SITES_bård 160701-4

Marcus Lee is a PhD student in Aquatic Ecology at Lund University. Since the beginning of April, he is conducting research at the SITES associated station Bolmen on how the energetic state of individual zooplankton effects their migratory behaviour in response to threats. 

Bolmen is part of SITES AquaNet, a standardized infrastructure for national and international researches to run mesocosm experiments in lakes at Asa, Erken, Skogaryd, Svartberget and Bolmen field stations.

Future predictions of climate change indicate a higher propensity for lakes to become eutrophic, meaning the lake becomes rich in nutrients and so supporting a dense algae population, the decomposition of which kills animal life by depriving it of oxygen. Marcus hypothesises that with this increasing phytoplankton, animals will have abundant food and over a season this will lead to a stronger diel vertical migration behaviour. With his research at Bolmen he will demonstrate this by rearing zooplankton, Daphnia magna, under natural and increased phytoplankton conditions in a mesocosm design for two months.

Photo: Marcus at the platform situated in lake Bolmen. photographer: Franca Stábile

The mesocosm make it possible to generate different climates. Various lake states, such as a clear lake or a lake with a lot of algae, can thereby be simulated in order to analyse the zooplankton diel vertical migration behaviour in different prerequisites.

The results of this research can be expected to prove that diel vertical migration is far from a constant, as it strongly depends upon the energetic state of individuals in a semi-natural environment.

Over the course of the experiment Marcus will sample the populations at differing depths repeatedly, to determine the spatial structure of the mesocosms. He will also collect random individuals to assay the diel vertical migration behaviour. This will be achieved by utilising a 3D computer-tracking platform at Lund University.
Marcus foresees that the results of the research will make it possible to understand how the behaviour of individuals effect whole ecosystems and which can have a great impact on how to keep the water clean.

The project is scheduled for two months, ending in the beginning of July.

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Photo 1: European spruce bark beetle infested trees from 2018. Photographer: Martin Ahlström. Photo 1: European spruce bark beetle infested trees from 2018. Photographer: Martin Ahlström.

The dry and hot summer of 2018 caused draught in many areas in southern Sweden and as a consequence the population of the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) increased. The combination of warm and dry weather during a long period resulted in two successful regenerations of bark beetles. The situation i Götaland and especially in eastern Götaland is critical and the development of 2019 is closely monitored. In Asa, around 40 outbreak sites are identified. The early spring suits the bark beetles and this year’s swarming has already started. Control measures such as, pheromone traps, pheromones on standing trees to focus bark beetle infestation and closely monitoring of infested areas from 2018, are used. The most important active measure is to harvest newly infested trees. The weather conditions however, determine the magnitude of the outbreak. To hope for the best, is to hope for a cold and rainy summer.

Photo 2: Male of Spruce Bark beetle entering the bark. Photographer: Göran Birgersson. Photo 2: Male of Spruce Bark beetle entering the bark. Photographer: Göran Birgersson.

Research
Professor Göran Birgersson and PhD student Maria Sousa both from Chemical Ecology, SLU Alnarp are monitoring the European spruce bark beetle outbreak in Asa. Their main focus is one of the most important bark beetle predators, long legged flies from the genera, Medetera. Larvae of the Medetera locate and attack the bark beetle larvae under the bark.

Photo 3: Female of Medetera. Photographer: Göran Birgersson. Photo 3: Female of Medetera. Photographer: Göran Birgersson.

One of the areas that Göran and Maria studies is also part of a pilot drone monitoring study. Previous studies have shown promising results concerning detection of early bark beetle infestations in near the infrared band. Since the most important active measure is to harvest infested trees before the beetles leave the tree, drone monitoring has a potential of reducing the manual cost of detecting damaged trees. Also, if the multispectral images can show an earlier detection than manual efforts, it can save valuable time and increase efficiency.

Photo 4: Larvae of Medetera, note the black ”jaws” with which they attack the bark beetle larvae. Photographer:  Göran Birgersson. Photo 4: Larvae of Medetera, note the black ”jaws” with which they attack the bark beetle larvae. Photographer: Göran Birgersson.
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Röbäcksdalen is part of the monitoring program SITES spectral, but there are many additional spectral things going on at the station.

On March 21 Julien Morel, post doc at the department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, held a crash course for technicians and researchers in how some of the spectral instruments at Röbäcksdalen works. The most used device today is the hyperspectral camera, which can be used to analyse a number of different things including plant chemical composition, meat, cheese, wood products, pharmaceuticals, and much more. Among the portable devices for field measurements the field spectrometer is a new recruitment to the lab, which will be tested a lot this summer. Not even the cows in the barn escapes the spectral techniques. There are GreenFeed units in the stables that measures the flows of methane carbon dioxide and oxygen from the cows when they consume concentrates.

You can read more about the lab on our webpage www.slu.se/njv/spectral.

Håkan Nilsson presents SITES spectral at the Röbäcksdalen harvest festival August 2018. Fotograf Johanna Wallsten.

Julien Morel is demonstrating the hyperspectral camera during the crash course  Fotograf Johanna Wallsten

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Photo: Me wearing a Peruvian traditional hat and poncho. Photo: Me wearing a Peruvian traditional hat and poncho.

Background:
I’m originally from the UK, where I completed a PhD in Atmospheric Science at the University of Leeds. I’ve worked as a postdoc in Ireland, London, Cambridge and Spain, on projects involving measurements of greenhouse gases, air quality and halogens. I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years living in Madrid with my girlfriend who is Peruvian (hence the photo) learning Spanish and enjoying the food and drink!

Relation to Svartberget Forest Research Station:
I previously worked here as a Research Engineer during the installation of the ICOS infrastructure in 2012-2013. I returned in 2014 and 2018 to help out during the summer field season, so I am well-known to the staff and I am familiar with the wide variety of work that goes on with regards forest ecosystems. Unable to find further funding or other opportunities in Spain, I decided to contact my colleagues at Svartberget to see if they needed help or had any jobs. They needed a Research Engineer, so I applied and I was lucky enough to get the job.

Vindeln/Svartberget:
I enjoy the clean air, forests, lakes and rivers in the region around Vindeln. Swedish people value their free-time and are friendly and helpful, and I like the idea of ‘fika’ at work. I’m looking forward to finally learning Swedish properly and welcoming my girlfriend, friends and family to explore the region.

What is your role:
I will mainly be working on supporting the ongoing measurements as part of ICOS, and working with my colleagues on maintaining and extending the SITES measurement programmes. I am interested in developing new measurement technologies at the station, and using data mining techniques to better understand the wealth of data we have, and the story it can tell.

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What are your expectations for your assignment at SITES?
 To run the internationalisation of Swedish field research stations through LTER (Long Term Ecosystem Research). I am the coordinator of LTER Sweden, which is almost a parallel to SITES. All SITES stations are now members of LTER Sweden, and the plan is to increase the European cooperation though LTER.
 
Tell us about your background?
I have a doctors degree in plant ecology from Uppsala University and came to SLU to run the Swedish vegetation part of the international environmental monitoring program, ”ICP Integrated Monitoring (ICP-IM)”. I still work with this but am now also chair of the international ICP-IM program. My main research focus is on large-scale and long-term dynamics and change in vegetation on land (European scale) through Horizon2020 projects coordinated by LTER. I also work with teaching and teaching administration.
 
What is your relation to terrester/limnic field research?
Through the work related to the vegetation part of the national environmental monitoring program mentioned above. The program aims to understand processes of forest ecosystems and we measure almost everything possible to measure, so even if I focus on vegetation, I work close to geologists, hydrologists, soil scientists and chemists in our forest monitoring.
 
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
Towards the end of my undergraduate I started to be interested in a continuation of my academic studies, and during my master’s thesis I decided to pursue an academic carrier, staring with PhD studies.
 
Why are research infrastructures of importance today?
 Without a well-functioning infrastructure with a harmonised measuring programme and routines for data storage, we will never be able to follow the effects of the large-scale environmental changes that is going on or learn more about ecosystem effects from environmental and climate changes.
 
What will be your strongest contribution to SITES?
The connection to LTER and to link the Swedish field research stations to the European network for ecosystem science.
 
Where is SITES in five years?
In five years SITES is still an important part of the national field research and has a natural and important role in the large-scale European ecosystem science.
 
Links:
ICP Integrated Monitoring (ICP-IM)
 
LTER Sweden
 
LTER Europe

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