Start of season in the Netherlands Arctic Field Station on Spitsbergen, 11 June 2005

A personal photo report from Maarten Loonen
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Left to right: Luis Schmidt, Peter Blokker, Maarten Loonen and Jelte Rozema The crew of the Netherlands Arctic Field Station in 2005.

Left to right: Luis Schmidt, Peter Blokker , Maarten Loonen and Jelte Rozema.

Luis Schmidt is a German student from the University of Jena, who will study survival rates of individually marked barnacle geese. Peter Blokker is a post-doc, studying chemicals in arctic plants which relate to temperature during growth. Jelte Rozema is studying climate change and plants. Both are from the Free University of Amsterdam. Maarten Loonen is studying barnacle geese and is station manager. He is employed by the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen.

Later this season, Jurjen Annen and Daan Vreugdenhil will join us. They were already part of the crew in 2004.
The town, picture made by Peter Blokker
View of the town of Ny-Ålesund, made by Peter Blokker. In the middle, there are two small yellow houses. The house on the right-hand site is the Netherlands Arctic Field Station, run by the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen.
This year, there is not so much ice in the fjord. The snow is quicly melting away and the Barnacle Geese are already nesting on the islands in the fjord.

Climate change and tundra plants

Peter Blokker and Jelte Rozema at their Open Top Roof In 2005, Jelte Rozema of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam is starting a new project at the Netherlands Arctic Field Station. He is building 16 Open Top Roofs to simulate global warming effects on the tundra. Cassiope tetragona, an evergreen woody shrub with distinctive annual and seasonal growth, is studied in relation to ambient temperature. These measurements, in combination with well preserved Cassiope remains from peat cores, allow reconstruction of past climate over a timeperiod of 100-1000 years.

On these pictures, Peter Blokker and Jelte Rozema are transporting parts of the Open Top Roofs to their new field site, east of Ny-Ålesund.
On the road ... with transporter and gun ... ... on Spitsbergen
Climate research in the Arctic

Station manager Maarten Loonen

The base commander goes catching geese The Netherlands Arctic Field Station is the smallest scientific base in Ny-Ålesund. I started in 1990 with my own research program on the Barnacle Geese and I have missed only one annual visit since that year. The first years, my annual stay lasted three months. In recent years I opt for a visit of two to three weeks. while students stay the full season from 24 June to 15 August.

Since 2002, the station is co-funded by the Dutch government, to allow a continuation of the Dutch participation in arctic science. The Netherlands is a full member of the Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee ( NySMAC), which meets twice a year and coordinates the science plans of all international stations.

Scientists and students from the Netherlands can use the facility. For more info contact the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen:
Op weg ...
On the picture above (taken by Jelte Rozema), I am leaving the station to catch geese on the nest for the FRAGILE experiment near Longyearbyen. In my hands I am carrying a nest trap. On my shoulders, I have a survival suit which is essential when boating in water of two degrees Celsius. The wooden shoes are my personal trade mark in this town but they are also very handy when moving between houses.
On the picture at the right, I discuss with Peter Blokker the maintenance of their new field site.

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