2020 > 06

As in previous years, staff from Grimsö Wildlife Research Station is busy running external projects at the station and data collections within the base monitoring program during June. Among the latter, it is now peak season for controlling red fox (Vulpes vulpes) dens, but also to support external projects that monitor reproductive success of other species such as the lynx (Lynx lynx).

Within wildlife monitoring, camera traps have been proven to be a useful tool to estimate biodiversity and population dynamics. Therefore, a high capacity server for storage of pictures and films from camera traps will be installed at Grimsö this summer. For this platform, a new software for automatic recognition and QA/QC of unwanted pictures (e.g. no animal/people in picture) can be applied. The investment is part of a collaborative research project with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the Swedish Transport Administration, but the server will be available for projects related to Grimsö and SITES in the future.

A lynx (Lynx lynx) kitten gets weighted, sampled for DNA (blood) and marked with a chip. Photo; Henrik Andrén.

Curious badger (Meles meles) cubs looking out from one of the ca. 200 dens that are checked annually in Grimsö Wildlife Research Area since 1973. This survey mainly aims to follow red fox reproduction, but badgers are more frequent inhabitants in the dens than foxes. Photo: Linda Höglund

Two GPS-collared wild boar (Sus scrofa) sows with their piglets.
Photo: Anders Friberg

On Friday the 12th of June, the SITES Water coordination team received the horrible news about a fire that happened in the TEMA laboratory which is under the umbrella of Linköping University and David Bastviken. First results of the investigation indicate that the fire started during the night from Thursday to Friday that week. Luckily, no one got injured during the incident, but significant damage to especially the field equipment and the workshop occurred.

The SITES community sends the best wishes to David and his team and hopes that the overall damage is minor and that the LiU team can get back to regular operations soon.

More detailed information about the incident and the status quo can be found here.

Since last week, Tarfala Research Station has opened for the spring season. The weather during this time of the year is difficult to predict in the mountain peaks in the north of Sweden and it might happen that the researchers face week-long snowstorms. This year the sunny conditions have kept the team very busy in maintaining the long-term monitoring infrastructure. Yesterday, a tower for SITES Spectral has been equipped with sensors in Laevasvagge, which will monitor the continuation of the snow cover and transition into vegetation growth during 2020.

The Tarfala-SITES team Gunhild “Ninis” Rosqvist and Pia Eriksson in front of the research station taking a well-deserved rest after a long and intensive day in the field.

Vi på SITES önskar alla
en fin midsommar!

During the last months, a substantial progress has been made to develop a robust data structure for the different layers of the thematic programme SITES Water. The goal is to make it possible for all stations within the infrastructure to upload their data deriving from the individual monitoring campaigns into the same templates. The challenges about this work lie in the well-established, pre-existing long-term monitoring of each individual station before the start of SITES. “The devil is in the details” – describes the day-to-day work of the data management team quite well! The team consists of the programme coordinator and his working group at Skogaryd Research Catchment, support from Umeå´s SITES team, Lund´s system administrator, the secretariat and a strong team of staff at each station. This is a major challenge, but the community is confident to provide the research community with high quality data until the end of the year. The first data sets for the SITES Water programme are already available from the Skogaryd Research Catchment and Tarfala Research Station and can be discovered on the SITES Data Portal - many more to come in the coming months, so make sure to check the Portal regularly for new updates! Feedback is always welcomed and can be send to the SITES Secretariat.

SITES Data Portal – preview of the stream level data (Summer 2018) of Tarfalajokk, part of Tarfala Research Station´s monitoring. 

The instrumentations for SITES Water on Almbergasjön in Abisko are being installed at the moment. A central part of the monitoring are the measurements deriving from the floating platform. Here, weather data, water temperature profiles, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in the water are measured throughout the open water season to capture seasonal changes and the impact of the warming climate on limnic systems in the sub-arctic. To install the system physical demanding field work is required, but maybe it is a small comfort to spend time in the amazing landscape surrounding Almbergasjön.

Research engineers Niklas Rakos and Erik Lundin piloting the floating platform out on Lake Almbergasjön in Abisko. Photographer: Thomas Westin

Shangharsha Thapa Shangharsha Thapa

This spring Shangharsha Thapa, a master student at Lund University, has validated SITES Spectral data for his thesis under the supervision of Dr. Virginia Garcia and Prof. Lars Eklundh. Shangharsha is originally from Nepal where he has studied Geomatics Engineering at Kathmandu University. He has spent the last two years in Lund being part of the master programme in Geomatics. Shangharsha has used near-surface remote sensing data from phenocameras, fixed sensors and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flights, which were sampled within the Spectral monitoring of  Asa Research Station. He has evaluated the seasonal dynamics of tree species on a  local scale and he could prove that phenocameras and multispectral sensors correlated well in regard to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Overall, Shangharsha has been satisfied with the structure of the thematic programme and its data organization.

‒ “The best part of the research work was the reliability of the datasets from SITES”, says Shangharsha. “Also the well-managed metadata and hardware facilities for data processing were good.”

Shangharsha explains that he wants to contribute to the academic and research sector in Nepal in the field of geomatics and wants to take his studies further as a PhD student and Postdoc.

‒ “I want to thank SITES staff, especially Virginia Garcia Millan for supervising and guiding me throughout the thesis. And lastly, thanks to SITES Spectral for providing me an opportunity to work with a wide range of sensor datasets.”

All the best of luck for the future from the SITES community!

The Erken Laboratory has this week started its greenhouse gas  flux campaign. By using floating chamber devices, the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20) from limnic systems are measured at different transects on lake Erken. These novel chambers are developed by David Bastviken and his research team at Linköping University. The monitoring campaign is part of SITES Water and runs throughout the open water season at five stations (Abisko, Asa, Svartberget, Skogaryd and Erken). These unprecedented times in regard to COVID-19 has made it more difficult to commence this sampling campaign; station staff has been retained abroad and measures to keep social distancing on a small boat has been implemented. By “outsourcing” staff from the SITES secretariat and engaging a master student, the campaign has successfully started and by the end of the season a unique monitoring series will be provided to the research community.

The Erken team around Christer Strandberg, Evelina Hiltunen and Holger Villwock practicing social distancing on a boat during the Greenhouse Gas monitoring campaign for SITES Water. Photographer: Holger Villwock.


One of Erken´s transects equipped with floating chambers along a certain depth gradient (<1m, 1-2m, 2-4m, >4m). Photographer: Holger Villwock

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