to document our progress in the field mission and lab analyses. This August 2019, we plan to collect soil samples from the active layer and permafrost at places of abrupt thaw (thermo-erosion gullies), water samples and stream sediments along the release path, as well as water and sediment samples close to where the material is discharged into Young Sound.

Back in the lab with our samples, we will quantify and characterize the OM and minerals in soils, water, and sediments with a range of different techniques.

Stay tuned for further interactions! Follow the blog OMI-perm: Organo-Mineral Interactions from permafrost disturbance to sediment sink from here.


HOLLY CROFT; blogging from the Abisko Research Station in Sweden

I’m a MSCA Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. My research is focused on the use of remotely sensed data in the measurement and modelling of biophysical and ecological variables that influence vegetation productivity, carbon exchange and nutrient use.  We’re travelling the 2000 miles from the UK to Abisko, Sweden via two ferries and an epic road trip, planning to take in as much of the Swedish landscape as possible along the way. Once we get to Abisko we’ll be collecting a suite of measurements on leaf biochemistry, gas-exchange, and remote sensing to investigate the relationships between leaf biochemistry and leaf physiology across arctic different species and environmental gradients, and the use of remotely-sensed techniques for modelling plant physiological parameters. The team consists of Kadmiel Maseyk (Open University, UK), Cheryl Rogers (University of Toronto, Canada) and four University of Sheffield students – Charlie Kenny, Hannah Shreeve, Nathan Howard and Katie O’ Connor.

Follow Holly and her team’s research from the blog Remotely sensing plant productivity at 68°N

HANNELE SAVELA; blogging from Transnational Access coordination in Oulu, Finland

I work as the Transnational Access coordinator of INTERACT, which has its offices at Thule Institute at the University of Oulu in northern Finland. From my research career, I have a PhD in physiological zoology, with a specialization on the nutritional and reproductive physiology of reindeer. In the blog “Behind the scenes”, I share my experiences on managing Transnational Access, which is one of the key activities in INTERACT with close to 8 000 person-days of access provided at 43 research stations in Arctic and northern alpine and forest areas.

Read the blog Behind the scenes -Transnational Access from the viewpoint of its coordination to learn what’s going on at the moment!




YAEL TEFF-SEKER; blogging from Hyytiälä Forest Research Station in Finland, and ECN CAIRNGORM in Scotland, UK

Dr. Yael Teff-Seker is a post-doctoral fellow and a member of the Socio-Ecological Lab at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Together with adviser Prof. Daniel Orenstein, she is testing a new methodology of walking interviews that incorporates a technique taken from the field of psychology called “focusing”, using it to assess cultural ecosystem services (CES). Yael has a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies from the Hebrew University and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning. Her previous academic experience includes research of marine planning and policy, environmental education and stakeholder engagement as part of a previous post-doctoral fellowship at the Technion and at the University of Haifa. Other research interests include environmental planning, social psychology and cross-border environmental cooperation. Learn more of Yael’s research from her ResearchGate profile.

Follow Yael’s blog “Walking and Talking in the Sub-Arctic: assessing cultural ecosystem services in Western Finland and Cairngorms” to join her fieldwork!


OUTI MEINANDER; blogging from FINI in Faroe Islands, SUDURNES in Iceland, and ECN CAIRNGORM in Scotland, UK

Dr. Outi Meinander is a senior research scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI Climate Research Programme, Atmospheric Composition Research Unit, Atmospheric Aerosols Group, Aerosols in snow WG) in Helsinki, Finland. She has specialized in atmospheric radiation and effects of black carbon and Icelandic dust on snow albedo, melt and density. Her research expertise  also includes studies on ultraviolet radiation (UV) and libRadtran RT modeling.

The BLACK project focuses on Arctic climate change. Outi and her team (Laura Thölix, Pavla Dagsson-Waldhauserova , and Jonas Svensson) will investigate black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC) and dust in the cryosphere and natural water, and also drinking water of the stations. BLACK aims at filling geographical gaps in the current BC data collection concerning cold climate regions at high altitudes and high Arctic latitudes and fulfilling some of the Finland’s chairmanship program goals for the Arctic Council 2017-2019.

Follow the blog Black & Snowy Stories of Three Islands (BLACK) to join the tales and excitements of field season 2018-2019 in Faroe, Iceland and Scotland, on aerosols in snow and ice, and more!


ALICE ELDRIDGE, JONATHAN CARRUTHERS-JONES, and ROGER NORUM; blogging from Abisko Research Station in Sweden

The WILDSENS project is run by a multidisciplinary team working across environmental geography, acoustic ecology and social anthropology: Jonathan Carruthers-Jones, Dr. Alice Eldridge and Dr. Roger Norum.

Our projects aims to develop new hybrid methods to create maps of wilderness spaces for use by conservation actors and agencies. Using participatory walking methods along mountain transects, we are exploring ways to integrate geophysical, acoustic and ecological data with human perceptions and attitudes to support better environmental decision making in the future.

Jonathan Carruthers-Jones is a Marie Skłodowska Curie doctoral fellow and part of the ENHANCE ITN at the University of Leeds. Dr Alice Eldridge is a Lecturer in Music at the University of Sussex; her background in music, psychology, adaptive systems and computer science informs systemic, acoustic research across conservation biology and music technology. Trained at Cornell and Oxford, Roger Norum is a social anthropologist working on media, sociality and the environment.

The team share a love of wilderness, an interest in understanding human-nature interactions and a belief in the value of interdisciplinary thinking to enrich theoretical perspectives and develop methods for real world problems.

Follow the team’s blog at “WILDSENS: Mapping the Wild” to join the adventure!


JOSHUA CHAMBERS, TOM SMITH and MARK SMITH; blogging from Station Hintereis in Austria 

We are a research team at the University of Leeds, UK, and part of an international collaboration looking at the roughness of glacier ice and snow and its association with melt. As part of the GLARE project (GLacier Aerodynamic Roughness Estimation) we seek to quantify the spatial and temporal variation in ice surface roughness in a range of different environments and test the comparability of a suite of different measurement methods.

This summer, we are heading up to stay at Hintereis Station and track the changing nature of the ice surface through the ablation season. We will be surveying it using photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scanning over a range of scales and comparing surface roughness estimates with those obtained concurrently using wind towers and eddy covariance techniques.

Joshua Chambers is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. Tom Smith is studying for a Masters by Research also at Leeds. Both are supervised by Dr Mark Smith (no relation to Tom!), an Associate Professor at Leeds. We will be joined on the glacier by an international team from Germany and Austria.

Follow the blog Rough Ice to join the adventure!

JONAS LEMBRECHTS; blogging from Abisko in Sweden


A research team from the University of Antwerp collaborates in an international context to enravel the patterns of alien plant invasions in mountains. In the current project, they collaborate with partners from Sweden and South-America to focus on invasions in the harsh climatic circumstances of subarctic and subantarctic mountains. Are the alien plants able to survive here? Will they become invasive? Which factors promote or limit their occurrence in the mountains?

This summer brings the group to two field campaigns at the Abisko Research Station in Sweden, in late spring and early autumn. The group will set up a field experiment high in the Swedish mountains and monitor the performance of the plants after the harsh winter.

Involved in the project: Jonas Lembrechts, PhD-student from the University of Antwerp and the main blogger (see picture). Ann Milbau from the Abisko Research Station, responsible for the whole project and co-promotor of the PhD. Several students helping on the fieldwork adventure.

Follow Jonas and his team at the Plant Invasions in the Subarctic Mountains blog.

More stories, pictures and information on all the adventures in this PhD-project can be found on www.lembrechtsjonas.wordpress.com.


KATHRYN ADAMSON and TIMOTHY LANE; blogging from Arctic Station and Villum Research Station in Greenland


Dr Kathryn Adamson is a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on Quaternary geomorphology, specifically glacial meltwater and sediment dynamics. Tim Lane is a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratoire de Géographie Physique, Paris, France. His research investigates the timing of changes in the Greenland ice sheet and Greenlandic ice caps. While at Arctic Station  in West Greenland and Villum Research Station in the North Greenland, they will study changes in the behaviour of outlet glaciers and meltwater streams from a series of ice caps. They will look at the key controls on ice cap dynamics using a combination of geomorphology, sedimentology, and dating methods.

Follow Katryn’s and Tim’s blog SEDIGAP – Investigating sediment and meltwater dynamics in an area of Arctic permafrost to learn more!


ALLAN BURAS; blogging from Kłapa Research Station

I am a dendrochronologist working – besides other projects – on arctic and alpine shrubs. Shrubs are fascinating, little trees‘ which often do not fulfill the assumptions dendrochronologists normally have regarding ‚normal trees‘. Their specific growth – often prostrate and multi-stemmed – under harsh environmental conditions render them a tough and exciting challenge for dendrochronology. Particularly, they provide valuable insight into the ecology and climatic past of environments in which trees are absent, such as the Arctic and Alpine.

Probably I like shrubs because I share their favor for treeless environments. Several trips to the Arctic (Svalbard, Greenland, and Finnmark in Norway) and Alpine (Scandinavian Mountains, Alps, Canadian Rockies) have convinced me that – although being a harsh environment – the ecozone beyond the treeline has several benefits compared to other ecozones. These are I) an often magnificent view which allows to broaden our perspective in any sense, II) a yet complex, but somewhat easier to grasp ecosystem, and III) a beautiful and fascinating flora and fauna which is able to cope with conditions which ‘lowland species’ never could endure.

This summer I will get to know a new species and a new part of this incredible landscape – the High Tatra mountains in Poland where I intend to investigate the growth performance of Mountain pine (Pinus mugo) at Kłapa research station. The research trip partly builds on results from earlier INTERACT-trips to Greenland and Norway and seeks to enhance a network of Mountain pine samples from the Alps, addressing the question of the fate of mountain pine in the context of climate change. I am curious about this part of the world beyond the treeline as well as its story and so am I more than happy to share my experiences with you on Arctic Research blogs.

Follow Allan’s adventures from his blog Beyondtreeline.



SARAH FELL; blogging from Finse Alpine Research Station in Norway

Our blog will document research conducted by the University of Leeds at Finse Alpine Research Station, Southern Norway. Here, we will investigate how alpine river ecosystem functioning responds to glacier retreat. We will visit a chronosequence of 14 river sites whose catchments span a gradient of 0-85% glacier cover, to determine how cellulose decomposition and benthic respiration rates alter along this gradient. Decomposition will be investigated through the stream incubation of cotton strips (pictured), which will later be analysed for tensile strength loss as a proxy of cellulose decomposition. To identify respiration rates, benthic cobbles and stream water will be placed within ex-situ mesocosm chambers and incubated at stream temperature, with dissolved oxygen concentration measurements taken in the field station laboratory. River gravels will also be sampled do determine the microbial communities present. We will update our blog over our two visits to Finse in late July and early September.

Learn more about the team’s field work from blog Functioning at Finse.


CAROLINE CLASON; blogging from Tarfala Research Station, Sweden

The GRASP team will be travelling to Tarfala Research Station in summer 2017 where they will be conducting fieldwork on and around Isfallsglaciären, a small polythermal glacier in Arctic Sweden. The team will investigate whether inorganic atmospheric pollutants are concentrated through capture by snowfall and interaction with glacial sediments, aiming to determine whether contaminants released from Isfallsglaciären through melting are enriched in fine sediment to levels that are potentially harmful to the environment or for human consumption. Through conducting this research the GRASP team hope to provide insight into the potential vulnerability of pristine Arctic environments to contaminant-enriched sediments released from glaciers as they retreat in response to a warming climate.

Dr Caroline Clason is a lecturer in Physical Geography at Plymouth University, and specialises in glacial hydrology. She has conducted multiple field seasons in the Arctic, including the Kebnekaise region, and her research expertise include modelling of ice dynamics and hydrology, and studying the transit time and pathways of both meltwater and hydrocarbon pollutants through glaciated catchments. Caroline will be joined in the field by Dr Nick Selmes, an Earth Observation Scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Nick specialises in both remote sensing and field-based cryospheric research, including glacial hydrology, and has extensive experience of fieldwork in the Arctic. The GRASP team also includes glacial geomorphologist Dr Stephanie Mills and catchment scientist Professor Will Blake (Plymouth University), who will be contributing to data analysis in the Plymouth University Consolidated Radioisotope Facility on return from Tarfala.

Follow the blog Glacier recession as a source of environmental pollutants (GRASP) to join the adventure!


FABIAN ERCAN; blogging from Arctic Station in Greenland

I am Fabian Ercan from Utrecht, The Netherlands. I have studied Biology (BSc) and Environmental Biology (MSc) at Utrecht University.

Currently I am employed at the department of Physical Geography at Utrecht University as PhD candidate on the project “Growing season changes over the past Millennium in northern high latitudes”.

In my research, I am working on a better understanding of the lengthening of the growing season in the Arctic Regions. The vegetation of the Tundra and Taiga in or adjacent to the Arctic responds to this change, resulting in a shift of environmental balance in these ecosystems. The fieldwork areas include Greenland and Fennoscandia.

In order to understand a ‘change’ one also has to look at the past. Fossil plant remains from lake sediments capturing the climatic conditions over the last ~1000 years will be investigated in order to contextualize and quantify the changes over a longer period of time.

My blog will cover the preparation, trip and aftermath of the fieldwork at the Arctic Station on Disko Island and some other areas on Greenland. I will be accompanied in the field by my supervisor and team members.

Follow Fabian’s work from his blog Greenland Fieldwork to learn more!

PAULINA WIETRZYK; blogging from Sverdrup station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

My name is Paulina Wietrzyk. I am a PhD candidate at the Prof. Z. Czeppe Department of Polar Research and Documentation at Jagiellonian University in Cracow (Poland). Previously, I have studied Biology and Geography (BSc) and Biology and Geology (MSc) at Jagiellonian University. Research within this project will be my third fieldwork conducted in Svalbard.

Together with my colleague, Michał Węgrzyn (PhD at the Prof. Z. Czeppe Department of Polar Research and Documentation), we will be traveling to Sverdrup Station in Ny-Ålesund (NW Spitsbergen, Svalbard). In the glacier forelands which are located in this area we will investigate the primary succession process of vegetation. Currently, glacier forelands serve as an important ‘natural laboratory’ for research on this process. Our project focuses on the importance of cryptogams (lichens and bryophytes) in the colonisation process on glacier moraines. Both, bryophytes and lichens are consider to be pioneer organisms. We will try to find out if all the Arctic cryptogam species are the pioneers in the freshly deglaciated area and describe their participation in the plant communities which developed across the studied moraines.

Follow Paulina’s blog Cryptogams – in search for hidden life in the glacier forelands to join the adventure!

EMILY STEVENSON and MEL MURPHY;  blogging from Zackenberg Research Station in Eastern Greenland

Dr.’s Emily Stevenson (University of Cambridge) and Mel Murphy (University of Oxford) are both early career researchers in Earth Sciences, and this summer they will be undertaking hydrological sampling of the Zackenberg River and surrounding tributaries for their INTERACT project ‘CarbFlux’. Em and Mel are both accomplished isotope geochemists and specialise in the precise and accurate measurements of elemental and isotopic compositions of Arctic river waters (and sediments).

Chemical weathering of continental rocks is a fundamental process in the carbon cycle and controlling climate stability. In a rapidly warming Arctic, it is critical to constrain the role of weathering processes in controlling global biogeochemical cycles and to quantify the contribution to global chemical weathering fluxes and CO2 drawdown. Together, they will utilise a multi-proxy approach to investigate links between the chemical compositions of the riverine dissolved load and suspended sediments with silicate, carbonate and sulfate weathering processes.

This project will utilise measurements of stable lithium and strontium isotopes, stable isotopes of sulfate and major elemental abundances of river water and sediments to: (i) better understand how rocks are dissolved and the effect glacial ice and permafrost have on accelerating (or decelerating) these processes; (ii) link such processes to the fluxes of CO2 through large Arctic river systems, and ultimately (iii) compare rates of CO2 uptake and release in this region.

Follow Em and Mel on their adventures from their blog Arctic Ice-o-topes


MAGDALENA OPALA-OWCZAREK and PIOTR OWCZAREK; blogging from Rif Field Station in Iceland and CEN Whapmagoostui-Kujjuarapik station in Canada.

 Dr Magdalena Opala-Owczarek is an early career researcher in Climatology at the Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia (Poland). Her research focuses on late Quaternary climate changes, using dendroclimatology. Dr hab. Piotr Owczarek is a researcher in Physical Geography at the Institute of Geography and Regional Development, University of Wroclaw (Poland). His specialization is Quaternary geomorphology, specifically dendrogeomorphology of polar and mountain environments. In the previous years they were working together in some sub-arctic and high-mountain sites using tree rings as proxies for climatic and environmental changes.

This summer they will be traveling to Rif Field Station in Iceland (July) and CEN Whapmagoostui-Kujjuarapik station in Canada (late July- early August), where they will study how modern climate changes affect the terrestrial ecosystems. The REACT team will investigate how shrubs and dwarf shrubs, growing in the maritime or more continental subarctic and arctic climate zones, react on extreme weather phenomena. They will look for signs of rain-on-snow and other extreme climatic events in the growth-ring records of the Arctic plants.

Involved in the project is also Professor Krzysztof Migala (climatologist from University of Wroclaw), who will join them for the fieldwork in Iceland and will be contributing to data analysis on return from the field stations.

Learn about the team’s field work from REACTion of Arctic plants along dendro transect (Iceland – Canada)

CLAUDIA COLEINE and CLAUDIA PACELLI; blogging from GINR in Greenland

A research team from Systematic Botany and Mycology lab. of Tuscia University, Italy will travel to Kobbefjord Station (West Greenland), hosted by Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) in Nuuk. Involved in the field adventure: Claudia Coleine, PhD-student from Tuscia University and Claudia Pacelli, who got her PhD last June and now she is postdoc at Tuscia University. Other two team members are Prof. Laura and Selbmann and Prof. Laura Zucconi (project  leader) and will be contributing to data analysis on return from the field stations.

Research within this project will be their first fieldwork conducted in Arctic. COMICS-G project aims to study the biodiversity of the soil microbial community in West Greenland Arctic land. Data obtained will give clues on microbial evolution, biodiversity, still pretty limited, and on adaptations of these microorganisms, allowing to monitor any future variation.

They will update their blog before, during and over their visit to Greenland in late July early August, and are more than happy to share their experiences with you on Arctic Research blogs.

Follow Claudia & Claudia at COMICS-G: Effects of Climate change On Microbial Community of Soil in Greenland


RÜDIGER M SCHMELZ; blogging from GINR in Greenland

Rüdiger M Schmelz is a team member of the INTERACT TA project GeneFreeze. He works at the Institute for Applied Soil Biology in Hamburg, Germany. He’s also an external collaborator at GIBE, Evolutionary Biology Research Group at University of A Coruña in Spain. He also works as the zootaxa subject editor for the Oligochaeta -journal.

His research activity is focused on a group of oligochaete worms, the ENCHYTRAEIDS, with expertise on its taxonomy and ecology. Rudiger also has a degree in philosophy, and he likes to play a jazzy flute.

Learn more about oligochaetes from the blog Greenland enchytraeids.


KAREN CAMERON; blogging from Tarfala Research Station, Sweden

Karen travels to Tarfala Research Station this summer to study algae growing on the surface of Storglaciären. These ice algae contain dark pigments to protect them from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Where these algal communities thrive, their pigments help to darken the glacial surface and consequently enhance melt. Karen will be observing how these microbial communities respond to changes in their environment through a series of analyses and manipulation experiments.

Karen has a research background in the microbial ecology of glacial environments and is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND research fellow at Aberystwyth University, UK. She is delighted to be joined by colleagues in early July and late August, who have kindly offered their muscle power to help lighten the load!

You can follow Karen throughout the summer in her blog “Algae on ice“.


CATH WALLER and HUW GRIFFITHS; blogging from GINR and Arctic Station in Greenland 

Cath is a Polar ecologist with a focus on intertidal and nearshore habitats. Her previous work on community structure and development has been mainly on or around the Antarctic Peninsula and islands. Along with the Arctic these are the fastest warming places on the planet and little is known about what is going to happen to the plants and animals that live there. She is interested in how changes in environmental conditions and increasing human activity will affect the native species and how non-native species may alter these fragile ecosystems. She is currently working on the impacts of plastic pollution (especially microplastics) on Polar nearshore systems and the spread of non-native species by rafting on anthropogenic and natural flotsam.

Huw is a marine biogeographer with an interest in the Polar Regions. He has worked for the British Antarctic Survey since June 2000 and participated in several expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic investigating benthic biodiversity and biogeography. His interests include large-scale biogeographic and ecological patterns in space and time with a focus  on molluscs, bryozoans, pycnogonids, echinoderms and sponges as model groups to investigate trends at high latitudes.

Follow the team in their fieldwork from BEACh- Biodiversity and Ecology of the Arctic Intertidal: Changes Over Time.

2014 & 2015

TEA AMMUNÉT and HELENA BYLUND; blogging from Kevo, Kilpisjärvi and Bioforsk Svanhovd

The CAPISCO-project (Competition, Adaptation and Parsitoids of Invasive Species in northern COmmunities) consists of Post-doc Tea Ammunét and researcher Helena Bylund from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala. We both have been studying the population ecology and dynamics of geometrid moths in northern Fennoscandia, where the common moth species have caused vast defoliations of mountain birch forests every ten-or-so years. We are highly interested in how the moths interact with each other, with other trophic levels and are affected by climate change.

We will collect preliminary data on spatial characteristics of invasive and resident moth populations regarding adaptation to temperature and parasitism. The data collection will be done in the vicinity of Kilpisjärvi, Kevo, Bioforsk Svanhovd and Abisko research stations at sites representing climatic variation from coastal to continental areas and with varying time frames of the establishment of a new moth species. The locations of the research stations and the long tradition of geometrid research gives us an unique opportunity to combine newly occurring events with well established knowledge.

Read Tea’s and Helena’s blog Capisco? – Searching answers to large scale dynamics in insect populations.

FRANCIS BREARLEY; blogging from Kevo and Oulanka

My project entitled ‘Uptake of insect-derived nitrogen by Pinguicula vulgaris assessed using δ15N stable isotopes – PING15’ aims to determine the proportion of nitrogen obtained from insects by butterworts, carnivorous plants that are common in the arctic. I will sample plants, soil and insects from two Finnish sites, analyse them for the ratio of heavy (15N) to light (14N) nitrogen and use simple mathematical equations to assess how much nitrogen these plants are obtaining from their prey. This will provide some insight into the advantages to plants of being carnivorous rather than ‘vegetarian’. With increasing global nitrogen pollution, it will also be interesting to assess this in a relatively pristine site to provide ‘baseline’ data for potential changes in the future.

I am much better known for my work on tropical ecology and am excited to travel to a contrasting environment and use some of the scientific techniques I employ in the rainforest in the tundra.

Follow Francis on his blog: What can nitrogen isotopes tell us about the diet of butterworts (Pinguicula vulgaris)?


ADAM BOOTH; blogging from Finse in Norway

Dr Adam Booth (above, left) is a Research and Teaching Associate at Imperial College London (UK). In his research, he applies the geophysical methods of seismology and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in near-surface survey settings, addressing problems in archaeological, engineering and glaciological projects. In collaboration with Dr Benedict Reinardy (above, centre) from the University of Bergen (Norway), a specialist in glacial sedimentology, Adam will be conducting GPR measurements in April 2014 around the lower reaches of the glacier Midtdalsbreen, an outlet of the Hardangerjøkulen ice-cap. The field campaign is motivated by a hypothesis about the basal conditions of Midtdalsbreen: landform evidence in the glacier foreland lead Benedict to suggest that ice is frozen to its bed, and GPR methods will be used to investigate this theory. Joining Adam and Benedict is Dr Anna Hughes (above, right), also from University of Bergen. Anna is also an expert on palaeoglaciology and geochronology, and this will be her first experience of a geophysical field survey!

Follow Adam and his collaborator’s field work at GIMMIC – GPR Investigation of Midtdalsbreen Marginal Ice Conditions 


Mariette Suyker; blogging from KEVO in Finland

This summer we will go with a team of 4 students and 2 professors to Finnish Lapland. We are going to set up a new research on woody expansion in boreal systems. Let me first introduce you to the professors. Juul Limpens (above, left) focuses on interactions between soil, water, plants, and the atmosphere to understand how environmental changes may affect plant community structure and ecosystem processes such as carbon accumulation and nutrient cycling (https://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Persons/dr.-J-Juul-Limpens.htm). Milena Holmgren (above, middle) focuses on the understanding of plant community diversity, structure and dynamics and how these affect ecosystem functioning (https://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Persons/dr.-M-Milena-Holmgren-Urba.htm). Both are currently working on the effects of climate variability on vegetation changes, studying the ecological conditions that trigger tree and shrub regeneration and expansion.
Further, the team consists of 4 master students: Roel Postma (above, right), Ana Margarida Pereira (bottom, left), Johan Meijer (bottom, middle) and Mariette Suyker (bottom, right). All students study Forest and Nature conservation at the Wageningen University. The field work will be conducted near the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute. We will characterize tree recruitment in microsites that differ in shrub canopy, permafrost condition and grazing levels. In addition, we will set-up field experiments.

Follow the team’s field work from their blog Woody expansion in boreal systems


JENNI VESAKOSKI & PETTERI ALHO; blogging from Kluane Lake in Canada

Hey! I am a first year PhD candidate at University of Turku, Finland. I graduated last September with Masters in Geography. The objective of my PhD thesis is to increase the understanding of flow changes in the Arctic rivers and the impact of the observed changes on the river system dynamics covering the last 30 years. I do this by applying and developing satellite-based change detection methods, statistical time series analyses and flow simulationmethods. Petteri Alho (above right), my travelling companion, in my principal supervisor. Petteri is adjunct professor and academy research fellow at the Department of Geography and Geology, University of Turku. Petter leads the Fluvial Research Group in which I do my PhD (www.utu.fi/fluvial).

I’ll be writing our blog about our stay in the Kluane Lake Research Station next autumn. I will also write about our field work that will be conducted in Mackenzie and Yukon areas during the same stay.

Follow Jenni’s adventures from the blog Changing flow characteristics and their impacts of river system dynamics in the Arctic.


CATHERINE DOCHERTY; blogging from Zackenberg in Greenland

Catherine Docherty is a PhD student at the University of Birmingham and with thanks to funding from INTERACT Transnational Access, she will be undertaking her 2nd field season in the beautiful Zackenberg valley, northeast Greenland, in summer 2014.
The NUFABAR project aims to understand the effect of climate change on freshwater biodiversity in Greenlandic streams. This will be done by looking at the link between water source contributions, physico-chemical habitat and invertebrate communities.
Catherine has an ecological background, having obtained a BSc in Ecology from the University of Sheffield, UK, and a Masters in Conservation Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. These led to her current PhD studies with Alexander Milner and David Hannah at the University of Birmingham. She will be joined for the first week of field work by Alexander Milner.

Join Catherine’s adventures in her blog NUFABAR -Nutrient Fluxes and Biotic communities in Arctic Rivers!


PAUL GAFFNEY; Blogging from Mukhrino Field Station in Russia

We are a team of scientists from the Environmental Research Institute (www.eri.ac.uk) in the far north of Scotland and part of the Univeristy of the Highlands and Islands (www.uhi.ac.uk). Our project is entitled: How climate change may affect the composition of Dissolved And Volatile Organic Carbon Compounds generated by Arctic Peatlands (DAVOCCAP). We are interested in the effect of climate change on carbon storage and chemistry in northern peatlands. We plan to visit a series of sites, using latitude and prevailing temperature as a proxy for climate. We will be studying the composition of dissolved and volatile organic carbon compounds, which are two key components of the carbon cycle.

Our team are:Dr Roxane Andersen, a peatland ecologist who has worked extensively on peatland restoration. Dr Mark Taggart, an environmental biogeochemist, with a background in soil science and environmental analytical chemistry. Paul Gaffney, a PhD student investigating aquatic carbon, BVOCs and water quality in relation to restoration of afforested peatlands in the Flow Country of Northern Scotland.

We are going to visit Mukhrino and related Numto Park field stations with INTERACT this coming August, where we will spend roughly three weeks making our field measurements.

Follow Paul and his team’s visit to Mukhrino from blog DAVOCCAP -Dissolved and volatile organic carbon compounds generated by arctic peatlands


SANDA IEPURE, TADEUSZ NAMIOTKO, F. JAVIER LILLO; blogging from Tarfala in Sweden

Dr. Sanda Iepure is a Researcher in the Water Department, Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies (Spain), specialized on taxonomy and ecology of Ostracoda and Cyclopoida, Copepoda. Her research interest focuses on groundwater ecology and limnology, cave biology and Quaternary paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstructions using non-marine ostracods. Currently, she is working on groundwater ecohydrology in Mediterranean and Arctic environments, with emphasize on hyporheic biota from glacially influenced river systems.

Dr. Tadeusz Namiotko is Professor at the University of Gdansk, specialized in taxonomy and ecology of living and subfossil (Quaternary) freshwater Ostracoda, with broader research interest in (palaeo-)limnology, biodiversity, stygobiology and evolutionary ecology. His current research concerns studies on a) the morphology, diversification and phylogeny of stygobitic and stygophilic Ostracoda, b) subfossil ostracods from sediments of postglacial and ancient lakes as well as the Baltic Sea as proxies for palaeo-environmental reconstruction, c) evolutionary ecology and taxonomy of ostracods from temporary waters, and d) taxonomy and biogeography of boreal/arctic and tropical non-marine ostracods.

Dr. F. Javier Lillo is Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and Geology, University of Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid). His research focused on environmental geochemistry, soil pollution, hydrogeochemistry and water quality. Nowadays, he is especially interested in the changes of the critical zone taking place in new exposed areas generated by glacier retreat. To find out more about Dr. Lillo’s academic and research activities: http://www.escet.urjc.es/~jlillo/

Follow the team’s adventures at Life Beneath the Streams in the Arctic blog.


SIMON ZWIEBACK; blogging from Samoylov in Russia

Simon Zwieback is a PhD student at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Together with Annett Bartsch (LMU Munich, Germany; University of Salzburg, Austria) and Birgit Heim (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany) he will be conduncting in-situ measurements in the Lena Delta. These observations will help the researchers to assess and improve existing remote sensing methods (mainly radar and optical) of periglacial processes. Amongst the multitude of such processes, the focus will be on two kinds: those affecting the rims of thermokarst lakes, and those related to land subsidence associated with permafrost thaw.

Follow Simon’s blog at Ground measurements for remote sensing of periglacial processes


JORIEN VONK and PAUL MANN; blogging from Abisko in Sweden

The MAGIC project (Microbial And Geochemical Insights into Lake Torneträsks sediment archive) was initiated by Jorien Vonk (Utrecht University) and Paul Mann (Northumbria University) in collaboration with Carl-Magnus Mörth (Stockholm University) and Hendrik Vogel (University of Bern, Switzerland).

We are interested in Lake Torneträsk because (1) it is the largest mountain lake in Scandinavia, (2) is situated in an area that is showing a significant warming trend since 2000, and (3) there are signs that the lake has received an increased flux of degraded terrestrial organic matter since ~1975, potentially from increasing permafrost thaw. We will travel to Abisko in early October for about a week to collect sediment samples along the southern shores of the lake that receive the largest river inflow.
Back home in the Netherlands and in the UK we will analyze the samples using geochemical and microbial techniques to learn more about how aquatic ecosystems may respond to altered fluxes of terrestrial organic matter across the Arctic. More specifically, we hope to gain further insight into how climate warming will change the quality of organic matter, and how this affects microbial communities. These changes can influence carbon turnover and storage in sediments.

It might be a bit chilly in October but because both Jorien and Paul are doing fieldwork in Siberia during summer (Jorien on an icebreaker, Paul in the Kolyma River region) we can unfortunately not visit Abisko earlier. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to our visit!

Learn more about the Torneträsk mysteries from Jorien and Paul’s blog!


ERIKA HOGAN, EMMA PEARSON, SUZANNE McGOWAN, and MARK STEVENSON; blogging from Arctic Station in Greenland


Dr Suzanne McGowan is an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, UK and has worked for more than 10 years in Greenland.  Suzanne’s research combines paleolimnology with aquatic ecology and has specific expertise in the analysis of chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments.  Dr Erika Hogan is a post-doctoral Research Associate at Loughbrough University, UK and has worked previously on projects in Greenland, assessing the ecological impacts of nitrogen deposition in lakes in Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut. Dr Emma Pearson is a Senior Research Associate at Newcastle University, UK and specialises in using lipid biomarkers to reconstruct Quaternary and Holocene environmental change and has experience working in Antarctic environments.  Mark Stevenson is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham and will use the analysis of lipids and pigments from sediment cores from western Greenland lakes to reconstruct Holocene climate change, focusing on methods to assess the sources of aquatic and terrestrial carbon.  We will all visit Arctic Station, Disko Island from 16th to 23rd April 2013.

Read more about the team’s adventures from their blog LAC-VEG Arctic lake carbon processing and terrestrial vegetation transitions.



The team is from Geography & Environment, University of Aberdeen, UK and comprises Prof. Kevin Edwards (palaeoecology), Dr. Brice Rea (glaciology), Dr Ed Schofield (palaeoecology) and Dr Matteo Spagnolo (glaciology) and we will be working from FINI Station on the Faroe Islands. The project will combine palaeoglaciological reconstructions and palaeoecological proxies to determine the palaeoclimate of the Faroe Island during the late glacial period. The research will focus on two areas: 1) mapping and characterising moraine systems which will be used to determine palaeo-glacier geometries, dynamics and mass balance. Sampling will be undertaken to determine chronologies for the moraine system/s using for cosmogenic, luminescence and 14C dating; 2) identify long palaeoenvironmental records from peat bog deposits and sample these for subsequent palaeoecological analyses and chronological control using 14C. Results from both components will be used to determine the palaeoclimate of the Faroes for the late glacial. Importantly,reconstruction of the palaeo-precipitation will indicate the location of the Polar Front in relation to the Faroe Islands.

Follow the team’s work from their blog FaroeICE – Palaeoclimate of the  Faroe Islands using palaeoglaciological and palaeoecological proxies.


RICHARD HILL; blogging from Abisko in Sweden

Richard Hill_blog

I am a first year PhD student at Aberystwyth University studying the microbial ecology of sub-Arctic heath. My fieldwork will be based in the stunning landscape that surrounds the Abisko National Park, taking advantage of the 20 year field experiment set up by Dylan Gwynn-Jones, now of Aberystwyth, and colleagues from Sheffield University, in 1994.

I graduated from Bangor University in 2011 with a Masters in Environmental Science, supervised by Prof. Tom DeLuca, where I first developed my interest in soil science, leading me to undertake a research project with Arwyn Edwards at Aberystwyth. Arwyn has a keen interest in cryosphere microbiology and together we will explore the direct and indirect effects of future elevated CO2 scenarios on the structure and function of the Arctic soil microbial community in this region.

With contribution from INTERACT Transnational Access I shall be travelling to Abisko throughout the spring and summer field season in 2013, sampling the plots and enjoying the scenery of this picturesque landscape, and hopefully find time in between to keep you updated on my blog!

Follow Richard’s field work from his blog Forecasting climate change effects in 2050 – a microbial perspective!


GARY BILOTTA; blogging from Kevo in Finland and Litla-Skard in Iceland


Dr Gary Bilotta is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Brighton (UK). His research focuses on four main themes associated with the management of the quality of water resources and biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems: (1) Quantifying the fluxes of particulate matter (sediments) from terrestrial to riverine environments, (2) Modelling the environmental, climatic, and land-use controls on these fluxes, (3) Advancing understanding of the particle characteristics that determine the effects of these fluxes on water resources and freshwater ecosystems, (4) Developing evidence-based water quality guidelines and advanced monitoring approaches for international water resource legislation.

To find out more about Gary’s research: http://brighton.academia.edu/GaryBilotta. Follow Gary’s field work from the ECOFORS- Environmental and Climatic Controls on Fluxes of Riverine Sediments blog.


CHARLOTTE AXTELL; blogging from Tarfala

Charlotte Axtell is PhD student at Swansea University, UK studying glacio-geophysics.  Her undergraduate was at the University of Leeds, where she graduated in 2011 with a Masters in Geophysics (MGeophys). It was from this degree that made Charlotte interested in the practical side of geophysics. Thanks to funding from the INTERACT project, she will be undertaking her first field season to collect data for my PhD.

Based at Tarfala Research Station in Swedish Lapland, Charlotte will be working in the lower region of Storglaciären; a glacier flowing east from the Kebnekaise massif. She will be studying the micro scale properties of ice, in an area 1km from the snout of Storglaciären, using complementary borehole geophysical techniques.

Follow Charlotte’s blog Geophysics on Ice to learn more what’s going on with her field work!


Liane G Benning, Stefanie Lutz and Benjamin J Wilcock; blogging from Tarfala in Sweden

This summer a team of three people from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds will travel to Tarfala to conduct in situ bio/geochemical measurements and to collect a series of snow and ice samples from the glaciers around the Tarfala research station.  The main aim of our field work is to determine how microbial life is distributed on thes snow and ice fields around Tarfala and to determine how microbes survive and adapt to harsh, cold environments. We will evaluate how the snow and ice algae and bacteria affect carbon cycling on glaciers and aim to link microbial community structure with several other geochemical parameters like light availability and nutrient cycling. We will also address the inter- and co-dependencies between the various cold-loving organisms found on snow and ice on a glacier (cryophiles).

Our team has members who complement each other in experience, knowledge and skills. Prof Liane G Benning has is an experimental biogeochemist who’s research spans geochemistry, mineralogy and microbiology, Stefanie Lutz is specialized in microbiology, geoecology and Geobiology. The final member of the team Benjamin J Wilcock comes from a zoology and biology background, with past work on psychrophiles and Mars cryogenic environmental analysis. Follow the team’s work at Leeds Cryophiles blog.


CONCUR project; blogging from Kilpisjärvi Station in Finland


Meet the Team! The international CONCUR team will perform a complex field experiment under the ice of polar Lake Kilpisjarvi. The aim is to reveal how the solar radiation penetrating the ice cover drives circulation and mixing in the coldest lake of Western Europe, Kilpisjärvi. Kilpisjärvi is a lake in northwest Finland.

The team of researchers (pictured right to left) consists of Larry Kost (Canada*), Will Rizk (Germany*), Elisa Lindgren (Finland), Georgiy Kirillin (Germany*), Christof Engelhardt (Germany*), Alex Forrest (Australia), Jeff Williams (New Zealand), Kelly Graves (Canada*), and Matti Leppäranta (Finland, not pictured). * user group receiving TA support. Follow the team’s work from the Exploring under-ice in a polar lake – the Kilpisjärvi edition blog.


Siber-Niche team; blogging from Mukhrino Field Station in the Russian Federation

Five researchers from the UK’s Floodplain Meadows Partnership, based at the Open University, are trying to understand how hydrology affects vegetation patterns in the natural meadow systems along the River Ob in Siberia. The team, led by Prof David Gowing, has worked on a related question in UK, where the meadows are heavily managed, for over 10 years.  Dr Irina Tatarenko, a botanist originally from Russia, has coordinated the Siberian trip.  A fellow grassland botanist, Hilary Wallace, will assist her in recording vegetation along the Ob.  Dr Mike Dodd will lead the topographic surveying and Prof Gowing, assisted by Emily Dresner, will install hydrological monitoring equipment. They look forward to collaborating with fellow researchers at the Mukhrino Field Station near Khanty-Mansiysk.

Follow Siber-Niche team’s adventure from their blog Hydrology and diversity in Siberian Meadows.




Karin Ebert studied Geography in Bamberg/Germany and Stockholm/Sweden. She holds a PhD in Physical Geography from Stockholm university and is employed at the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm university.

Karin is a geomorphologist and especially interested in the development of northern, glaciated shield landscapes. The GEONORTHS project aims to investigate the impact and quantity of Quaternary glacial erosion on the shield landscape in northernmost Finland. Karin and her colleagues work with a combination of GIS-analyses and fieldwork. Aim of this fieldwork is to map new areas that were identified as promising on the digital elevation model (DEM).

Karin has been on fieldwork in northern Fennoscandia (Sweden, Finland and Norway) almost every year since 2004. She is thrilled that INTERACT gives her the possibility to explore for her unknown areas on the shield and looks very much forward to get back to the vastness of the northern plains.

Read Karin’s blog GEONORTHS -studying glacial erosion on northern Shields.


TOM PARKER; blogging from the Abisko Scientific Research Station

I am in the second year of my PhD at the Universities of Stirling and Sheffield and using funding from the INTERACT Transnational Access I am working in Swedish Lapland for 7 weeks over June & July at Abisko Scientific Research Station. I return to Abisko a bit older and wiser but digging around the forest-tundra ecotone trying to work out how much carbon there is in the ground and which ecological factors are affecting it

I graduated from Sheffield University with a BSc in Biology and went on to obtain an MRes  in Ecology at York University. My interest in arctic and subarctic systems has led me onto a PhD with Phil Wookey and Jens-Arne Subke at the Universities of Sheffield and Stirling.

I’ll be writing my blog with a well earned beer in hand after great days in the field!

Follow Tom’s field work from his blog Tales from the tree line -A first year PhD student .


TEA AMMUNÉT and HELENA BYLUND; blogging from Kevo, Kilpisjärvi and Bioforsk Svanhovd

The CAPISCO-project (Competition, Adaptation and Parsitoids of Invasive Species in northern COmmunities) consists of Post-doc Tea Ammunét and researcher Helena Bylund from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala. We both have been studying the population ecology and dynamics of geometrid moths in northern Fennoscandia, where the common moth species have caused vast defoliations of mountain birch forests every ten-or-so years. We are highly interested in how the moths interact with each other, with other trophic levels and are affected by climate change.

We will collect preliminary data on spatial characteristics of invasive and resident moth populations regarding adaptation to temperature and parasitism. The data collection will be done in the vicinity of Kilpisjärvi, Kevo, Bioforsk Svanhovd and Abisko research stations at sites representing climatic variation from coastal to continental areas and with varying time frames of the establishment of a new moth species. The locations of the research stations and the long tradition of geometrid research gives us an unique opportunity to combine newly occurring events with well established knowledge.

Read Tea’s and Helena’s blog Capisco? – Searching answers to large scale dynamics in insect populations.


STEPHEN CAVERS, WITOLD WACHOWIAK AND ANNIKA TELFORD;  blogging from Mukhrino Field Station in Russian Federation

A team of three scientists from CEH Edinburgh – Stephen Cavers, Witold Wachowiak and Annika Telford – is travelling from Edinburgh to the Shapsha and Mukhrino field stations near Khanty-Mansiysk in central Russia.

We are collecting Scots pine to look at their fine-scale genetic structure in Siberian populations, and also as part of a larger project in order to study how genes control phenotypes in different environments. By combining this new data with populations from Western Europe we hope to look for genomic regions and gene networks involved in intraspecific adaptation to the environment. This new collection will provide valuable information about how Scots pine forests in Siberia compare to those in the west.

Read the blog Scots pine genetics – from Scotland to Russia to learn more about the team’s adventures!


DANIEL ORENSTEIN; blogging from Cairngorms

Daniel Orenstein is senior lecturer in Architecture and Town Planning at the Techion – Israel Institute of Technology.  He researches ecosystem service assessment and in particular non-economic social assessments using interviews and surveys to understand how people use and appreciate their environment.  After initiating a social
ecosystem service assessment in Israel’s southern Dead Sea Basin (with graduate
student Roy Zaidenberg and Dr. Gil Ben-Natan), he thought it would be interesting to compare the results of such assessments in the Cairngorms National Park, and applied for an INERACT Transnational Access to assess ecosystem services in extreme environments – from the hyper-arid to the sub-arctic.  When he’s not doing this, Daniel studies urban sprawl, population growth and other 21st century environmental challenges, and works with the Israel long-term ecological research (LTER) network to develop methodologies for ecosystem service assessment and initiating Israel’s first long-term socio-ecological research platforms.

Read Daniel’s blog Eco-SEE – ecosystem services social assessment in extreme environments to learn more about his field work at Cairngorms!


SVEN FUCHS; blogging from Khibiny

Sven Fuchs studied Geography and Geology at the Universities of Munich (Germany) and Innsbruck (Austria). He graduated in 2000 and was subsequently working on the dynamics of snow avalanche risk at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos. He holds a PhD from the University of Innsbruck and a Habilitation for Geography. Currently Sven is affiliated with the Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. His research interests include geomorphology, hazard and risk assessment, and resource economics with a focus on European mountain regions, arctic environments, Central Africa and South-East Asia.

Read Sven’s blog ARCTIC RISK – spatiotemporal development of snow avalanche risk to learn more about the project’s field work.




































































4 thoughts on “About INTERACT bloggers

  1. Pingback: Get ready for Season 3! | Arctic Research

  2. Pingback: Meet the new bloggers #2 | Arctic Research

  3. Pingback: About us #1: BIO of the BLACK blog – Arctic Research

  4. Pingback: About us #2: our Finnish-Icelandic-Czech-Swedish personal BIO – Arctic Research

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