SITES_bård 160701-4

2016 > 12

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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