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2020 > 11

eLTER PLUS call for proposals open!

The emerging European LTER research infrastructure offers a unique opportunity for researchers with focus on ecosystem science in the areas of biogeochemistry, biodiversity, hydrology and socio-ecology to use LTER-Europe sites via transnational access (TA) and remote access (RA).

The transnational access option enables in-person visits (e.g. to collect and analyse data) to one or more LTER sites, whereas the remote access option entails of support from local teams for e.g. measurements, data collection and experiments.

Scientist are encouraged to use a combined TA and RA approach for their project. With travel restrictions during COVID times, the RA approach would still allow for the project to be realised.

Deadline for application submission is the 23rd of December 2020. Don´t miss a great opportunity!

For more information please visit the eLTER PLUS website.

Blaize Denfeld started as SITES Deputy Director at the beginning of November. She is an earth system scientist specializing in freshwater biogeochemistry. Blaize brings extensive coordination experience from her work with international science organizations, including the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), the Earth Science Division of NASA and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Blaize Denfeld sampling Lake Stortjärn at Svartberget. Photo: Anna Lupon.
Blaize Denfeld sampling Lake Stortjärn at Svartberget. Photo: Anna Lupon.

In welcoming Blaize to the SITES community, we’ve asked her a few questions about her background and future involvement with SITES.

When did you first become interested in ecosystem science?

– From a young age I loved being out in nature, spending time as a child playing by the pond in our backyard. But it wasn’t until my time at Clark University that I became interested in scientific research. My first exposure to field sampling was in Northeast Siberia, where I spent two summers sampling the Kolyma River Watershed as part of the Polaris Project. It was from this experience that I knew I wanted to continue researching high-latitude environments.

What is your research background?

– I am an earth system scientist with a specialization in Arctic and boreal freshwater biogeochemistry. I completed a PhD at Uppsala University, Department of Limnology, with research focused on greenhouse emissions from ice-covered lakes. During my PhD, I enjoyed researching Swedish lakes so much, I decided to continue as a Postdoc at Umeå University and SLU Umeå, focusing more broadly on spatial and temporal carbon cycling of inland waters.

What is your previous involvement in SITES? 

– During both my PhD and Postdoc, I had the opportunity to utilize SITES infrastructure and data. I spent many hours on ice-covered lake Erken, capturing CH4 bubbles at the ice-water interface. Thanks to the SITES infrastructure and station staff, I was able to organize a multi-station field campaign, at Erken, Skogyard and Svartberget, continuously monitoring CO2 dynamics below ice. My postdoc in Umeå began around the same time Lake Stortjärn at Svartberget began the routine SITES Water monitoring lake sampling. Now coming back to SITES a few years later, it has been great to see the progress made and I look forward to engaging across all research stations and thematic programs!

How do you see your previous experiences fitting into your role as Deputy Director of SITES?

– My research background and interest align well with SITES ecosystem approach and is relevant to the SITES thematic programs. Though, it is my experience in a coordinating role of international science organizations that have provided a foundation for organizational and communicational skills essential to this position. It is through these experiences that I have developed a passion for understanding and facilitating scientific collaborations, and as such, I am glad to continue to pursue this passion as Deputy Director of SITES.

What are you most excited about as Deputy Director of SITES?

– I am most excited about working with the SITES community! In my first few weeks on the job, I have enjoyed reconnecting with previous colleagues and getting to meet others for the first time. Once travel is safe again, I am eager to visit the SITES stations to meet with the staff and see all the exciting research being conducted there. I am impressed by SITES function in coordinating long-term monitoring data across Sweden and providing researchers with a unique research infrastructure. As we begin to think about the next stage of SITES, I am encouraged by the great foundation SITES has developed and look forward to working with the SITES community to continue to maintain and develop SITES.  

Brian is back at the station Skogaryd Research Catchment! Brian is an automatic flux chamber measurement device which performs soil greenhouse gas measurements along a transect.

Installation of the 2D-Skyline chamber system (Brian) at Följemaden in Skogaryd. Photographer: David Allbrand .
Installation of the 2D-Skyline chamber system (Brian) at Följemaden in Skogaryd. Photographer: David Allbrand .

The road to the comeback has been long with both a broken analyzer and broken hardware. The Covid-19 situation didn’t make it easier, as the engineers at York University, who provide support with the installation, were occupied producing face mask parts and had limited time to take care of Skogaryd´s Brian sampler.
 
After almost three years of service at the mire Mycklemossen, Brian has now been moved to Följemaden, a forest site, to measure carbon dioxide and methane emitting from the soil over a gradient of varying soil mositures and vegetation type, using 25 chambers installed on site. Följemaden is a clear-cut forest site soon to undergo a control-impact monitoring that will  investigate different reforestation types: rewetted forest with alder and birch trees and drained forest with spruce trees.
 
The work with rewetting the northern part of Följemaden by constructing a concrete fencing to dam runoff water from the ditch draining the clear-cut site is still being planned. Hopefully the barrier installation can start this winter or spring next year, so Brian can start his in-situ measurements again.

At Lake Almbergasjön, Abisko Scientific Research Station, the two research engineers Niklas Rakos and Erik Lundin are getting into the winter protocol for water sampling. The ice on the lake is 15cm thick and the visibility is more than 4m even with the sparse light at this latitude this time of the year.

Submerged sampler at 4m depth with two fascinated research engineers observing from above. Photographer: Niklas Rakos.
Submerged sampler at 4m depth with two fascinated research engineers observing from above. Photographer: Niklas Rakos.

At the beginning of the week heavy rainfalls in combination with strong winds occurred in Västerbotten County. Technicians from Röbäcksdalen Field Research Station took the opportunity of 47mm rain recorded by their weather station for the 2nd of November to take field measurements in the streams.

Data from these extreme events are very valuable for the long-term monitoring as high impact processes regarding chemical variables may occur and a validation of, e.g. the stream discharge function can be implemented. Usually these events are difficult to cover as they are short term and happen unexpectedly.

Two pictures showing the same stream in Röbäcksdalen one day apart. Photographer: Håkan Nilsson
Two pictures showing the same stream in Röbäcksdalen one day apart. Photographer: Håkan Nilsson

No, this isn´t a blurry picture! Up in the north in the research area around the SITES station in Abisko lakes are frozen by now. One of the station´s research engineers, Niklas Rakos, took the opportunity of perfect ice skating conditions to visit Almbergasjön during the weekend. The picture shows the SITES Water profile installation under ice. It measures conductivity, water temperature and dissolved oxygen. The winter installation overlaps with the floating platform measurements during open water season to guarantee continuous time series measurements throughout the year.

Photographer: Niklas Rakos

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