A breeding pair of Barnacle Geese on Prins Heinrich÷ya

A personal photo report from Maarten Loonen
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Checking nests, reading rings

During the incubation period, we are counting nests on the breeding islands, noting clutch sizes and checking rings. On the picture to the left, you see a wonderful pair on Prins Heinrich÷ya. The ring can be read as green SNC. The pictures below show another pair and Luis Schmidt, with in the background the skyline of Ny-┼lesund.
The ring of the male is green SNC
A breeding pair of Barnacle Geese on Prins Heinrich÷ya Luis Schmidt is reading rings of nesting birds
A tray with individual grass shoots planted in moss

Measuring plants

We are also doing a grass experiment to study the effect of grazing on future production of the grasses. We have three comparable trays with grass shoots placed at different ambient temperatures. Each tray contains 14 groups of ten shoots, of which half will be clipped each week in July. The 14 groups are 7 pairs from the same location, but for each pair one from an exclosure and one from the grazed environment.

We test the hypothesis, that grazed shoots store less reserves in their roots. In this way, their reserves will be depleted over years and production will decrease.

In this experiment, we can easily measure underground grass biomass. The moss is natural substrate, but also a competitor for nutrients.
Colder environment: 50 meters higher on the mountain Normal environment: in front of our station Warmed environment: in the greenhouse
The lake Solvatnet, viewed from the village
Training the use of fire arms against polar bears

Polar bear protection

Every year, all persons visiting the Netherlands Arctic Field Station have to take a special "polar bear protection" course. The ultimate defense against an attacking polar bear is a weapon (.308 Winchester). However, this weapon can be at least as dangerous as the bear. The course is paying attention to the behaviour of polar bears, the maintenance and safety with the gun, and finally there is a practice shooting at the shooting range.

On this picture, you see colleguas from South-Korea with whom we did the course.

Apart from the weapon, we carry always flares. We hope that we never have to use the weapon.
Travel to the islands

Eider studies

A French team from Strasbourg is studying immunocompetence in eider ducks. They take us with their boat to the breeding islands. From left to right you see Maarten Loonen, Alain, Thiery, Luis and Sophie.
With five persons in one boat
Travel to the islands On these pictures, you see them working on the island of Storholmen. They are marking nests of eiders and will catch them at different times during the incubation period to test if the speed at which the immune system reacts to a challenge is changing during fastening.

On the right photo, they are attacked by a Great skua, who is protecting his nest.
With five persons in a zodiac
Nick Cox on the roof of Harland House

British colleagues

At the British station, the first team of the year is servicing the equipment. Nick Cox is repairing the antenna for contacting his field radios. Since 1978, he has been working here in summer, first as a boatman, later as station manager.

Mark Clilverd has made a low frequency receiver station and relates the logged data to global change events related to e.g. the sun activity.
Mark Clilverd at his antenna
A tourist boat visiting the town
A tourist boat is visiting the town. This year there are 134 boats visiting with a record of almost 4000 people visiting in one weekend.

Unfortunately I have no pictures from Anouk Piquet and Niek, from the marine biology department of the University of Groningen. They are staying in the German station and study micro algea and interactions with bacteria and UV.

I also miss a picture from a Norwegian military vessel,who visited town with an international delegation. The delegation included two high officials of the ministery of Defense of the Netherlands.

Departing from Ny-┼lesund, this was the view of the town from the airplane.


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Weblog of arctic station 2006http://www.arcticstation.nl
Similar webpages about arctic fieldwork: http://www.maartenloonen.nl/fragile
Personal webpage Maarten Loonen, index to all his pages:http://www.maartenloonen.nl
Official webpage of the Arctic Centre, Groningen (NL): http://www.rug.nl/arcticcentre