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SITES AquaNet is happy to announce that our standardised mesocosm infrastructure available in five lakes across Sweden is now part of AQUACOSM-plus. AQUACOSM-plus is an EU-funded research infrastructure project for mesocosm-based research in marine and freshwater ecosystems starting in April 2020. Within AQUACOSM-plus, we will offer transnational access for researchers to join a large cross-sites experiment using the SITES AquaNet mesocosms in 2022.
 
For 2020, there are still open slots for running experiments at SITES AquaNet facilities. Don´t miss this great opportunity to conduct your research! More information and a link to the application form can be found here.

One out of five available mesocosm facilities within SITES AquaNet. Here the platform at Asa Research Station. Photographer: Ola Langvall.

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The field work this spring has started several weeks earlier than usual due to the lack of snow at Grimsö Wildlife Research Station.

One of several ongoing activities at Grimsö is the initiation of a new external research project working on a large scale evaluation of practical techniques to manage human-wildlife problems. The main focus lays on wildlife accidents and collisions on railways and roads, but also regarding crop-damages. The project, funded by Trafikverket, SJ and SEPA, will test different motion-activated acoustic signals to trigger flight behaviour in moose, wild boar and roe deer. If the results show significant effects, the method will be used to scare animals away from dangerous and/or conflict areas in the future.

First tests of acoustic devices and movement sensors. The equipment will be used in a new project aimed to evaluate if and how animal movements may be affected and directed by sounds. Photographer: Gunnar Jansson

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During the last month, work on a new Greenhouse Gas (GHG) flux system was finalized at Svartberget Research Station. The new infrastructure is located at Kulbäcksliden. After some fine-tuning and small modifications the system is now up and running.

In 2018, preparations began to install a series of new GHG flux sampling locations close to the Degerö mire at Kulbäcksliden. The mire itself has a long history of research, and is one of the most intensively studied mire ecosystems in the northern hemisphere. The new locations are south of the existing infrastructure at Degerö Stormyr and are part of a series of long-term and large-scale field studies of high-latitude mires and their behaviour during increased nitrogen deposition.
 

Installation of the GHG flux tower at Lake Stortjärn, where also the AquaNet mesocosms are located. Photographer: Andreas Palmén
 

The project involves four locations – three of which are situated on different mires in the area, and the fourth is based in a drained peatland forest. The focus of each location is carbon dioxide and methane flux measurements, along with variation radiation, meteorological, and soil measurements. The mire-location instruments are installed on a 6m tower with power and fiber-optic/4G connections to the existing infrastructure at Degerö Stormyr. The location at the drained peatland forest is equipped with a 21m flux tower, as well as an 18m flagpole for radiation and meteorological measurements in a less densely vegetated mire close to the primary location.

The process of construction and installation has taken place during the previous year and although things have to be optimized, all four stations are currently running and collecting data. The project will be integrated into the SITES Spectral network with spectral flights over the area, as well as using the drones for the distribution of fertilizer over selected areas.
 

Troubleshooting of the flux instruments at Hålmyran, one of the new locations equipped with a flux tower measuring carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Photographer: Rowan Dignam.

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The Erken Laboratory has monitored the duration of ice cover of lake Erken since the 1940s. The data shows a strong decrease in the average duration of ice cover over time. This year, in particular, the situation is special as the lake has so far only been frozen for 5 days this winter. If the situation remains like this, it would be by far the shortest duration of ice cover since the start of measurements.

You can also listen to an interview with Gesa Weyhenmeyer by the Swedish Radio on the topic here.

Photographer: Silke Langenheder.

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Spring came early this year to Lönnstorp Research Station. The weather this "winter" has been characterized by rain, high temperatures and strong winds. If it continues to be warm, spring operations will start in a few weeks.

Electric van and high speed internet at Lönnstorp Research Station
Our SITES Lönnstorp Research Station recently purchased an electric van that will replace an old gasoline van for transports between the research station and Alnarp Campus, as well as between the research station and the experimental fields. The van was funded by the SLU climate fund and the Department of Biosystems and Technology. We estimate that this investment will reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2.5 tons per year!

Figure 1: The new electric van from Lönnstorp Research Station will help to reduce the carbon footprint from the station significantly.

Already in December, high speed internet was installed at SITES Lönnstorp. This upgrade will allow more people to work at Lönnstorp, which would facilitate communication between researchers, entrepreneurs and technicians. In addition, high speed internet makes it possible for us to use new equipment, which hopefully will attract more projects to the station.

Production of organic leafy greens as a winter crop in poly-tunnels – a new exciting project at Lönnstorp Research Station
One of the principles of organic production is that the plants have to be in direct contact with the soil. The Nordic countries have had an exemption from this principle due to tougher winter climates, but with new EU-directives concerning organic production (2018/848) this will no longer be allowed. One of the largest issues of growing directly in soil is proliferation of soil borne diseases. Many greenhouse and poly-tunnel growers specialize in a few types of crops; a grower specialized in, e.g. tomatoes produces only tomatoes year after year – a practice made possible only by being able to change the growing substrate in between cultures. In the future, organic greenhouse and poly-tunnel production will have to adapt to the new directives. Therefore, long term crop rotations or short term green manure crops combined with a multitude of plant types grown throughout the year have to be used in order to maintain a fertile and healthy soil. For a more cost-effective use of the greenhouse and poly-tunnel area, and at the same time keeping up a diverse crop rotation, a project with organic vegetable production in poly-tunnels will start at SITES Lönnstorp Research Station in April 2020. The project is supported by the Ekhaga foundation, and its main focus is to study the possibility of growing leafy green vegetables during the winter months in poly tunnels (without heating) when production would normally be at a standstill.

If you want more info about the project, please contact Anna Karin Rosberg (anna.karin.rosberg@slu.se).

Figure 2: Lönnstorp Research Station with its experimental fields. Soon, the new ‘organic leafy greens as winter crops’ project will be part of the facilities. © Pekka Kurpa

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