SITES_bård 160701-4

2016

Who is Pablo? Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and what led you to this role?
I consider myself an environmental scientist with primary focus on aquatic ecology, aquatic-terrestrial linkages and water quality issues. My interests on environmental sciences rooted during my youth at my home country, Spain. As a child, I grew up with the notion that freshwater resources are particularly scarce. This is not only due to droughts, but also as a result of intensive extractions for irrigation in agricultural fields and urbanization. Everyone’s aware of it, my mother always told me to keep the tap closed and not use more water than necessary. I think that’s where all started!
I took a Bachelor degree in Environmental Sciences in Spain, and visited Sweden (Gothenburg) the first time through a study exchange program. After my master, which was about water quality assessment and the Water Framework Directive, I got the opportunity to take my PhD in Lund. In my research I’ve been focusing on browning and global warming effects on water quality, as well as management tools to reduce those impacts. For example, we know through biomanipulation of lakes, that is reducing the amount of fish, we can buffer the increased level of toxic algae in response to climate change. This is mainly done by boosting the growth of invertebrates that feed on these algae.  From that I got more and more into working with manipulation experiments, and for the past 4-5 years I’ve worked with mesocosms together with field data. I owe a lot to Professor Lars Anders Hansson from Lund University, who was a pioneer using mesocosms in Sweden looking at the effects of climate change on lakes and from whom I have learned a lot!
 
How did you become the coordinator for SITES Aquanet?
Through colleagues and my network I had heard of SITES AquaNet, but I still had a vague idea when a colleague from Lund showed me the advertisement and said it was a perfect match with me!

I think it is an interesting challenge to be part of developing the work forward with mesocosm studies. The problem today is that this kind of experimental approach is used more and more, but without any standardization. So it was the overall purpose with AquaNet, as well as the high research level and skilled people involved, that motivated me to apply for the coordinator role.
 
After these first months with the job, how would you describe SITES AquaNet?
I certainly underestimated the dimensions of the project. It is a much larger team than I thought and the competence level is very high, not only among the leading researchers, but also the technicians, who play a core role in developing the project. To lead and coordinate this group is a pleasure, and I think the project is going well. What’s most challenging is to manage to build a long-lasting infrastructure, at a reasonable cost. That means, to find and get the best deals from different suppliers and partners and knowing the equipment is going to be robust and reliable.
 
What values and opportunities do you see with SITES Aquanet? If I talk to you again a year from now – what do you expect to have achieved?
The main goal now is to secure we have the best equipment, for example we just had a meeting discussing what kind of sensors to buy, based on experience and input from our technicians. In April-May and July-August we will conduct two pilot experiments at Svartberget, Erken, Skogaryd and Asa. The experiments will help in answering many questions regarding the stability of biological communities in response to environmental disturbances, especially in a world that is rapidly changing on a global scale. These will be the first real experimental tests and I would like to see a consolidated and tested infrastructure available for many researchers to use it in years to come.  

In a more long-term perspective I see a great potential within SITES AquaNet, especially as  a base for coming projects and collaboration with other initiatives. The ambition is to scale it up!
 
Interview by Mia Barkland
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David Bastviken, Professor at the The Department of Thematic Studies - Environmental Change at Linköpings University has received nearly 20 million via an ERC Consolidator Grant, a grant given to excellent research.
The goal of David´s project is to better quantify and develop models to predict methane emissions from lakes. Methane is an important greenhouse gas, and new research shows that the lakes are one of the largest sources of methane. By mapping how these natural greenhouse gases are regulated, and how sensitive they are to global warming, it becomes easier to make climate models.
The money is a great opportunity to build a strong research around this. Now, emissions in the lakes will be surveyed in a rigorous manner so that we can anticipate future emissions, says David Bastviken.
Facts:
ERC stands for the European Research Council and supports researchers in all scientific fields that conduct excellent research of the utmost quality. David Bastviken receives 2 million euros over five years.

The picture and text are translated from a news article at Linköping universitys homepage. 
Title and Abstract
Predicting future methane fluxes from northern lakes (METLAKE)
David Bastviken
 
The new global temperature goal calls for reliable quantification of present and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including climate feedbacks. Non-CO2 GHGs, with methane (CH4) being the most important, represent a large but highly uncertain component in global GHG budget. Lakes are among the largest natural sources of CH4 but our understanding of lake CH4 fluxes is rudimentary. Lake emissions are not yet routinely monitored, and coherent, spatially representative, long-term datasets are rare which hamper accurate flux estimates and predictions.
 
METLAKE aims to improve our ability to quantify and predict lake CH4 emissions. Major goals include: (1) the development of predictive models, validated by extensive field data, and being suitable for use at the lake rich northern latitudes where large climate changes are anticipated in the near future, (2) the testing of the idea that appropriate consideration of spatiotemporal scaling can greatly facilitate generation of accurate yet simple predictive models, (3) to reveal and quantify detailed flux regulation patterns, and (4) - as a basis for the above goals - to generate more representative CH4 flux measurements. Extensive field work based on optimized state-of-the-art approaches will yield multi-scale and multi-system data, supplemented by experiments, and evaluated by data analyses and modelling approaches targeting effects of scaling on model performance. Altogether, METLAKE aims to advance our understanding of one of the largest natural CH4 sources, and provide us with systematic tools to predict future lake emissions. Such quantification of feedbacks on natural GHG emissions is required to move beyond state-of-the-art regarding global GHG budgets and to estimate the mitigation efforts needed to reach global climate goals.
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SITES AquaNet was initiated to create a standardised infrastructure for mesocosm experiments in lakes, with facilities spread across geographical and climatic gradients in Sweden. An update on the progress and upcoming plans are told by Pablo Urrutia Cordero, coordinator of SITES AquaNet since this November.
Installation of platform and instrumentation
All platforms have been successfully deployed in each lake this fall, tells Pablo. Erken has also done some tests of the PE enclosures to see how well they withstand harsh conditions over winter – knowledge from which researches interested in doing winter science in the future will strongly benefit from.
 
Follow ups on the May and September meetings, along with productive discussions afterwards with all involved stations, has resulted in a decision on a sensor system to have in the mesocosms, says Pablo. This setup includes: O2, temperature, photosynthetic active radiation and chlorophyll sensors full time deployed in each mesocosm. Then a conductivity/pH sensor or a multiprobe for handheld measurements. There are also plans to test some CO2 sensors, which could be good for future projects.
 
Additionally we have looked into mixing methods for the mesocosms, as it is very important in order to mimic the natural mixing regimes in natural lakes. It will also avoid using manual mixing methods and reduce maintenance work during the experiments. We are now testing a little impeller placed in the water, which has proven very promising so far, tells Pablo.
 
Important permits
In order to reduce the working load (number of visits to the platform) we will explore having a camera surveillance system at each platform. At the moment we are working on checking with authorities about permits needed for this. We are also working all stations together to have a common application this month regarding fish ethical permits, says Pablo.
Test experiments and further use of the facility
In 2017 the experimental system will be used for pilot experiments to test multidimensional aspects of functional and compositional stabili­ty of lake plankton communities in response to pulse and press disturbances.
 
These experiments will run at all stations and Pablo will help out and support stations for setting up experiments. In one way or the other, the participating stations will involve seasonal personnel and field assistants to see this through.
 
To run the initiative long-term, further funding are included in the structure of the application to the Swedish Research Council regarding continuation of SITES, which will be sent in 2017.
 
Visit at Umeå Marine Sciences Centre
At the SITES Tour on KBC days, SITES met with Henrik Larsson at Umeå Marine Sciences Centre. Henrik later invited SITES AquaNet representatives and others to a visit and showed the system they are running. This opens up for valuable collaboration and knowledge exchange in the future.
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Lönnstorps assistant station manager Linda-Maria Mårtenson visited Röbäcksdalen and Svartberget in December. Experiences regarding station management ship were discussed which resulted in shared knowledge and suggestions for further initatives.

SITES Spectral site at Svartberget was visited. At Röbäcksdalen agricultural researchers and representatives gathered to listen to and exchange ideas about the SITES Agroelological Field Experiment SAFE running at Lönnstorp and the possibilities to collaborate under that name with Röbäcksdalen.
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Thomas Hörnlund at Svartberget has done method development and tests regarding GPS:es and the difficulties to get good and accurate positions within a forest stand.
 
The questions originates when a researchers wanted to get the field equipment marked on a map. We knew that the installations was located five meters from each other but they did not end up five meter from each other on the produced map, says Thomas. Even though we had a pretty good instrument, Trimble Geoexplorer6000 the positions weren’t where we had expected. On open fields, with a two meter antenna the GPS received 8000 fix points within a diameter of a fist, five cm radius cm, which is what you expect from this device.
 
In forests with the same equipment it took tree days too receive 13 000 fix points and they had as much as five m radius of scattered points. This scattered chart was possible to improve when the antenna height was adjusted resulting in a precision around an A4 paper size.
Equiptment setup in field. Photo by Thomas Hörnlund.
Equiptment setup in field. Photo by Thomas Hörnlund.
Thomas says that these results will influence the routines used for GPS point measurements at Svartberget.
We won’t use the average values of Garmin anymore at least, because waiting for the Garmin GPS to stabilize isn’t worth since it is off anyway and remember that the precision of a 5000kr Garmin in open field is not better than a radius of 6m.
 In the longer perspective this is of high importance for all types of GPS related work and especially the accuracy in precision works e.g. forestry and farming in relation to riparian zones, ancient monuments and spot fertilization in relation to specific crop-needs and soil properties.  
Facts:
Thomas Hörnlund, from Svartberget presented this study "Erfarenheter från GPS-mätning i skog med cm-upplösning" at Ljungberg Laboratory in Umeå, staff at Ljungberg laboratory has also assisted Röbäcksdalen during the initiation of UAW flights in SITES Spectral.

The presentation is available in Swedish here. Last link under Previous Seminars, December 8, 2016.
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The last cross-station activity for the year was a TagTags workshop. TagTags is a software used in android devices to collect field sampling information. SITES water uses them for example on stream and lake sampling occasions.
20 participants from most SITES stations gathered to develop their skills about the application and how to adapt the protocols and app to fit their specific station and sampling needs. Everyone has learnt and developed something they can use immediately when they get home tells Kim Lindgren, system developer for TagTags and leader on the course.

We also got feedback on the applications and how to modify and develop the product even more, which is much appreciated summaries Kim.
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In the fall of 2015, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation granted 39 million SEK during five years to a research group at SLU in Umeå, in collaboration with researchers at Umeå and Helsinki University, to study the physiological and environmental drivers of carbon and water fluxes in forest ecosystems. This project is divided into five interrelated Branch-Points (BP) that spans the scale from leaf-level physiology to forest stand-level to better understand mechanisms influencing biomass production in boreal forests.

The five nodes compromise of:
(1) Separation of water loss from ecosystems into transpiration and evaporation, which in turn quantifies the amount of water used by trees for growth.

(2) Quantifying tree water-use-efficiency (WUE = photosynthesis/transpiration) and thus tree photosynthesis given direct measurements of tree transpiration in BP1.

(3) Assessing light-use-efficiency, which partitioning light energy capture by cholorphyll into photosynthesis (carbon gain) and photorespiration (carbon losses).

(4) Partitioning of total respiration between different respiration paths (normal and alternative respiration) which controls the efficiency of trees to produce biomass.

(5) Quantifying tree growth into above- (i.e., stem, shoot, leaf) and below-ground growth (roots and mycorrhiza) which controls how much of the total forest growth can be harvested for biomass.

This study will take advantage of the rich history of research, measurements and state-of-the-art infrastructure at Svartberget Research Station. Niles Hasselquist has initiated field measurements of tree transpiration using sap flow sensor to address question associated with BP1. Niles is one of many researchers that will be involved in the project.
Niles Hasselquist presents the project at one excursion in Svartberget.
Niles Hasselquist presents the project at one excursion in Svartberget.

Is it a detective’s examination of a complex water pipe system that you will study?

Yes, you might see it like that. On an overall level, we have relatively good knowledge about the processes driving fluxes of water and energy in, through and out from different forest ecosystems. By using variation in natural abundance stable isotopes, it is possible to get a better process-based understanding of the processes and pathways influencing the isotopic signature of carbon and oxygen among the different BP. This approach is unique in that it will allow us quantify both carbon and water fluxes at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Why do you believe this synthesizing study is made now?

One aspect is definitely the recent technical advancement instruments that permits real time isotopic measurements in the field. The processes we want to capture are both fast and slow, so to capture them and determine their isotopic signature we need instruments that can make isotopic measurements in the field every second. To meet this requirement, we have acquired several field instruments to measure 18O and 13C in the field. One example of these instruments is an Areodye that measures the carbon isotopic signature (13C) of CO2 that is being exchange between the forested ecosystem and the atmosphere. 

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) isotopomer measurements is another important resource in the project and studied in Branch-Point 3. Expertise on the topic is brought in by researchers from Umeå University. By NMR they analyze partitioning of C-13 between atoms in glucose-rings and hence gets information about photosynthesis and photorespiration. Using this technique it is possible to go back in time and analyze tree rings to better understand tree growth during other environmental conditions, e.g. under low atmospheric CO2 concentration. 
Tree core with annual rings which are used in the NMR study.
Tree core with annual rings which are used in the NMR study.

Natural conditions during long time – Need for field measurements

Partly what has made this study possible is the already established start-of-the-art infrastructure at Svartberget Research Station as well as it long history of measurements. Given the long-term measurements at the site, we have the unique opportunity to assess how natural increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations influences numerous ecosystem processes, i.e., photosynthesis, forest productivity as well as stand-level transpiration and the important ramifications this may have for ecosystem hydrology and stream runoff.

Most of the research associated with the different BP will be conducted within Svartbergets basal infrastructure in SITES. Existing facilities, such as long-term monitoring stations, micrometeorological stations, soil water sampling facilities and stream water network will be used in combination with the ICOS-atmospheric tower. In Niles, BP 1 project, trees has been mounted with sap flow sensors in the close vicinity of the ICOS-tower. Measurements from the ICOS-tower are used to estimate evapotranspiration at a forest stand level, which will be used in combination with sap flow measurements to partition evapotranspiration into its different flux components, i.e., evaporation and transpiration.

You have just started, what have you initiated so far?

In June of this year, Niles with assistance from Pantana Tor-ngern at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand installed sap flow sensors on 60 trees. Each tree has two temperature sensors that are placed 10 cm apart which is connected to a logger cabinet. At the moment, we are measuring sap flux in both Scots pine and Norway Spruce trees ranging in size from 7 to 40 cm diameter-at-breast-height. We will continue to monitor sap flux in these trees for the length of the project period; during the next five years.
Sap flow sensors on spruces at Svartberget.
Sap flow sensors on spruces at Svartberget.
Facts:
Title: Physiological Branch-Points with Ecosystem Consequences: Carbon and Water in Boreal Forests
Main applicant: Torgny Näsholm, SLU Umeå
Funding: 39.5 million SEK during five years
Funder: Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Niles Hasselquist, SLU Umeå
Svartberget Research station

Photos by Anders Esselin, Ida Taberman, Johannes Tiwari and Niles Hasselquist.
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A study using data gathered from across the globe shows that climate change will increase the rate of global warming.

The newly published research shows that as global temperatures rise, the activity of microbial life in the soil increases which in turn increases the decomposition of organic matter and thus the release of greenhouse gases from the soils. Parts of this data were gathered at Svartberget, as a part of the Krycklan project and the new research results was published in Nature on the first of December, 2016.

The article is named: "Quantifying Global Soil Carbon Losses in Response to Warming". DOI 10.1038/nature20150

Video where lead author Thomas Crowther present the study

Read more about the Krycklan project at Svartberget

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SITES participates at the Bolin days 2016 and the celebrate of Tarfala research station 70 years. View the full program here.

The Bolin Centre is a multi-disciplinary consortium of over 300 scientists in Sweden that conduct research and graduate education related to the Earth´s climate.

The Bolin Centre focuses on extending and disseminating knowledge about the Earth’s natural climate system, climate variations, climate impacting processes, climate modelling, human impact on the climate and climate impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity and human conditions as well as how society can minimize negative impacts.

The centre was formed in 2006 by Stockholm University, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
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Anders Lindroth, the SITES director, and Maria Ernfors, the station manager at Lönnstorp, participated in the Plant Link Day, where they presented the infrastructure and the facilities and activities on Lönnstorp.
Anders Lindroth presents SITES. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson
Anders Lindroth presents SITES. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson

PlantLink is a research network in the area of plant sciences in the south of Sweden. PlantLink wants to bridge the gap between basic and applied plant research with the objective to improve crops and food products, and to enable production of materials, medication and energy from plants in a sustainable way. Associated to PlantLink, are several within their field world-leading research groups.

Maria Ernfors presents SITES Lönnstorps facilites. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson
Maria Ernfors presents SITES Lönnstorps facilites. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson
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SITES Lönnstorp field experimental station proudly presents the members of the recently established advisory board: Kate Scow, professor in Soil Science and Microbial Ecology at the University of California, Davis and director of the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agricultural Facility; David Parsons, professor in Crop Sciences at SLU Umeå; Josef Appell, agricultural consultant and previously manager of the Gårdstånga Nygård Estate; and Göran Bergkvist, associate professor in Crop Production Science at SLU, Uppsala. The advisory board will advise on the scientific and practical development of SITES Lönnstorp, including the SITES Agroecological Field Experiment.
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SITES participated at KBC-days in Umeå this November. Under the theme of “what SITES can provide for you researchers” Anders Lindroth, Leif Klemedtsson and Tomas Lundmark guided visitors through SITES concept and mission, the special initiatives of the new infrastructure, SITES Water, SITES Spectral and SITES AquaNet and to the nearest SITES stations, Röbäcksdalen and Svartberget got presented in more detail.

Are you interested in knowing what SITES can offer you as a researcher, please contact SITES!
Chemical Biology Centre, KBC is a platform for collaboration and exchange of researchers between faculties and institutions within Umeå University and SLU.
About KBC and program of KBC days can be found here.
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York and Swansee Universities has recently received funding for a SkyGas-system at Följesjön in Skogaryd. The SkyGas system moves in a 3D pattern, similar as a camera attached to the roof at a sports arena. A Gas-Flux chamber will be moved around at different locations at Följesjön along with a micro metrological setup.
 
This setup will combine resources and knowledges from SITES Water and Spectral SITES. A mire at Skogaryd is equipted with a similar SkyLine system. Further research approaches from this infrastructure will be to model footprint theories within ICOS and measure green-house gases with lasers. The SkyGas-sysmen is also an interesting feature in cropping systems.
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Researchers at Umeå University has received a grant from Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation. The project is entitled; Climate change induced regime shifts in northern lake ecosystems. Several of the study sites are located at or in the vicinity of SITES Abisko and Svartberget field research stations.

Jan Karlsson and his fellow applicants were granted with 37 million SEK over the next five years. One of the outcomes of the project will be to develop ecosystem models to be used to predict future production of fish biomass and greenhouse gas in northern lakes.

Sediment sampling in Sorrajärvi. Photo by Alexander Eiler
Sediment sampling in Sorrajärvi. Photo by Alexander Eiler
Experimental facility at Umeå University. Photo by Mattias Pettersson
Experimental facility at Umeå University. Photo by Mattias Pettersson
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Four of the SITES stations involved in SITES AquaNet mounts their floats during this autumn. Erken was first and initiated during late September, all the participants attending the SITES AquaNet workshop there got to see the progress and possibilities. This week personnel from Svartberget has put together their float-device into the larger platform in lake Stortjärn. Asa and Skogaryd are next in line.

The float platforms are the fundament of the SITES AquaNet infrastructure, it will hold the structure of the mesocosm bags, act as base for loggers mounted and used in the manipulations and at the same time provide a safe work environment. During summer 2017 a test experiment will run at all four platforms, and then the structure act as a resource for research questions related to manipulation of small aquatic ecosystems.
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SITES spectral is one of the three common initiatives within SITES. Their overall aim is to support  world class field research with infrastructures. SITES Spectral is holistic and common across eight of SITES stations where each stations has similar type of instrument and measurement setup. The program collects spectral information from sensors and phenological cameras in mast/towers and Drones (UAW). Sensors are mounted in towers and masts capturing incoming and reflecting radiation. Phenological cameras capture vegetation development and the UAW which are used to scale the program to larger areas. Information from sensors and UAV are inter-calibrated from the smaller fixed points to the larger area captured by the UAW. One extension of this program is the possibility to calibrate satellite data from remote sensing.
The decision to change the name was made at a workshop October 14, partly to emphasize the differences between SITES Spectral and the network of Nordpsec. Apart from discussions, information and updates on technical challenges, calibrations and decisions regarding equipment, an inspiration-talk was given by Kjell Blomgren form the phenological network in Sweden on how researchers like him, can use data from SITES Spectral.
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SITES partners, University of Gothenburg, Stockholm University, Uppsala University, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and SLU gathered for a meeting regarding the upcoming application for SITES continuation. The meeting discussed, among other things, SITES interpretation of the conditions for the next phase and a plan for further contact during the development of the application. The partners also gave specific comments on challenges and opportunities of an extension.
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Jakob Kuttenkeuler and colleagues from Royal institute of Technology, KTH, visited Tarfala where they used a Maribot A.N.K.A developed for autonomous hydrographic mapping in shallow waters to produce a bathymetry map of the Tarfala Lake. The map will provide background information for the SITES water project.

They also aided the deployment of temperature sensors array that will stay in the lake during winter.

View a video of their work
Picture from the film on bathymetry mapping in Tarfala Lake.
Picture from the film on bathymetry mapping in Tarfala Lake.
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The thirteenth Krycklan symposium attracted over 80 people to participate in two sessions on forest ditches and on the management of small streams. The program presented invited speakers from Finland and Canada. Hjalmar Laudon, professor in forest biogeochemistry and leader of the research Krycklan is pleased with this year's symposium.
- Krycklan is about research infrastructure, but also about people. The symposium is a way to welcome researchers from all around the world to come and work with us, but there is one important condition – we work with open data, says Hjalmar Laudon, who also works as a research leader in Future Forests.

Over the years, the Krycklan symposium has become a well-established meeting place for scientists from different parts of Sweden and the world. Participants also represent practitioners from authorities such as the Swedish Forests Agency and from the private sector and forest owners. Many participants return year after year, and seem to appreciate the open and welcoming atmosphere.
Small but important
This year's theme was forest ditches, small streams and forest buffer zones. All are components of aquatic ecosystems that are easily overlooked. Really small streams that you can easily step over without effort, and that might not even visible during parts of the year might at a first glance be perceived as less important parts of the watershed. . But it has been shown that 85% of the overall length of the watercourses consists of small streams whose catchments are less than one square kilometer.

- The small watercourses are capillaries of the forest waters, it is those who have contact with the forest soil. It is important that we begin to see the headwaters are not only important downstream, but we must begin to see them as important in themselves, because their buffer zones really control the water quality, says Hjalmar Laudon.
 
Are trenches streams?
Forest trenches divide forest stakeholders. On one side, we find those who want to restore the trenches in order to increase forest growth, on the other side those who see the forest trenches as problematic, from a nature conservation point of view.

- The idea was to open our minds to new approaches and issues by inviting experts in both small streams and forest ditches and try to combine different perspectives. The link between the artificial water bodies and the natural - how does it look? What do they have in common and what is unique?, says Hjalmar Laudon. And when should a ditch be treated as a stream? That is the key question in this discussion.

Facts:
Among this year's invited guests were David Kreutzweiser, Canadian Forest Service, John Richardson, University of British Columbia, Samuli Launiainen and Ari Lauren from the Finnish Natural Resources Institute LUKE, Timo Hiltunen from Metsähallitus, which manages state forests in Finland, and Axel Anderson, University of Alberta and Chris Evans, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Krycklan Catchment Study was initiated 35 years ago by Kevin Bishop and Harald Grip. Since then there have been over almost exponential increase in activities. Today, there are datasets from the study, which is unique in its scope and which attracts scientists from around the world to cooperate with SLU's successful forest water scientists.

Future Forests is a multi disciplinary forest research program driven by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå University and the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden.

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On the 6-9th of September, Linda-Maria Mårtensson, Deputy Station Manager at SITES Lönnstorp, attended the European Society for Agronomy conference in Edinburgh in order to promote the newly established SITES Agroecological Field Experiment at Lönnstorp. The presentation attracted a vivid interest, in fact so much that more hand-outs had to be printed!
Co-cropping of Kernza and Lucern at SAFE fields. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson
Co-cropping of Kernza and Lucern at SAFE fields. Photo by Linda-Maria Mårtensson
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The Flakaliden experiment in the vicinity of Svartberget was set up in 1986 in a young Norway spruce stand which was planted in 1963 after felling, prescribed burning, and soil preparation.

The long-term experiments show that it is possible to increase growth of Norway spruce by more than double. Thus, it is not the harsh climate or the slow growing tree species that limit the growth in Swedish forests. Rather, it is the availability of nutrients — in Northern Sweden, mainly nitrogen — that is limiting growth.

2016 fills the experiment 30 years and it has been celebrated in late September. Pioneers and researchers who have worked and been interested in the results has been on the spot in Flakaliden again.

Tree rings before and after nutirent addition. Photo from SLU Web.
Tree rings before and after nutirent addition. Photo from SLU Web.

Research at Flakaliden has made enormous contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrient supply in boreal forest growth and ecosystem function, in addition to clearly identifying the critical importance of nutrient availability in the response of forest growth to increased air temperature and elevated CO2 concentrations.

The pioneer Sune Linder together with colleagues and friends at Flakaliden. Image of Charlotta Erefur
The pioneer Sune Linder together with colleagues and friends at Flakaliden. Image of Charlotta Erefur
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Abisko Scientific Research Station and some of their many researchers were visited by journalists from science editorial offices in Sweden and abroad during the summer.

EuroNews Television produced a short documentary about the research station:
Polar research warms up
Picture from EuroNews documentary about Abisko Scientific Research Station
Picture from EuroNews documentary about Abisko Scientific Research Station
Swedish national radio has followed researchers at their field study sites around Abisko. The programs are only available in Swedish.

Mikroorganismer på myrarna kan ge svar om utsläpp
Livet på myren – så påverkas klimatet
Plattmaskar – smådjuren vi vet för lite om

Contact:
Magnus Augner, station manager at Abisko Scientific Research Station
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Svartberget and Röbäcksdalen acted as hosts for the SITES boards September meeting last week. Since SLU is the host University of SITES, the board meets with the vice chancellor of SLU once per year to reconcile. Furthermore, the meeting also addressed planning for the upcoming application to the Swedish Research Council regarding financing of SITES after 2018. Station managers, technicians and researchers utilizing the SITES infrastructures participated during the visits, and took part in the discussions.

At Svartberget, the board visited some key facilities, including Lake Stortjärn which is a part of the SITES Water program, and consequently has been instrumented heavily during the last year. A platform has been constructed on the lake, and a raft for field work as well as gas flux chambers have been installed on the lake. Researchers from different universities use Stortjärn as their main field site, since it has become more logistically available in recent years.

Station manager Jenny Viklund, brought the visitors to Röbäcksdalen research station on a ride alongside some of the experimental fields. As a part of the trip, SITES NordSpec towers and sensors were visited, along with a piece of land where a local entrepreneur will establish an apple orchard in collaboration with the research station, which will be open to researchers before the end of the year. In the distance they could see the harvest of fields used for crop rotation studies in the long term field trials.

Every year, the SITES board has visited two or three field stations during their May and September meetings and this nine stop tour is now complete. Visits at field stations are very important to increase the understanding and knowledge of the daily goings on at the stations. Both individual and common challenges and possibilities are identified during these meetings which is a good base for planning the new application.

Photo by Ida Taberman and Héléne Hagerman

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The Tarfala Lake is one of several objects studied within the SITES water initiative, regarding biogeochemical monitoring of lakes and streams at SITES-field stations. With common practice regarding sampling routines and analytical methods between the stations, a new type of data infrastructure is developed, which provides research opportunities in several unique environments.

The contribution to SITES water from Tarfala is among the more exciting. This spectacular lake is located high up in the Tarfala valley, with direct access to a calving glacier (Kebnepakte), erosion from which was also what originally formed the lake, when the glacier was larger. From summer measurements, the deepest part is 52 meters, and the lake is one of Kalix rivers most important headwaters. With ice thaw in mid-July and ice formation in October, researchers interested in the open water season has a short window for operation.
Sampling for SITES waters monitoring program. Photo by Torbjörn Karlin
Sampling for SITES waters monitoring program. Photo by Torbjörn Karlin
In the light of melting glaciers and a warmer climate, this lake provides unique opportunities to study the development of a lake and it´s ecosystem in a region visibly affected by the changing climate. Changes in biological, chemical and physical parameters in the lake and sediment will all be analyzed.

Initial measurements from this summer indicates that the lake is extremely homogenous regarding conductivity and temperature, at least during summer. Instruments will be mounted and left in the lake during the ice cover period, all this will make it possible to follow variations in certain parameters during the period of ice melt and mixing off the water column, which will take place next summer, says Gunhild Rosqvist.
Sediment coring at Tarfala Lake. Photo by Gunhild Rosqvist
Sediment coring at Tarfala Lake. Photo by Gunhild Rosqvist
Furthermore, a group of Norwegian scientists visited in early September and cored a five meter long sediment sequence from the lake. This sediment core that might even represent many 1000 years of the lake´s history and possible all the way back to the last ice age. Variations of parameters in the sediment can tell us about how glaciers have reacted to previous climate change.

Also, researchers from the Royal institute of Technology (KTH) will come and test their new instrumentation that will examine the bathymetry of the lake. Later on, they will use the robot in fjords at Svalbard.
Panorama of Tarfala Lake. Photo by Torbjörn Karlin
Panorama of Tarfala Lake. Photo by Torbjörn Karlin
The extreme environment in Tarfala has put high demands on security when working at the lake for sampling and measurements. Water temperature reaches a maximum of 5˚C during summer. When sampling at the deepest part of the lake, the shore is at least 300 meters away, says Torbjörn Karlin. To reduce risks with working in cold water, sampling and workdays are always scheduled during days with low wind speed. All sampling can be performed sitting by at least two people, on a stable rubber boat equipped with flotation gear. The boat has a ladder in case a need to quickly climb onboard would arise. There is also one extra boat at shore. Furthermore, a “trip-plan” is filled out prior to departure for any field work at Tarfala Research Station, stating the safety equipment brought along.
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H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf visited Vindeln and Umeå September 1-2. The King participated in an excursion arranged by the research program of Future Forests. 
Future Forests is a cross-discipline research program between researchers at Umeå University, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden and SLU, where SLU act as host. Several questions addressed in the program has been applied to areas and experiments managed by Svartberget and Asa research stations. 
 


The following news articles and videos are only available in Swedish:
Future Forests and news article about the visit
Kungahuset
Västerbottens-kuriren
SVT Västerbottensnytt

Photos by Lars Klingström

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Thomas Stenlund from Malå tells about yearly duties for a reindeer herder to a class of forestry students visiting Svartberget. Photo by Charlotta Ererfur. 

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Uppsala University and the national field station network SITES 
are looking for a research engineer that will work with the new infrastructure project SITES-AquaNET.

The aim of SITES-AquaNET is to establish an experimental infrastructure for mesocosm experiments in lakes and to implement pilot experiments to test how disturbances influences multiple aspects of the stability of plankton communities and ecosystem functions.

Read the Research Engineer´s job description here

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On June 28th, SITES field stations managers gathered for a full day meeting at Alnarp and Lönnstorp hosted by new SITES director Anders Lindroth. Discussions on data handling and the application process regarding the next phase for SITES, was on the agenda. Alex Vermeulen from ICOS (www.icos-sweden.se) gave an introduction to the ICOS carbon portal, and this was discussed as a possible alternative to use for SITES data handling structure. Each station also gave short presentations of their work and projects, focusing on existing SITES-related research, resources and benefits.
SITES station presentations. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
SITES station presentations. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
We also got the opportunity to visit the “SITES Agroecological Field Experiment” at Lönnstorp, with interesting research on future cropping systems. Perennial wheat grass and integrated grain-and-lucerne cultivation are two examples that might be part of a future agriculture.
Visit and presentation of the SAFE infrastructure at Lönnsotrp. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Visit and presentation of the SAFE infrastructure at Lönnsotrp. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Text by Héléne Hagerman
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One of the SITES NordSPEC drones has now had a flight premiere at SITES Lönnstorp. After thorough preparations the drone took off on a planned route over the new SITES Agroecological Field Experiment (SAFE) and other neighbouring trials. The pilot crew Marcin Jackowicz-Korczynski, Per-Ola Olsson, Hongxiao Jin, and Lars Eklundh (Lund University) were satisfied with the flight and will now review the collected data to evaluate the equipment.

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The new long-term trial SITES Agroecological Field Experiment ”SAFE” is now up and running! The trial aims at uniting research in e.g. agronomy and soil science, ecology and agroecology. We now welcome national and international researchers from all disciplines to use the new facility.

More information is found on our webpages www.fieldsites.se or Lönnstorp.

Apply for access via www.nordgis.org

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How would you describe yourself? Who is this Anders Lindroth?
I am researcher in Physical Geography, having my roots in Norrbotten but now living in Skåne. I’m dedicated to contribute to successful models for long-term infrastructures, cooperation and data-sharing in the field of ecosystem and environmental sciences and I am eager to start my new job for SITES!

SITES director Anders Lindroth visiting Erken. Photo by Ida Taberman
SITES director Anders Lindroth visiting Erken. Photo by Ida Taberman

And if you could tell us a little more about your background..?
My journey started in the village Vidsel far up north in Sweden, where I was born and grew up. Close to my home was a Research Nursery for forest plants managed by ‘Skogshögskolan’, and at 18 I got a summer job there. That also gave me the opportunity to meet the forest researchers Gustaf Sirén, Sune Linder, Kurth Perttu among others who some years later when studied IT, math and physics, asked me to start work in a forest ecology project ‘Barrskogslandskapets ekologi’. Looking back, I would say my career in the field of physical geography and ecosystem science started quite much by coincidence, and is very much thanks to a number of unconventional, dynamic professors along the way who could see the potential in people and disciplines outside their own! Erik Eriksson at Uppsala University is one of them, he was the one who offered me to do my Ph D in forest hydrology. Since 1998 I’ve been a professor at Lunds University in this field.

I’ve primarily worked with monitoring and analysis of carbon and water fluxes between soil and atmosphere. One example is the NOPEX project with studies on different types of ecosystems and soils. I’m also proud to have initiated one of the longest CO2 flux monitoring series in the world: since 1994 we have had this running at the same location in Norunda near Uppsala, and now it is included in ICOS, and it will hopefully run for another 20 years.  Data are registered and made available through Fluxnet, that coordinates observations from over 650 sites globally.

Now you’re the new director for SITES. What values do you see with SITES? And what do you think will be your main contribution?
We have not had this type of infrastructure for environmental research in Sweden before, so SITES fills an important role. Many of the field stations within SITES have a long history and can offer qualified service, equipment, high level of academic research and existing data valuable to new research. The financial support from the Swedish Research Council gives the opportunity to develop common infrastructure, sampling protocols and ideas for sharing and using data. 

I hope to contribute with my learnings and experiences from ICOS.  I know that a long-term approach and development of solutions for co-working such as common methods and data sharing are important success factors, and will focus on this. I also hope SITES can benefit from my well-developed network in the field.

Outside work and science, what do you do then?
Right now I’m installing 80 m2 solar panels at home! I have a personal goal of becoming energy-independent and lower my carbon footprint. The climate challenge is a major concern for us all and I think small scale production of solar energy on every roof is one step in the right direction.

Text by Mia Barkland

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27th of April a start meeting for SITES AquaNet was arranged at Erken. With leader PI Helmut Hillebrand along with his co-applicants and potential users they initiated the project by presentations and discussions regarding the workplan for AquaNet as well as sharing learnings and examples of mesocosm studies and equipment alternatives. New SITES manager Anders participated and was introduced and welcomed.

Helmut Hillebrand and the participants at SITES AquaNET start meeting. Phot by Ida Taberman
Helmut Hillebrand and the participants at SITES AquaNET start meeting. Phot by Ida Taberman
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SITES board had two calls with the aim to start new experimental infrastructure. The board decided after an external evaluation to fund three initiatives, SITES-water, SITES AquaNET and SITES Nordspec. They are in many ways new resources to serve the research community and in different stages of implementation.

SITES NordSPEC – Spectral images and information. Leader PI Lars Eklundh, Lund University. Includes eight SITES stations.

SITES-Water – harmonized stream and lake monitoring programs, including gas flux measurements. Leader PI Leif Klemedtsson, University of Gothenburg. Includes six SITES stations.

SITES AquaNet – platform for mesocosm experiments with the possibility to apply different treatments. Leader PI Helmut Hillebrand, Carl-von-Ossietzky University Oldenburg. Includes four SITES stations.

All initiatives are in a planning and or built-up phase at the moment. For SITES-water the programs for stream and lakes running at Skogaryd and Svartberget are already included.

More information will follow, and the initiatives will be presented at SITES new homepage in June 2016.

Are you curious already, contact the leader PI or any of SITES station managers.

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During wind-free days in Tarfala 7-9th of April the station managers and coordination office meet for strategic discussions. It was also the first time the extended secretariat met the station managers.
After a long dag travelling from different parts of our country, by plane, taxi, snow scooter (and a short climbing by foot up a steep hill), we were welcomed by station manager Ninis with staff. In addition to valuable work discussions, there were time for a walk in snow shoes and an evening sauna with beautiful views of the surrounding peaks.

The overall objective for this meeting was to learn and learn each other more about SITES, focusing on what each station can offer and contribute with to the infrastructure. Presentations of SITES Aquanet, SITES Water and SITES Nordspec, as well as discussions regarding data handling and the communication plan was also part of the program.

Text by Mia Barkland

A slideshow from the meeting by Magnus Mossberg is available here.
 

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Between the 5th and 8th of April 2016, Svartberget hosted two training events in building and programming loggers from Campbell scientific. Course leaders were: Peder Blomkvist from the unit for field based forest research at SLU in Umeå, and Per Weslien from the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Gothenburg. 14 people from a number of field stations participated in the course. The course aimed to extend the knowledge for technical staff within SITES and hence extend and facilitate collaboration regarding large scale, continuous automated measurements of environmental variables.

These types of loggers can be used for continuous storage of information of almost any environmental variable within any time-frame as long there are instruments that can do the measurements. During this event, temperature sensors and sensors for water depth and pressure were tested and used as practical examples. Precipitation, wind speed and wind direction were also used as examples of possible measurable variables. As the loggers are adjustable by programming and sensors are available from several different manufactures, it is possible to log almost any kind of environmental data.

The course was informative and relevant, several stations are interested to use or extend their use of loggers for their own experiments. Especially interesting was the functionality to remotely download or view the loggers in real time.

Text and photo by Kim Lindgren

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With four universities and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat as members of SITES there need to be common strategies and routines regarding administrative reporting. The responsible economists were gathered at Erken for a meeting aiming to inform and discuss financial accounting in the light of key figures and business plan monitoring.

Is there anyone here? Twist and turn the stones to find the small animals.
Is there anyone here? Twist and turn the stones to find the small animals.
Identified species on the inventory list are moved to smaller cups.
Identified species on the inventory list are moved to smaller cups.

As an exercise the participants made an inventory of water living animals along two shores of Erken. A challenge for several reasons where strong winds from the north. The groups found for example asellidae, chironomidae och gastropods.

In the cups are diving beetles, chironomidae and gastropods.
In the cups are diving beetles, chironomidae and gastropods.
Participants from all SITES stations attended the meeting at Erken. Here outside the Kallviks house, first used as laboratory at Erken. Photo by Nicole Loginger
Participants from all SITES stations attended the meeting at Erken. Here outside the Kallviks house, first used as laboratory at Erken. Photo by Nicole Loginger
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During March and April the Tarfala Research station opens again. Field crew and data technicians visit the station for inspection and maintenance work after winter´s power with wind, snow, ice and water. Here, the weather station by the summer grazing lands of the Lihti Sami village is visited. Technicians also mount an antenna to the logger for online sending of data.

photo: Gunhild "Ninis" Rosqvist
Follow Tarafala Research station at Facebook

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Elisabeth Backteman, State Secretary for the minister of Rural Affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht has visited the research facilities at SLU in Alnarp. SITES Lönnstorp was included where Maria Ernfors and Erik Rasmusson presented the leaching experiment and the SAFE-project on a walking tour around the fields.

Photo: Linda-Maria Mårtensson

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Changes in climate and land use, such as mining and infrastructure developments, strongly affect the mountain environment in Arctic Sweden and thereby also the conditions for reindeer husbandry.

In this film we show how scientists and indigenous people work together to gather new knowledge that is needed to make decisions in favor of a sustainable future.

Further reading
www.futuremountains.org
English trailer - https://vimeo.com/157316420
English verison - https://vimeo.com/157722976

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Former PhD student and currently research assistant at Erken Yang Yang attended a workshop/training course about a program for phytoplankton counting in Israel earlier this February.
The technique is called 'PlanktoMetric', a system to conduct all steps of conventional microscope-based phytoplankton and zooplankton analyses simultaneously using real-time digital imaging. She also got the opportunity to join their regular Tuesday Dragonboat training in Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).

Course participants, photo unkown
Course participants, photo unkown
Participants practicing, photo by Yang Yang
Participants practicing, photo by Yang Yang
Participants practicing, photo by Yang Yang
Participants practicing, photo by Yang Yang
Dragonboat training, photo by Yang Yang
Dragonboat training, photo by Yang Yang
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Are you or someone you know a suitable candidate? Read more and apply before February 9th. (info only available on swedish).
 
Vill du vara med och utveckla SITES till en ännu bättre infrastruktur?
SITES söker en föreståndare med övergipande vetenskapligt och operativt ansvar för SITES, vilket innebär att leda utvecklingen av infrastrukturen enligt de riktlinjer som fastställs av styrelsen samt anvisningar från SLU.

Föreståndaren ska också arbeta strategiskt i syfte att utveckla SITES till en livskraftig infrastruktur och leda arbetet med att ta fram en förnyad ansökan till VR. I föreståndarens uppgifter ingår att skapa hållbara relationer och att samverka för att upprätthålla och knyta nya kontakter som kan gagna SITES utveckling.

Du som söker ska ha förmåga att utveckla SITES potential och vara frontfigur. Du tänker och arbetar strategiskt, är handlingskraftig och van att leverera resultat av hög kvalitet. Du är förändringsorienterad och har ett kommunikativt ledarskap. Som företrädare för SITES ska du ha god förmåga att skapa hållbara relationer och samverka för att upprätthålla och knyta nya kontakter. Stor vikt kommer att läggas vid personlig lämplighet. Tjänsten omfattar 50%, har placering vid SLU och är tidsbegränsad för två år.

Föreståndaren leder även samordningssekretariatet med sekreterare, ekonom, biträdande föreståndare och systemerare.

Läs hela annonsen här, sista ansökningsdatum är 9 februari 2016.

Välkommen med din ansökan!

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