SITES_bård 160701-4

ICOS RI (Integrated Carbon Observation System Research Infrastructure) recently announced that both research sites operated by Svartberget Forest Research station have now passed their strict standardisation and quality control programme. Svartberget achieved Class 2 Ecosystem Station status in May and Degerö celebrated Class 2 Ecosystem Station status in November. Svartberget also gained Class 1 Atmospheric Station status in spring 2018.

The labelling process, including testing and training can take up to a year. There are three steps to the process, after a station makes its initial application to join ICOS:

  1. The Thematic Centre (Ecosystem, Atmosphere or Ocean) produce an evaluation report based on the location of the site, measurement infrastructure and station characteristics. The Director General then checks and approves the evaluation report.
  2. After station approval, there is a more in-depth analysis of the stations compatibility with ICOS measurement protocols and standards. This focuses on equipment setup, data transfer and data quality, supported by the Thematic Centre. In many cases, equipment needs to be changed, new instrumentation installed, and staff trained in new procedures and data handling.
  3. Finally, the General Assemby for ICOS approves the station based on the evaluation report by the Thematic Centre, and recommendations from the Director General.

ICOS is a European-wide distributed research infrastructure, operating standardised, and high-precision long-term measurements. The aim is to facilitate research to understand the carbon cycle, feedbacks and possible tipping points because of climate change. ICOS Sweden operates ten sites from Abisko-Sordalen in the far north, to Hyltemossa in the south, including three Atmospheric Stations, six Ecosystem Stations, and one Ocean Station. The stations represent the different biomes found in Sweden, and are unique in the continental scale of ICOS RI.

Easily accessible and high-quality data is a central tenet of ICOS. The data is available to researchers, government and NGO’s that require science-based information on greenhouse gases in policy efforts to mitigate the consequences of climate change. The data are open and free to access at the ICOS data portal site.
 

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Figure 1. Sugar beets that will be analyzed are manually harvested. Photographer: Marie Ernfors. Figure 1. Sugar beets that will be analyzed are manually harvested. Photographer: Marie Ernfors.

Finally, autumn has also come to SITES Lönnstorp with several nights below zero. The focus in the near future will be to harvest sugar beets and also to start the second year's measurements of nitrous oxide in the Residuegas project. This project uses the SAFE (SITES Agroecological Field Experiment) infrastructure and investigate how different crop residue management strategies affect nitrous oxide emissions. Read more here!








This year, SITES Lönnstorp took over the management of two long-term experiments in northwestern Scania that investigate the possibility of using various integrated weed control strategies to reduce Black grass (a problematic weed) in crop rotations dominated by winter cereals. The experiments were started in 2012 and 2015 respectively and compares five different weed control strategies that include different combinations of plowing, herbicides, direct sowing and reduced tillage. Preliminary results indicate that strategies that include direct seeding reduce the seed bank and the incidence of Black grass. However, the experiment needs to be continued during a number of years in order to confirm these preliminary results. Read more here!

The Formas project "Phosphorus efficient agriculture with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi" is a new project from Lund University that also uses the SAFE infrastructure at SITES Lönnstorp. The project will, among other things, investigate whether perennial crops (e.g. the wheatgrass Kernza) take up more phosphorus with its larger root systems than its annual counterparts (e.g. winter wheat) and whether these larger root systems also can maintain a higher mycorrhizal biomass. Equipment to study this was placed in SAFE in mid-October 2019 and will be assessed after harvest 2020. Read more here!

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Sampling of lake Erken Water on a windy day for the FunAqua project. Photographer: William Colom. Sampling of lake Erken Water on a windy day for the FunAqua project. Photographer: William Colom.

Together with researchers at Uppsala University and SLU we took samples from lake Erken and Plåten during summer and autumn for the international project FunAqua coordinated by a research group at the Estonian University of Life Science. FunAqua is a global inventory of fungal biodiversity in water and sediments based on DNA sequencing techniques. Fungi are well described key players in terrestrial ecosystems, whereas their diversity and importance in freshwater ecosystems in particular at the goal scale is still largely unknown. The project is also linked to GLEON, i.e. the Global lake observatory network, which is a perfect platform for a global standardized sampling campaign that bring together a larger number of research groups and samples from a large number of lakes and ponds. 

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Part of the new facility for handling wildlife. Photographer: Gunnar Jansson. Part of the new facility for handling wildlife. Photographer: Gunnar Jansson.

The new facility for handling wildlife was completed in September, and now also inspected and approved so ready to take in use. The facility enables great improvements for both data sampling (body measures, tissue samples etc) and other routines related to for example marked animals. The reconstruction started in January and a small inauguration ceremony takes place at October 11.

An example of the interior in one of the sections of the new facility for handling wildlife. Photographer: Gunnar Jansson. An example of the interior in one of the sections of the new facility for handling wildlife. Photographer: Gunnar Jansson.

The building also contains a new kitchen for students and other guests, improved conditions in the car workshop and for storage at the second floor.
 

A moose calf plays around with the marking stick of one of the 600 plots in Grimsös` pellet count (July 2019). A moose calf plays around with the marking stick of one of the 600 plots in Grimsös` pellet count (July 2019).

During the spring a new monitoring series was initiated at Grimsö, with wildlife cameras at 32 of the plots (in total 600) for the annual pellet counts (six species plus habitat data). Wildlife cameras are nowadays an important tool in wildlife management and research, and this project will for example evaluate the relationships between data obtained by pictures and traditional population data based on pellet counts.
 

When tissue samples should be used for analyses of for example diseases, sterilized tools may sometimes be important. Photograper: Gunnar Jansson. When tissue samples should be used for analyses of for example diseases, sterilized tools may sometimes be important. Photograper: Gunnar Jansson.

In September-October the Wildlife biology course is given at Grimsö, this year with 18 students from in total nine different countries. This in combination with other shorter courses and guest stays implies that the accommodations and other services are more or less fully utilized for the period.

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In July 2019 a team from Oldenburg University led by Maren Striebel used the SITES AquaNET Infrastructure in lake Erken for an experiment to test how variations in multiple environmental parameters affect planktonic food webs. More specifically, variation in light and nutrient fluctuations were manipulated to investigate the direct and indirect effects of the treatments on nutrient availability as well as biomass, composition, traits, function and resource use efficiency of different plankton groups (zooplankton, phytoplankton and bacterioplankton).

Picture: The project team during the set-up of the mesocosms.

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