SITES_bård 160701-4

2017

28 Swedish and international Ph.D. students spent an autumn week within the Krycklan catchment at Svartberget learning about Watershed Ecology and Biogeochemistry.

This hands-on course addressed many aspects from small scale soil and in stream processes to management of ecosystems at landscape scales. Addressing combined and interlinked questions regarding watershed ecology and biogeochemistry allowed the students to develop their research skills, knowledge about field measurements, scientific presentations and communication.

The coursed ended with the 14th Krycklan symposium where latest research from the catchment and were presented.
Krycklan catchmnet homepage

Photos taken by the student at the course, Meredith Blackburn and Ida Taberman
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From the 3rd to 9th September, a group of young scientists came together for the inaugural Greenhouse Gas Summer School, hosted by Gothenburg University at Skogaryd Research Catchment, Sweden. The course introduced students to state of the art greenhouse gas measurement techniques including several forms of eddy covariance, footprint modelling, chamber measurements and isotopic analysis.
In-depth lectures from leaders in the field were followed by excursions to measurement sites and practical data analysis exercises. The discussions also focused on the importance of site management practices and national greenhouse gas reporting.
With participants representing 10 countries and 11 universities, the course offered a warm and friendly atmosphere for exchanging ideas. Skogaryd Research Catchment, part of SITES, features 5 subsites and pioneering new greenhouse gas measurement techniques. Despite the rain, the course was a resounding success and will be hosted next year by the ClimbEco group at Lund University.
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If you want to run SITES operationally and scientifically in the next phase, we are looking for you! Do you e.g. want to develop SITES and act as SITES front image in the outside world, read the full assignment description for SITES Director (only available in Swedish). If you are interested, apply before November 8th and please help us spread the ad on appropriate networks.

Welcome with your application!
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You study microbial communities living on surfaces of glaciers and have spent time from July to mid-September at Tarfala Research Stations during your field study at the Storeglaciären glacier.

Tell us more about your research project!

Glacial melt is a major 21st century problem. Ice algae (Zygnematophyceae) are exasperating this rate of melt by growing on glacial surfaces. These brown pigmented cells darken the ice, reduce reflectivity, and consequently enhance the amount of solar energy absorbed, which ultimately increases surface melt. Algal cells are living, dynamic systems, which interact with, and react to, their environment. So changes to their physicochemical conditions will likely influence their distribution and function; potentially altering their melt effect. If we are to make robust projections of future glacial melt, then the ecology of these surface ice systems needs to be better understood, so that it can be worked into more advanced surface mass balance models. My research aims to address the current ecological knowledge gap by studying the relationship between the form and function of ice algae and their surrounding climate.
Karen peering into a crevasse which highlights the contrast between dark algal colonized ice on the surface and clear algal-free ice within the fracture. Photo credit Sara Penrhyn Jones.
Karen peering into a crevasse which highlights the contrast between dark algal colonized ice on the surface and clear algal-free ice within the fracture. Photo credit Sara Penrhyn Jones.

Have you results already that you can give a small glints of?

Sadly not! When I work in the field it’s all about collecting snapshots of microbial communities, preserving them in that state as quickly as possible, and storing them in a stable condition until we can transport them home. Not much else can be done in the field for the analyses that we want to pursue. In our home laboratories we have access to equipment that allows us to peer into their molecular biology, providing us with insight into who they are and what they are doing. In the field, the only results we obtain are cell counts; but this shows us very little on its own without parallel data. We do get to see lots of very pretty algal cells when we are counting though!!
Ice algae viewed under a microscope at x10 magnification. A single cell is highlighted by a red circle.
Ice algae viewed under a microscope at x10 magnification. A single cell is highlighted by a red circle.

Why did you come to Tarfala Research Station?

Tarfala was a really great location choice for this project for several reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, anyone who’s spent much time here will know that it can be a very wet and cloudy place. Despite this being a little unpleasant to work in, the long-term project plan is to compare communities sampled from these conditions to other glaciers that typically have more stable weather, so Tarfala was a great natural laboratory for us. Secondly, the proximity of the glacier to the research station really helped us in achieving all our research goals; it meant that even in some of the most horrendous weather it was still possible to head out, take samples and get back to the warmth of the station within three hours. We were also extremely grateful of this short walking distance when we had to haul heavy bit of sampling kit up to the field site! Finally, Tarfala has really fantastic logistical support and facilities. Getting to the research station is relatively simple, and once we were there, the most important part of our research (processing and storing samples) was very easy to do thanks to the space and equipment available.
Karen on her daily walk towards Storeglaciären with Tarfala Research Station in the background. Photo credit Michael Gardner.
Karen on her daily walk towards Storeglaciären with Tarfala Research Station in the background. Photo credit Michael Gardner.

SITES makes a lot of terrestrial and limnologic research infrastructure happen, what has the infrastructure at Tarfala meant to you in your research project?

The SITES infrastructure available in and around Tarfala will undoubtedly be key to the project!! There’s a weather station on Storeglaciären, about 200m from where we were working, that will provide us with all the solar, precipitation and snow depth data that we need. Complementary data from closer to the research station will also be useful to have as a comparison. Any changes in the ecology that we see will be correlated to environmental changes that are measured at these weather stations, so this data will become central to the project as it progresses. In addition, Tarfala boasts a long history of mass balance and climate records from the surrounding area, which is really great for providing foundation knowledge and for obtaining a better understanding of this system.
Karen sampling surface ice communities in early September as the glacier melt slows for the season. Photo credit Michael Gardner.
Karen sampling surface ice communities in early September as the glacier melt slows for the season. Photo credit Michael Gardner.

How long did you stay and how was your time there?

All in all, we were at the station for a little over a month this year, spread across two visits. Our first stint was for all of July. We then returned at the end of August until the beginning of September, for some late season sampling as a comparison. It was a strange year for sampling, with lots of snow persisting late into the year. This snow prevented us from getting on with sampling, so we tried to hurry the melt along by digging down to the ice surface; but this proved to do little other than keep us fit, warm and amused while we waited for the sun to do the job properly!! As soon as the ice surface was naturally revealed we embarked on a non-stop carousel of sampling in the morning, and processing in the afternoons and into the evenings. Thankfully there was always time for a relaxing sauna before bed; which should surely be listed as one of the main reasons we came to Tarfala! We worked really hard this field season, so fingers crossed that we will be rewarded with some great results to match our efforts. You can read more about some of the work and adventures over our 2017 season in our INTERACT blog - Arctic Research.
The project spanning spring, summer and autumn. Left to right: Aliyah Debbonaire shows deep (50-80 cm) snow in early July; summer flowers line the route out of the Tarfala Valley at the end of July; and autumn colors flood the valley floor with dustings of snow on the summits in early September.
The project spanning spring, summer and autumn. Left to right: Aliyah Debbonaire shows deep (50-80 cm) snow in early July; summer flowers line the route out of the Tarfala Valley at the end of July; and autumn colors flood the valley floor with dustings of snow on the summits in early September.
Dr. Karen Cameron
Aberystwyth University
Research project name: CLAIM
Project time: July – September 2017
@KCameronArctic

About Karen Cameron at Aberystwyth University
Karen was interviewed in October 2017 by Ida Taberman. Karen has taken all pictures unless otherwise stated.
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The national research infrastructure SITES will receive further funding from the Swedish Research Council (VR) for five years. This is a very pleasing message, says Anders Lindroth, SITES Director. Final decision regarding the funding will be determined after dialogue between VR, SLU and the consortium. The consortium behind SITES consists of SLU (host), the Polar Research Secretariat, and the universities in Stockholm, Uppsala and Gothenburg.
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Jonathan is SITES newest crew member and will work with SITES data portal in Lund.
This is how he describes himself:
I´m originally from France and have been living in Sweden for four years. Studied computer science and have worked in web and iOS development since graduation in 2010. My interest in the environment got me motivated to join the SITES project. I wanted to use my competences as a programmer to help us understand and work better with the world. The Carbon Portal developed by ICOS will be the basis for the SITES project and I'm looking forward to expand its capabilities to include the different kind of data that SITES will include.
 
Welcome on board to SITES!
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Kim Lindgren has a McS in Biology, has previously worked as a field assistant for Skellefteå municipality and is a proficient computer programmer. Kim works at both Röbäcksdalen and Svartberget since two years and is the initiator of TagTags, the digital field sheet used within SITES.

How is it to work at two field research stations at the same time?

For me personally, I think the biggest advantage is the bigger support network, there is nearly always someone I can ask if I have a question or if there is something I need for my work. Furthermore, the communities at both stations are great and I enjoy working with each and every one. For the stations, the biggest advantage is of course the sharing of knowledge and experience. In many cases, both stations have similar problems and we can develop a solution together instead of wasting resources and creating two separate systems. One example is for sample storage, currently I am working on a sample storage system which should help keep things organized. The project was started at Röbäcksdalen but will definitively be of great use at Svartberget as well, and could hopefully be adopted by other stations! The only negative aspect of working at two stations that I can think of is that it becomes slightly harder to plan my vacation!
Kim sampling for SITES Water in Degernäs creek at Röbäcksdalen. Photo by Tommy Andersson.
Kim sampling for SITES Water in Degernäs creek at Röbäcksdalen. Photo by Tommy Andersson.

Are there similarities and differences between the stations you work at?

I think the biggest difference between the stations is that Svartberget is part of a support unit, while Röbäcksdalen is governed by a department. Essentially, this means that Svartberget is inherently more focused on infrastructure while Röbäcksdalen has a comparatively greater history on meeting demands from the researchers at its department. Since SITES initiation great efforts has been put into equalizing this trend and open up for increased usage from a larger range of ecosystem research. Furthermore, a definite difference between the stations is that Svartberget already has a lot of infrastructure so that, for me, the work is mostly focused on managing the data from these infrastructures, while Röbäcksdalen is in an exciting expansion stage where I get to be a part of developing and governing how data collection should happen from the ground up.

As for similarities, the stations are both very well established within their fields and have very competent staff and a rich and interesting history. Both have very long data-series and experiments which have been running for decades which I think is very important to highlight and preserve!
 
Summer fields at Röbäcksdalen. Photo by Lim Lindgren.
Summer fields at Röbäcksdalen. Photo by Lim Lindgren.

What is your background and how does it influence your work today?

Since I was quite young, I have wanted to be a scientist and an inventor, which put me on track to pursue a career in the academic world. I have always been very broad in my interests, but with a definite focus on science and technology. While I was still in high school I found Linux and the open source movement, which spurred on my interest in programming and fueled my interest in open-access data and transparency within the information industry.

Furthermore, I have been politically involved for a long time and for a while I was the head of the local section of a youth party in Skellefteå, where we lobbied for democracy and equal rights as well as against racism. This has definitively had an effect on my work since I always strive to achieve the highest possible level of transparency in any system I develop. Furthermore, I believe the public sector should embrace open source solutions and open standards to a larger extent.

Beyond this, I have always had a big interest in nature and biology, which led me to take a masters degree in evolutionary ecology. Specifically, I am very interested in how climate change drives selection in plants. I think that this field fits me perfectly since, at least in my opinion, it embraces computational technology to a large extent. This has also definitively affected my work, since I believe it puts me in a relatively unique position of being a developer that understands the needs and thinking of researchers and field technicians. Furthermore, I still have an interest in doing research on evolution and population genetics and perhaps doing a PhD at some point, but in the end my greatest interest rests with the technical aspect of science.
TagTags used in field, pictures from the instruction video.
TagTags used in field, pictures from the instruction video.

Your initiative TagTag has spread across the SITES stations, tell us about the idea and the current status.

I had the idea for an app TagTags several years ago, since I thought that the increased availability of easily portable but still powerful devices like tablets and smartphones could reduce the problem of lost papers and unreadable handwriting, not to mention the hassle of going through historical data which had never been digitized. Eventually, I contacted the Krycklan project and asked if they had any interest in me coming in and working on it, and as it turned out they had already been looking into this type of solution but did not have the time nor experience needed to pursue it. At first we looked at a few alternatives that already existed, but found that they were all either too limited or too complicated for an average user to configure, so I drew up the concept for TagTags and showed it to Peder Blomkvist, who really liked the idea. Initially, I worked on TagTags in my spare time in parallel with another app we were trying at the time, and when it reached a stage when I thought it looked good enough, I showed it to Peder and Hjalmar Laudon and the decision was made to drop the other efforts and instead continue development of TagTags. At the time, I never imagined that it would grow as much as it has now. As for the situation today, I have begun working on TagTags 2.0 in my spare time, which will expand on the concept further, address some of the problems it currently has and introduce a few requested features as well as some really neat and useful new features!
Water sampling from the Kallkälls mire at Svartberget. Photo by Kim Lindgren.
Water sampling from the Kallkälls mire at Svartberget. Photo by Kim Lindgren.

Tell us about your connections and exchange with other stations in SITES

The other station that I have had the most contact with is probably Skogaryd, which was one of the early adopters of TagTags. However, I have also been in contact with Lönnstorp, where we have been discussing data management strategies and shared knowledge and contacts regarding installations for SITES Spectral at the two agricultural stations. Furthermore, we had a TagTags-workshop in Stockholm last December, where I believe all stations were represented. During the workshop it was fun to meet representatives from more stations and get some broader feedback on the app, as well as learn more about the activities within SITES directly from the people involved.

Overall, I think that SITES is excellent in promoting sharing of knowledge and competence, and that it is probably the greatest benefit of taking part in the infrastructure!

Looking ahead, what you want to learn more about and develop in SITES?

Overall, one of the things I would like to see happen in the future is better and more collaboration/exchange between organizations, not only universities but also municipalities and county boards for example. SITES is good at managing data from measurement programs and keeping track of sampling procedures, and if SITES could become a national coordinator for all ecosystem monitoring in Sweden (or maybe even Europe?!) and organize data from all of these initiatives, I think that would be of awesome benefit for all of society.

Furthermore, I would love to see SITES grow to include organizations that are seated outside of Sweden as well! Whatever happens in the future, I hope I will get the opportunity to take part in shaping it.
Kim Lindgren was interviewed by Ida Taberman in August 2017
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Tarfala Research Station opened after midsummer. As the season is short but fast, much activities, research and measurements are to be done before closing again.

Last week the NDVI masts were mounted in Laevasvagge again, accompanied by the first flight with the UAWs in SITES Spectral.

Photos by Niklas Rakos
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Listen to SITES AquaNet´s Coordinator Pablo Urrutia Cordeo describing how the infrastructure of SITES AquaNet are available for researchers.

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In Asa we have now finished the building of the dam wall in the inlet to Feresjön. It was not easy! First the construction was stopped by the winter and later the spring flood, but as you can see on the picture it is now ready for use and we have started measuring. The critical reader might say that the construction looks somewhat crooked or even unstable, but that is what you get when you build directly on top of the granite of Småland, and we promise that it is both very stable and waterproof.
Since the dam is located on private land we first did not know of its existence. Its location is a place with local history. The whole dam construction was built to run a sawmill many years ago. The only thing missing was the construction to control the water flow; a construction that was located on the exact same spot where we now have our v-notch weir. Also, the new wall is fixed to an oak beam from the original construction that is still in the water. The foundation of the sawmill is still to be found close to the dam (picture below), and according to the owner of the forest there are also still old iron rails which was used to transport the timber down to Asa. Unfortunately we have not found them, yet.
Text and photos by Niels Aagaard Jakobsen

More informaiton about SITES Water can be found here
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Are you hiking in Abisko this summer, then you can take part in a citizen science project that will track plant phenology along an alpine hillslope of Nuolja. One hundred years ago pioneering botanist Thore C. E. Fries walked in the same area recording the date of snowmelt and tracked the phenology of 150 species of plants. There is still a lot snow on the slope but it is melting fast and many plants have started to develop their leaves.
 
Come join us for the inauguration of the trail and the new citizen science app on 27-28 June. Even if you cannot make it then you can participate anytime this summer!

Link to press invite.
Map of the Fries Phenology Transect along Nuolja.
Map of the Fries Phenology Transect along Nuolja.
Pyrola rotundifolia leave out on slopes of Nuolja. Photo by Keith Larson
Pyrola rotundifolia leave out on slopes of Nuolja. Photo by Keith Larson
Keith Larson standing in the footsteps of Thore C. E. Fries. Photo by Sieglinde Kundisch
Keith Larson standing in the footsteps of Thore C. E. Fries. Photo by Sieglinde Kundisch
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In December 2016 European Research Council (ERC) announced the consolidator grants and David Bastviken with colleagues was successful in receiving 2 million euros during five years. Here, David describes the missing jigsaw pieces in the methane puzzle that has become the METLAKE project and how SITES will be involved.  

So, David, congratulations but what is METLAKE?

David Bastviken at Linköping University, responsible of the consolidator grant METLAKE funded by the European Research Council. Photo by Peter Modin. David Bastviken at Linköping University, responsible of the consolidator grant METLAKE funded by the European Research Council. Photo by Peter Modin.
It is a research project aiming to improve our ability to quantify and predict methane emissions from lakes (the full title is “Predicting future methane fluxes from northern lakes”).

Methane is an important greenhouse gas but we do still not understand how its abundance in the atmosphere is regulated. Lakes were recently identified to be among the largest natural methane sources but our understanding of lake methane fluxes is still rudimentary, and these emissions are not yet routinely monitored. Therefore coherent, spatially representative, long-term datasets are rare which hamper accurate flux estimates and predictions.
Tower for measurements of gas fluxes over a lake at Skogaryd, a much more challenging task than anticipated. Improved methods and models of methane fluxes from lakes are one goal of METLAKE. To achieve that, SITES and SITES Water measurement programs for background physical and chemical variables will be used.
Tower for measurements of gas fluxes over a lake at Skogaryd, a much more challenging task than anticipated. Improved methods and models of methane fluxes from lakes are one goal of METLAKE. To achieve that, SITES and SITES Water measurement programs for background physical and chemical variables will be used.

Tell us about the goals of METLAKE

Overall, the aim is to much better understand one of the largest natural methane sources, and develop systematic and validated tools to predict future lake emissions, targeting the lake-rich northern latitudes where large climate changes are anticipated in the near future.

The foundation for the whole project is to generate more representative methane flux measurements. This is a fundamental challenge and relies on extensive field work with a combination of established and new approaches. In addition measurements of a large number of potentially related environmental variables are needed.

Another part of the project focuses on revealing and quantifying how lake methane emissions are regulated at multiple scales. This part includes combinations of high-frequency field data and experiments.

After building an extensive and representative dataset we will develop predictive models, validated by the field data. In this work we will test the idea that appropriate consideration of spatiotemporal scaling can greatly facilitate generation of accurate yet simple models of lake methane fluxes.  

Above you mentioned that our understanding of lake methane fluxes is still rudimentary. How does that relate to the development of METLAKE?

The METLAKE ideas have developed over a long time from experiences of measuring greenhouse gas fluxes. It was early on clear that the measurements done with established methods and with normal project funding have severe limitations – it was often not possible to representatively cover and understand the variability in the fluxes from lakes.

This makes the large-scale flux assessments so far very uncertain, in turn fueling efforts to develop measurement approaches that would be more effective in generating representative data. Method development is often very time consuming, costly, and can be difficult to fund (by not being hypotheses-driven in the way asked for in most current calls for funding), but it is critical for scientific progress. So, now after years of struggles together with fantastic co-workers we are really happy for METLAKE, providing the funding needed to fully test the project ideas and apply our new measurement approaches.
Work in previous projects has added up to the ideas of METLAKE. Photo by Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu.
Work in previous projects has added up to the ideas of METLAKE. Photo by Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu.

Describe the challenges of METLAKE

One of the biggest challenges in projects aiming for understanding regulation, and making large-scale assessments of environmental processes, are the amounts of measurements and data needed. While the measurements of the dependent variables (the variables in focus – here the methane fluxes) are often covered in project budgets, it is almost impossible to adequately cover of all the important background ecosystem variables at the frequency needed. Importantly this problem also regards know-how. High-quality measurements require a lot of measurement-specific knowledge, and building small project teams having enough knowledge to produce high-quality data for all variables needed is a real challenge. This is one reason why the strong links between METLAKE and SITES Water are critical.

Tell us more about the relation between METLAKE and SITES and why will you use SITES?

METLAKE will be strongly liked to all SITES stations were lake studies are included. Activities are so far planned at the following stations from North to South: Abisko, Krycklan within Svartberget, Erken, Skogaryd and Asa. I hope for a very close collaboration where the METLAKE and the SITES Water measurements are supplementing each other and can be fully integrated to address the project questions.

Regarding the question “why will you use SITES?”: I do not think there is any similar infrastructure in the world that can offer as good access, background data, and know-how support to ecosystem oriented projects at multiple stations in different types of environments and along a latitudinal and climate gradient, so SITES Water is really the best available infrastructure for METLAKE I am aware of. The development of SITES Water therefore had a major influence on the feasibility of METLAKE.
Lake Stortjärn at Svartberget and SITES Water platform with measurement programs for background physical and chemical variables e.g. temperature, oxygen levels and pH, that are essential background parameters for METLAKE.
Lake Stortjärn at Svartberget and SITES Water platform with measurement programs for background physical and chemical variables e.g. temperature, oxygen levels and pH, that are essential background parameters for METLAKE.

You are also co-applicant involved in the Knut and Alice Wallenberg project – Climate Effects on Northern Lake Ecosystems, how does that project relate to METLAKE?

While METLAKE focus on developing predictive models for methane emissions from lakes, the KAW project has a much broader scope looking at how climate change can affect lake ecosystems from various perspectives.

ERC Consolidator grants are rewarded to all research topics; economy, social and environmental science and so forth. From 2013-2016 ERC has rewarded 35 out of 1170 projects to researchers in Sweden. During 2016´s round, four Swedish projects received funding out of the 183 projects in total. How does it feel to receive an ERC Consolidator grant?

It feels fantastic to get this chance to realize a project that I felt was needed for a long time, and that did not fit within the normal funding frameworks. It is important to thank all who made this possible, including all fantastic collaborators and co-workers in the project and over the years, all who have supported our work so far, and all persons who have worked and works hard creating possibilities for research and doing scientific community service in various ways. Importantly I am also tremendously grateful for the support for all extra work hours from my family.

The grant was announced in December 2016, how far into planning and preparations are you?

METLAKE officially started April 1, 2017 and runs until March 2022. We are now in the team recruitment and preparation phase. The most intensive field work will take place during 2018-2020.

Thank you David and SITES wish you congratulations and good luck with the jigsaw pieces of METELAKE adding up to the methane puzzle.
Good to know and read more box:
Contact David Bastviken at david.bastviken@liu.se

ERC - ERC consolidator grant are for young scientists who wants to consolidate their independence by establishing a research team and continuing to develop a success career in Europe. Also scientists who recently created an independent, excellent research team and want to strengthen it can apply.

SITES Water – Integration facility in SITES that build a long-term and well-coordinated measurement program for hydrological, physical, chemical and biological parameters in lakes and streams.

Climate Effects on Northern Lake Ecosystems – Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation research project
David Bastviken was interviewed by Ida Taberman in May 2017.
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Who are you and what are you doing at the moment?

I am Stephania Zabala. I am finalizing an Erasmus Mundus joint European Master of Science (MSc) Course in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management (GEM).

At the moment, I am working in my MSc thesis that it is about comparing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Sentinel-2A satellite imagery for crop type mapping at the plot level. For this we have been flying over the experimental plots, located in Lönnstorp station, to collect imagery with a quadcopter carrying three cameras. The advantage of Lönnstorp station is that it has strong ground truth data, which is of high value for my research. 

My supervisor is David E. Tenenbaum and I work in collaboration with Per-Ola Olsson and Ximena Tagle from Lund University, and Ryan Davidson and Erik Rasmusson from SITES.
Stephania (left) and Ximena (right) with all the equipment, ready to go to the field. Photo by Miguel Castro.
Stephania (left) and Ximena (right) with all the equipment, ready to go to the field. Photo by Miguel Castro.

What exactly are you doing?

I am using MicaSense RedEdge multispectral camera and I am working with raw images with digital numbers (DN) and radiometrically calibrated images with reflectances values to examine their relationship with atmospherically corrected Sentinel-2A imagery. Both sensors have very well corresponding central wavelengths, although MicaSense RedEdge bandwidths are narrower than those of Sentinel-2A.

In addition, I am investigating how well vegetation indices derived from both sensors, such as NDVI, EVI and GCC, correlate. The idea is to find out the degree to which UAV imagery can complement or replace satellite imagery when this is unavailable due to cloud-cover or it is insufficient for specific applications like phenology. Sweden is a cloud-prone landscape so combining data from different sensors is a way to overcome this limitation, but first we must validate the data before making detailed analysis.

I am also exploring an annual time-series of Sentinel-2A NDVI data to assess its potential to capture the seasonal variation of the crops in Lönnstorp. All of this in the context of providing data and information for Precision Agriculture practices for food security policies.
UAV flying over fields and reflectance panels on March 13th 2017. Image taken from the Sony camera on-board of the UAV.
UAV flying over fields and reflectance panels on March 13th 2017. Image taken from the Sony camera on-board of the UAV.

How should these sensors be used further on?

Both UAVs and Sentinel-2A sensors are very promising. Improvements in spatial and temporal resolutions, together with a good combination of spectral bands provide the opportunity to monitor crops closely and in detail. However, for some applications the usefulness of UAVs is hindered by their relative low area coverage per flight, yet we expect that UAV data could be very useful for up-scaling measurements on a larger scale, if we consider with care the dissimilarities that may arise due to factor such as differences in image timing, differences in the sensitivity of the sensors, varying atmospheric conditions and others.

Finally, anything more to add?

I find remote sensing technologies very fascinating as they provide endless possibilities to tackle worldwide environmental problems and more! I am particularly interested in agriculture, in ways to maximize crop production and land use efficiency, while minimizing environmental impacts related to food production. Before, data availability was an issue, now we have freely available data covering the whole planet, plus long historical records that allow us to detect changes and plan our future accordingly. I say - hands-on!
Experimental plots in Lönnstorp. Image taken from the Sony camera on-board of the UAV.
Experimental plots in Lönnstorp. Image taken from the Sony camera on-board of the UAV.
Explorian in action. Photo by Stephania Zabala.
Explorian in action. Photo by Stephania Zabala.
Thanks for this insight Stephania and SITES wish you good luck with the MSc thesis!
Stephania Zabala and Ximena Tagles MSc projects are part of the integrating facility SITES Spectral.

Both Ximena and Stephanias MSc Projects are part of the EU Erasmus program in Environmental Modelling and Management (GEM).
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One hundred years ago, Swedish botanist Thore C. E. Fries conducted a study of snowmelt dates and plant phenology in the relatively new Abisko National Park (established 1909). His study took place along a transect from the bottom to the summit of Mt. Nuolja. As he hiked up and down the mountain some 150 times during the three years of the study, he probably could not imagine how important his study would be a hundred years later.

The mountain Nuolja in winter. Note that the tree line has shifted upwards. Photo Credit: black-and-white  C. G. Alm 28 February 1921 and the colour photo Oliver Wright 28 February 2017 (copyright Oliver Wright 2017). Photp from Umeå Univsersity press release.
The mountain Nuolja in winter. Note that the tree line has shifted upwards. Photo Credit: black-and-white C. G. Alm 28 February 1921 and the colour photo Oliver Wright 28 February 2017 (copyright Oliver Wright 2017). Photp from Umeå Univsersity press release.

CIRC researchers, in collaboration with the Abisko Scientific Research Station, Swedish Phenology Network, and Naturum Abisko, will re-establish the transect in 2017 and replicate the study over the next three years.

Aided by a new smart phone app being developed by the Swedish Phenology Network, the public will be able to hike the transect and collect data. Along the way, they will be presented with the knowledge and tools to understand how we conduct our research and be able to compare the results immediately with the original study in 1917–1919 tells Keith Larson.

Interested in doing science a favour?
Interested members of the public are encouraged to contact researchers at AbiskoCitizenScience@gmail.com

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The research station is equipped with all our needs, from field equipment to modern labs and instruments, and is the basis for every day to day work - Gerard Rocher Ros
PhD student Gerard Rocher Ros has described the benefits of teaching intertwined with research at a national research infrastructure.

Read his full blog post here
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What are you doing at the moment?

I am working on my MSc thesis. It is about radiometric calibration of UAV images for vegetation mapping.

My supervisor is Lars Eklundh. I work in collaboration with Per-Ola Olsson, Hongxiao Jin and Stephania Zabala. We are part of the Remote Sensing group at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES) in Lund University.
Fig. 1.  Stephania (left) and Ximena (right) with all the equipment, ready to go to the field. Photo by Miguel Castro.
Fig. 1. Stephania (left) and Ximena (right) with all the equipment, ready to go to the field. Photo by Miguel Castro.
Fig 2. The camera calibration starts on the roof of the department. Close pictures of reflective targets and other features, as vegetation, are taken. Right after the picture, the reflectance is measured with the spectrometer. Photo by Ximena Tagle.
Fig 2. The camera calibration starts on the roof of the department. Close pictures of reflective targets and other features, as vegetation, are taken. Right after the picture, the reflectance is measured with the spectrometer. Photo by Ximena Tagle.

What exactly are you doing when calibrating?

I am trying to reduce radiometric issues when processing UAV imagery from a multispectral camera. I chose to work with the Micasense Redge camera. The aim is to obtain quite homogeneous orthomosaics in relation to the light variation. In addition, I am studying the relationship between reflectance values at the ground, and the Digital Numbers (DN) from the camera in order to provide orthomosaics with reflectance values.

For this purpose, on each mission we get data from a downwelling light sensor (DLS) that provides irradiance at the sensor; irradiance measurements from a spectrometer located on the ground; and PAR data from the Eddie covariance tower located at the site. With this data, I am trying to remove light variation among images. After this task, I am performing a normalization of the images (histogram matching).

Regarding the reflectance relationship, I use an ASD spectroradiometer to measure the reflectance of three near Lambertian reflective targets and other features as bare soil, vegetation and water. The reflective targets are used to calibrate the model, and the other features are used for the validation of the model.

Once the images are calibrated, the orthomosaic is produced. Orthomosaics are generated from several images that overlap, using the Structure from Motion (SfM) technique.
Fig. 3. Calibration of the Downwelling Light sensor at Lönnstorp. Per-Ola had to rotate the UAV in different ways according to the Micasense application (connected via WIFi to the cellphone). Photo by Ximena Tagle.
Fig. 3. Calibration of the Downwelling Light sensor at Lönnstorp. Per-Ola had to rotate the UAV in different ways according to the Micasense application (connected via WIFi to the cellphone). Photo by Ximena Tagle.

How should this information be used further on?

The Explorian UAV (the biggest UAV we have now), has a Sony RGB camera, a multispectral camera (Micasense Rededge) and a thermal camera (FLIR). They will be used together to study the influence of spatial heterogeneity and temporal variations of vegetation and land surface on ecosystem carbon fluxes. The idea is to upscale data from the flux towers to a landscape level using spectral indices derived from remotely sensed data. In order to do this, it is recommended to work with homogeneous orthomosaics adjusted with the reflectance values, the tasks I am working with at the moment.
Fig. 4. a) UAV flying over the reflective targets at Lönnstorp. b) Picture of the targets from the UAV. Photo by Ximena Tagle.
Fig. 4. a) UAV flying over the reflective targets at Lönnstorp. b) Picture of the targets from the UAV. Photo by Ximena Tagle.

Tell us about yourself!

I am Ximena Tagle. I work at the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon, at the program of Forest management and environmental services. I am doing my MSc thesis to obtain a degree in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management (GEM).
Fig. 5. (Me) connecting the spectrometer for its calibration with the spectralon (white circle in the picture) before the measurements. Behind it can be seen the Explorian UAV. Photo by Miguel Castro.
Fig. 5. (Me) connecting the spectrometer for its calibration with the spectralon (white circle in the picture) before the measurements. Behind it can be seen the Explorian UAV. Photo by Miguel Castro.

Finally, anything more to add?

This task is very interesting because it is a new topic, so we are having challenges most of the time. We have to be creative to solve different issues. We have to be persistent as well. I find inspiration when we attend conferences or workshops, and there are people who are studying similar issues and we can discuss new solutions; we are learning all the time! This field is developing so fast that you must try to keep track of the innovations.
Fig. 6. The Explorian 8 UAV. Photo by Ximena Tagle.
Fig. 6. The Explorian 8 UAV. Photo by Ximena Tagle.

Thanks for this insight Ximena and SITES wish you good luck with the MSc thesis!

Stephania Zabala and Ximena Tagles MSc projects are part of the integrating facility SITES Spectral.

Both Ximena and Stephanias MSc Projects are part of the EU Erasmus program in Environmental Modelling and Management (GEM).
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Grimsö is unique as a centre for wildlife ecology studies in Sweden. Results from the annual and long-term monitoring of wildlife species are transferred to knowledge and used in research and natural resource management. SITES have spoken to three key persons and asked them about the environmental monitoring, inventories and research about small rodents. Let’s meet, Gunnar Jansson, Frauke Ecke and Petter Kjellander.

Two times every year Grimsö set up and perform the small rodent survey, in May and September. This monitoring series is one of nineteen at Grimsö, where the others focus e.g. moose, fox and starling. This year, 2017, is the 45th year in a row with this small rodent survey, which includes voles, mice and shrews. The larger rodents, beaver, hare and rabbit are not included in this inventory.

Gunnar Jansson is a researcher and coordinates SITES operations at Grimsö. He explains that the purpose of the inventories is to follow the population dynamics of the small rodents, which is a key factor in Scandinavian ecosystems as voles indirectly influence ups and downs in several other species populations.
In the long run, years with many voles (population peaks) are also reflected in the fox population, during the same and the following year. In general there is also a nice correlation with the dynamics of the mountain hare. When the quite easily caught voles are abundant, fox predation on other species like the capercaillie, black grouse and hares are reduced. Thus, a vole peak year favors many other small game species.
Vole photographed by Rolf Sagerstedt
Vole photographed by Rolf Sagerstedt

How is the inventory operated?

Gunnar Janson says that the survey is designed to represent the whole research area, 13000 ha. Traps (50 per plot) are placed in 20 systematically distributed plots of 1 ha each. In total, the 1000 traps are out during three days per season and are checked, and if necessary recharged, every day.

In Sweden there are several different species of small rodents. At Grimsö commonly four-five species are found and the bank vole dominates in numbers before field voles and mice species. The Vole Index, in total and for each species are presented as Catches/100 trap nights.

The national inventory of small rodents

The survey at Grimsö´s constitute along with several other locations in Sweden the sampling areas in the national environmental monitoring program of small rodents. The program is part of SLUs assignment within environmental monitoring and assessment (Foma), where Frauke Ecke at SLU in Umeå is the coordinator.

The inventory at Grimsö represents the Bergslagen region, and another location is for example Vindeln, nearby Svartberget, where the monitoring series of voles started in 1971 with 58 permanent catch plots. In addition, monitoring in the mountain region has run since 1995 in Ammarnäs with 44 catch plots and since 2001 in Vålådalen/Ljungdalen with 42 catch plots and Stora Sjöfallet with 41 catch plots.

Despite the geographical distance there are many similarities between the vole population dynamics in Grimsö and Vindeln, both regarding the cycles and the density says Frauke Ecke. Both these areas are characterized by decreasing densities primarily of field voles from 1990 until 2010, whereas the mountain areas still have large population fluctuations.

”Vole-years” occurs from time to time, what does that mean and what causes the phenomenon?

Generally we divide the population dynamic in low, in-between and peak years, so called “vole-years”, and the later ones are nowadays rare in southern and middle Sweden. However, the vole population is still cyclic in the Berslagen region but at lower densities, hence less distances between low and peak years compared to the 1970-80; ies says Frauke Ecke.

The occurrence of peak “vole-years” depends most likely on several factors that need to coincide. Overall however, it seems that winters with a lot of snow and extended snow cover provide good opportunities for voles. This might give the voles favorable conditions to hide under the snow from predators, easier access to food and they may thus reproduce almost all year around, or at least start the reproduction earlier compared to seasons with less favorable winter conditions. After a winter with a lot of snow you can expect to find more voles in the landscape.

The most recent peak years at Grimsö were 2005, 2010 and 2014, but the fluctuations show a general decrease in recent decades, says Gunnar Jansson. In the period 1988-98 (of which the first five winters can be classified as "green") Grimsö had e.g. only one medium year, otherwise very low records. The reason for why years with strong peaks have become increasingly rare in Götaland and Svealand, is generally assumed to be linked to the milder winters.

With voles comes vole fever - or?

Vole fever is acknowledged in media at times, mainly during the spring, when the garden should be cleaned, the firewood handled and so on. Vole fever belongs to the category of zoonoses, i.e. diseases carried and spread by animals to humans, a growing research topic in recent years. Both in Sweden and internationally, and an area where Frauke Ecke is active. Vole fever is caused by Puumala virus (PUUV) which has voles as its single host species. In a research project Frauke Ecke lead, voles from bio-banks caught within the national environmental monitoring in the Vindeln area was examined.
The study showed that the proportion PUUV infected animals is directly linked to the number of voles, so with more voles you have more PUUV infected animals. Moreover, it seems as a species rich small mammal fauna and presence of vole predators can counteract PUUV infection among voles. But, for still unknown reasons, the disease in humans seems to be most common in the four northernmost counties of Sweden, even though voles are common species throughout Sweden explains Frauke Ecke.

More research on voles - needs and use of data

Petter Kjellanders´ research is also linked to zoonoses and epizooties (animal diseases), the latter involves infectious diseases that may constitute a serious threat to human or animal health. From the catches made at Grimsö tissue samples of the brain, heart, lung and spleen of rodents are taken. These samples are analyzed for any tick-borne pathogens, such as Borrelia, Anaplasma and TBE-virus. Furthermore, the rodents are checked for ticks they may carry and such ticks are then analyzed for the same pathogens. Right now, the main interest is to investigate the importance of rodents for the ticks to spread Borrelia diseases. That is, is the abundance of ticks and Lyme disease prevalence in an area affected by if it is a low or peak year among rodents?

Predictions of the future population trends of voles are also important for e.g. the forestry, where especially the field vole may be a major problem in young tree plantations. These forecasts can be obtained thanks to the long-term data series collected within the national environmental monitoring.

Data from our national monitoring of small rodents have also been used internationally for various comparative studies. It has for example been shown that the prolonged decreasing of primarily Grey red-backed voles, a vole sub-species, and field voles coincides with the long-term decline in voles in other parts of Europe.

The 44th and the now approaching 45th year of the small rodent inventory

The spring 2016 showed low numbers of small rodents in Bergslagen, with a total Vole Index of  0.6 catches / 100 trap nights. In the autumn, however, it was a really good peak with 4.98 catches / 100 trap nights.

The results until the 44th season is compiled as population dynamics data freely available via Grimsö wildlife research station or SITES website. In May 2017 a new inventory round starts!
Contact:
Gunnar Jansson, Researcher and coordinator of SITES Grimsö
 
Frauke Ecke, Coordinator of the national environmental monitoring and assessment program of small rodents, located at SLU in Umeå.
 
Petter Kjellander, Professor in wildlife ecology at SLU, Grimsö Research Station.
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All SITES stations participating in SITES AquaNet meet at Erken for three days to fine tune preparations for the test experiments starting in a few weeks at each station. 

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SAFE, SITES Agroecological Field Experiment, initiated during 2016-2017, builds a unique field facility where entire agroecosystems can be studied. SAFE builds on four agroecosystems representing different cropping systems; a reference system, an organic system, a perennial system and an agroecologically intensified system. A monitoring program runs for levels and quality of yields, soil nutrient status, and soil moisture and temperature along with spectral measurements (NDVI). In this facility SITES can provide data and infrastructure for researchers to address a broad range of scientific questions and disciplines relevant for the scientific community related to ecosystem services. 
At Lönnstorp 14 ha on the most fertile agricultural land in Sweden has been divided into four blocks of cropping systems, creating the SAFE facility (Figure 1). The large area of SAFE allow large agroecosystem representation and possibilities for sub-plots with additional experiments or temporary treatments available for researchers to use in science.

Background on cropping systems and the idea of SAFE
All crops have different nutrient uptake mechanisms and different growth patterns, such as root architecture, developmental stages with different timing and different resistance for pathogens - factors that builds the foundations of cropping systems. A cropping system is defined as an ecosystem where cropping activities are done. A cropping system could be a crop rotation, where a sequence of crops grow one every year on each field or intercrops, where two or more crops in the same field at the same time are rotated to better use the soil resources and reduce success of pathogens.

Crop rotations with annual crops are common in Sweden. The related agricultural management of such systems however include practices with intensive soil disturbance which lead to loss of soil organic matter and nutrients, as well as loss of small mineral soil particles. To control pathogens outbreaks pesticides can be used too.

In the effort of developing a more sustainable agriculture SAFE was initiated as a test-base for other agricultural practices and cropping systems e.g. to include perennial plants that could protect the soils from eroding, and increase the biodiversity by creating more biologically complex systems.

Perennial crops do not need to be re-sown or tilled/ploughed every year, they also provide habitats for possibly beneficial animals, which can e.g. predate on pathogenic organisms. Perennial crops are also expected to better sequester carbon into the soil, since the roots are sustained in the system the whole year as well as year after year. The use of perennial arable crops is a highly innovative method and breeding processes are running in many parts of the world. SITES Lönnstorp cooperate with the Land Institute in Kansas, US, who is one of the leading institutions for this work. At Lönnstorp, the perennial cereal Kernza© is used as a model for perennial cereals and the agroecological implications of this type of crop are studied in the Perennial system.

Other perennials, such as fruit and nut trees, as well as different shrubs, has earlier occurred in the landscape in field borders, field islets, and close to farm buildings. In SAFE these perennials are reintroduced and incorporated in a structured way into the agricultural intensified cropping system, the Agroecologically Intensified system.

Crops host different pathogens and diversified cropping systems could lead to lower success of pathogens, that is, the host specific pathogens will suffer from not having its host in its habitat (in crop rotations) or its host is intermixed with barriers (intercropping). The population of the pathogen will not thrive, which in turn means that both the population growth of the pathogen and the damage to the host crop will be suppressed.

The management elements of rotations, intercrops and perennials are all provided and mixed in SAFE. Contemporary agroecosystems are included as well as potential cropping systems for the future, with the perennial cereal Kernza© and the structurally and functionally diverse crop rotation with shrubs and apple trees. SAFE also includes cover crops to reduce erosion and nutrient leaching as well as adding to the soil organic matter. All cropping systems and sub-plots, except one sub-plot, in the entire SAFE facility are covered every winter.
Figur 1. The SITES Agroecological Field Experiment (SAFE) with the four agroecosystems which are replicated in four blocks (A-D).
Figur 1. The SITES Agroecological Field Experiment (SAFE) with the four agroecosystems which are replicated in four blocks (A-D).
Components in SAFE
The entire SAFE consists of four cropping systems, described below and they are replicated in four blocks (Figure 1). The cropping systems run and are managed accordingly agricultural practice year around.

The Reference System (REF): corresponds to contemporary conventional crop rotation, typical for the region and includes autumn-sown oilseed rape, wheat, and sugar beet, followed by spring barley sowed with grass-legume ley which continue as a cover crop during winter after the barley has been harvested. In the reference system, all four main crops are represented every year in four sub-plots in each block. In the reference system, either the main crop is sown in the autumn or a cover crop is established, except for after sugar beet, which is harvested too late. Therefore, only one crop in the rotation is followed by bare soil during winter.
 
The Organic System (ORG): corresponds to contemporary organically certified crop rotation, typical for the region. The organic system includes two intercrops. The rotation includes spring barley-lupine intercrop; winter rye sown with grass-legume ley (functions as cover crop two winters and as main crop the summer in between; beetroot; phacelia (functions as cover crop); faba bean-spring wheat intercrop, winter oilseed rape, winter wheat in-sown with grass-legume ley (functions as cover crop two winters and as and main crop the summer in between). In the organic system, four of the main crops are represented every year in four sub-plots in each block. In the organic system, the soil is covered every winter, either by autumn sown crop or cover crop.
 
The Perennial System (PER): has perennial wheat grass Kernza© as a model for future perennial cereal crops and is grown with and without the legume Medicago sativa (lucerne). The perennial system differs from the other agroecosystems in SAFE primarily in its perennial feature and the following lower management intensity needed. This perennial system only needs soil preparation the first year of establishment, it is only cut to suppress weeds one or two times in the season, and is fertilized to lower extent (with biofertilisers) due to that roots are expected to reach nutrients to a larger depth than annual crops. No pesticides or mineral fertilisers are used in the perennial system.
 
The Agroecologically Intensified System (AI): follows the crop rotation in the organic system but with a mixture of phacelia and oil radish as cover crop after beetroot and a cultivar mix of winter wheat for increased diversity, as well as a grass-legume mixture with higher diversity than in the organic system. In the AI system, linear elements (strips) with perennial shrubs (several species as wind breaks) and trees (apple trees) add to the structural and functional diversity of the system, and are planted to fit the machine park at Lönnstorp in order to design a system that allow for rational management. In the AI system one main crop is represented, together with the perennial and structural elements, each year in each block.
Demonstration of SAFE. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Demonstration of SAFE. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Relevant research fields
The SAFE field facility can be used to address questions in the topics of e.g. agronomy, agroecology, economy, ecology and landscape research. The facility is important for studies of sustainability, climate change, environment, and resilience and facilitates new and existing cooperation between researchers. SAFE is also a convenient meeting place, for demonstration and education activities.
Researchers can perform studies using the plots and establish minor experiments within the experiment. It is possible to focus particular parts of the systems, analyze an entire system or use several or all of the systems for comparative studies.
 
Examples of research projects that will use SAFE:
Nutrient efficiency in different agroecosystems.
Biological control or occurrence of beneficial organisms in different agroecosystem.
Occurrence of pollinators in different agroecosystems.
Climate change manipulations in sub-plots of the facility.
Short- and long-term changes in soil quality in different agroecosystems.
Intercropping of perennial Kernza© and lucern in SAFE. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Intercropping of perennial Kernza© and lucern in SAFE. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
SAFE monitoring program
The levels (dry weight of seeds and straw, or root and leaves for sugar beet and beetroot) and quality of yields (N and C content) are recorded annually in each sub-plot for each crop. Soil nutrient status (total soil N, P and C) are recorded at three depths (0-30, 30-60, and 60-90 cm) over the growing season every second year in each sub-plot. Soil moisture and temperature (at 3 cm depth) are recoded hourly over the growing season in each sub-plot. In block A, spectral measurements (NDVI) are done continuously over the whole year in both sub-plots of the perennial system and in the annual wheat in the reference system for SITES Spectral.

At the establishment of SAFE, soil biological, physical and chemical characterization was done. The biological characterization covered earthworms, mites, collembola and nematodes. The physical parameters covered clay, silt, sand and organic matter content (soil texture). The chemical covered soil pH, total N, P, and C; soluble P, K, Na, Ca, and Mg. For more details see the interactive map or contact any of station managers.  
Get in contact with SAFE
To access data or get information about SAFE please contact station managers Erik Steen Jensen or Linda-Maria Mårtensson. To view SAFE measurement program (parameters, types and instrumentation etc.) please survey this mapErik Rasmusson, Ryan Davidson, or William English can also assist regarding questions about SAFE.
 
How was SAFE initiated?

SAFE has been designed and developed from discussions with stakeholders, research colleagues in several disciplines, farmers, advisors and authorities. The buildup of a facility like SAFE is valuable to study and evaluate potential cropping systems for the future and the effects on the environment.  
 
Interconnections to SITES Spectral
One stationary mast with spectral sensors in the perennial system and one mobile mast follow the winter wheat in the REF system for comparison (with the perennial) are Lönnstorp part of the SITES Spectral integrating facility, two green dots in block A Figure 1. The SITES Spectral facility can be used to study water holding capacity, wind caused droughts, pathogens etc. More about SITES Spectral.

SAFE Brochure
SAFE at Lönnstorp homepage
Kernza©  in SAFE before harvest 2016. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
Kernza© in SAFE before harvest 2016. Photo by Hélène Hagerman
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During April and May 2017 are a group of students in Abisko to study arctic geoekologi. The course is given by Umeå University and tend to attract several international students.

Maria Myrstener and Gerard Rocher Ros, both of which are graduate students in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University blogs about his time in Abisko and the student projects assist in.

Read more on their research blog:
Maria Myrstener – only in swedish
Gerard Rocher-Ros
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SITES attended the Hydrology days in Gothenburg earlier in March. Even if the theme was urban hydrology got consultants, agencies and researchers learn about SITES possibilities through a presentation and poster participation. There are several ways in which SITES stations or researchers could assist planners, municipalities or consultants especially regarding installations and measurement but also in modelling and simulation of burst events or droughts.  
 
Keynote föreläsning av Henrik Kant på Dep. av hållbar avfallshantering och vatten, Göteborgs stad presentera hydrologiska  utmaningar i Göteborg.
Keynote föreläsning av Henrik Kant på Dep. av hållbar avfallshantering och vatten, Göteborgs stad presentera hydrologiska utmaningar i Göteborg.
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Lönnstorp, accompanied with Lanna, headed north for a two day combined study visit at Röbäcksdalen and Svartberget, full of knowledge exchange, discussion about practices, methods and common challenges.

During the first day at Röbäcksdalen, Kent, Malin and Evelina gave an introduction to the machinery and routines for gathering field data and how to transfer it into a database. This led to a fruitful discussion about how the agricultural stations could work more close together within this area in the future.

Niklas gave an inspiration talk presenting their work with the interactive map of Skogaryd. Röbäcksdalen and Lönnstorp will continue develop their respectively interactive maps which could also be a tool for more stations within SITES.

Röbäcksdalen presented information about work done within SITES Water and hopefully the agricultural stations can give good input to that infrastructure together in the future. Ryan and Erik gave and update of the SAFE system at Lönnstorp. 
 

At Svartberget Thomas gave a presentation about precision GPS systems and some thoughts around using them and gaining high accuracy, something all stations in SITES strives for. Thomas also showed the installations of spectral sensors and loggers, through the SITES Spectral infrastructure. This was followed by a good discussion about installations and loggers for gathering data.

In the afternoon Peder and Johannes gave a good insight into lightening protection and the SITES Water infrastructure. Since there will be more installations during the season 2017 at both Röbäcksdalen and Lönnstorp this is crucial information. Kim gave some information about the tag tags app. Both Svartberget and Röbäcksdalen find the app most useful and use it frequently for field and laboratorial metadata and data collection.

Thanks to all participants for valuable discussions and questions that have been raised during these two days and, for all efforts in putting together presentations and field views.
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The coordinator of the SITES AquaNet project, Pablo Urrutia Cordero, visited the Asa Reseach Station in February 13. He brought up the activity plans end economy for the project during 2017, for discussion. A visit to the platform in Feresjön was made by a walk on the ice, to be able to look at the location of it and to discuss practical solutions for the coming installations that will be made on the platform.
Pablo, Martin and Niels at the SITES AquaNet-platform in Feresjön, Asa. Phot by Ola Langavall.
Pablo, Martin and Niels at the SITES AquaNet-platform in Feresjön, Asa. Phot by Ola Langavall.
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The installations in Feresjön in Asa in the SITES Water project have proceeded during the autumn and winter. The float where the main measurements will be executed from were in place, the temperature sensor string for profiling temperature over the full depth of 11, 5 m for every 0,5 m were installed. The temperature string is the only equipment that will be running all-year around, whereas the rest of the measurement sensors will be in place and active during the ice-free period. A weir for flow measurements and water sampling has also been installed in Rävabäcken, the main inlet to Feresjön.

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In February, Ola Langvall, Pablo Urrutia Cordero, Don Pierson and William Colom met at the Erken Research Station for planning of the installations on the SITES AquaNet platforms.

Don and William showed how water sampling and treatments can be accomplished during winter and icy conditions in the mesocosms, and thereafter the group made a visit to the small island where many of the instruments in the Erken infrastructure are located.

Then the group focused on the datalogger and sensor installations, where communication and programming for sampling and storage of data from the sensors was discussed, as well as how sensors can be placed into the mesocosms. An example of the datalogger/sensor setup will be tested at the Asa Research Station and physical installations of mesocosms, sensors and blenders will be tested in Erken before the AquaNet workshop in late April.
Don tells about the installation of the net radiation sensor over Erken water surface Pablo and William. Photo by Ola Langvall.
Don tells about the installation of the net radiation sensor over Erken water surface Pablo and William. Photo by Ola Langvall.
At this meeting all stations will share and discuss the example setups and the final decisions will be taken for the implementation on all platforms.
Upcoming:
Workshop at Erken for all personnel within SITES AquaNet April 19-21.

Previous:
Status update on SITES AquaNet.
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SITES and ICOS Sweden invited researchers at the OIKOS conference to describe their needs regarding field based research and their wish list of measurements and facilities provided by national infrastructures in the future.
Thanks to all attendances and if you have any questions about SITES or ICOS Sweden don’t hesitate to contact the Directors, Anders Lindroth or Maj-Lena Linderson.
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SLU in Alnarp recruits a Postdoc in Cropping systems ecology with focus on soil microbial ecology in production grasslands to the Department of Biosystems and Technology.

The positiation is within a EU-collaboration, BIOINVENT. Part of the research will be placed at Lönnstorp.

Postdoc announcement.

Contact: Linda-Maria Mårtensson
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