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20220104 11:00: geopolitics of research presence

Geopolitics of research presence

4 January 2022

Finally, there is a pre-publication of a paper written by Erik Molenaar: Response to the politics of research presence in Svalbard. The paper is a reaction to the publication by Torbjørn Pedersen. Knowledgeable Norwegian scientists have always told me, that the Norwegian translation of the Spitsbergen Treaty (Svalbard Treaty as they name it wrongly) has two important elements:
  • Not countries but nationals (companies or people) from signatory countries have equal rights.
  • Acces for maritime, industrial, mining and commercial operations is named but scientific actiivity is not mentioned.
This publication gives a new view on the second element. I don't believe that this is at the moment very important for Norwegian authorities as they are in a long-term process of downscaling the special status of the treaty. Nevertheless, it is really interesting for international law.


Opening the paper in a new tab: here.

The original text of the Spitsbergen Treaty can be found here

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20211230 12:00: info websites

info websites

30 December 2021

Information on Ny-Ålesund can be found on two websites. The website nyalesundresearch.no contains all information for scientists planning their work in Ny-Ålesund. The website kingsbay.no contains all information from the company who runs the facility and has information for people who want to work in this town.


nyalesundresearch.no

This website also contains the researchers guide with information for all scientists who will come to work in Ny-Ålesund.

 

kingsbay.no

Information on the local community, history and cultural heritage.

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20211224 03:00: pink xmas on spitsbergen

pink x-mas on spitsbergen

24 December 2021



At 3:00 o'clock on Christmas Morning, Fieke Rader, working on the French-German station AWIPEV, is on the Dutch radio NP01 explaining about how people are celebrating Christmas in the dark Arctic. She mentions the pink light which is visible on the horizon, coming from a reflection of sunlight on stratospheric clouds. This is the first time since 2015, that the sun below the horizon produces this reflection. Greg Pixophil made the picture above and posted it on Facebook. It is another spectacular light effect, like the northern light, in the dark polar winter
In the video below, Fieke tells her story in Dutch. Below this video there is a picture by Christelle Guesnon from Facebook, which shows both the northern light and the pink horizon.





The original website page here.

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20211222 12:00: the people of kingsbay

the people of kingsbay

22 December 2021

This summer journalist Vilborg Einarsdottir visited Ny-Ålesund. She is the Editor-in-Chief of JONAA, the Journal of the North Atlantic & Arctic. Together with Svein Harald Sonderland, she prepared three wonderful articles. this is the first one in the series. Wonderful to see all friends from last summer described with the love they deserve.


A short mention of me:
Then Maarten Loonen, from the University of Groningen is here like all summers of the past decades, doing research accompanied by several students and researchers.

The orginal website page here.

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20211128 12:00: aurora borealis

aurora borealis

November 2021

In the month of November, there are several pictures on Facebook of beautiful aurora borealis. It is a wonderful phenomenon in the dark polar winter. Unfortunately, I am only in town during the constant daylight of the polar summer, but I have seen these spectacular skies in Tromsø.

Christella Guesnon

Christella Guesnon

Greg Pixophil

Greg Pixophil

On the pictures below, you can also see the green straight line of the lidar, which is measuring aerosols in a profile up to 30 km.
Greg Pixophil

Greg Pixophil


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20211125 12:00: rocket launch

rocket launch

25 November 2021

A successful campaign at Svalrak, the rocket launch facility in Ny-Ålesund. With these rockets, the upper atmosphere is studied inside the cusp of aurora borealis. The extra energy from the solar winds excites molecules, which might affect their release from earth atmosphere. This study can only be performed from a site within the ring of aurora borealis where there is also enough ocean where the rocket can fall back to earth. The pollution of these rocket has been much debated in NySMAC and is under study. More on this topic can be read here

Greg Pixophil


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20211124 12:00: we need you

we need you

24 November 2021


CALLING ALL RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS AND TRAVELERS EXPLORING SVALBARD!


The interdisciplinary project SVALUR which aims to bring together local knowledge and environmental monitoring, to work towards a rich memory of environmental change on Svalbard, is looking for observations from people traveling, exploring, working and living on Svalbard. Therefor we need your help!

As part of the interdisciplinary research project SVALUR there is an online mapping tool where we gather observations and experiences related to events and changes in climate and environment on Svalbard. This mapping tool is open to you all to participate!

Here you can register points with observations, research, experiences, and memories. You also have the fantastic possibility to share pictures or other documents if you want to do so.

The data collected will be gathered with other data collected in the research project in a digital story map collating and connecting local knowledge, science and history!

You find the survey here.

More on the project here and you can follow us on Instagram @svalur_svalbard

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20211119 12:00: bird flu outbreak

bird flu outbreak

19 November 2021

My colleagues from Scotland report on a massive outbreak of bird flue among wintering barnacle geese in Scotland. Hundreds of birds, with estimates of more than a thousand are reported dead on the coasts of the Solway Firth. This is the wintering ground of the Svalbard breeding barnacle geese, my study population. It started with this article.
Read the news here.

Above is a news item of ITV, about the outbreak, with pictures of a lot of snow on the meadows of the Solway Firth.This is unusual.

To the right is a video made by Richard and Jackie Everitt on a sick goose.



Last summer, we have sampled 100 barnacle geese during our moult catches in Ny-Ålesund. None of them tested positive for avian influenza. The request came from the Knut Madslien of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. In the winter of 2020-2021, there had been an outbreak in the Russian/Dutch wintering barnacle geese and some infected geese were found in southern Norway. It will be very interesting to sample again next summer.


18 December 2021 The story continues...



Full paper here

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20211014 17:30: discussion forum

discussion forum

14 October 2021

  In Groningen, there was a discussion on changes in the Arctic. At the start of the meeting they showed this video as an introduction. For people living in Longyearbyen: the video is in mirror of the real situation.
The video below is the discussion which is in English.


The orginal website page here.

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20211013 15:30: dogyard in longyearbyen

Dogyard in Longyearbyen

13 October 2021 15:30

I am staying a week at SIOS in Longyearbyen. Christiane takes me out to the dogyard and it is fun to see how she cares for the dogs.
This is a 360 video, so you can drag the view in any direction to observe the action and these videos are best viewed via youtube fullscreen on your telephone or with VR glasses. If you do that the movement of the phone or glasses changes the view. Something spectacular to try. More 360 videos on this website can be found here

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20211010 12:00: in longyearbyen

In Longyearbyen

10 October 2021

After my visit to Ny-Ålesund, I am working one week at the SIOS knowledge center, which offers me great facilities for visiting scientists. I get office space and free housing.


The nights are dark and first snow on the ground.

A new information display. Unfortunately I miss the magnificent aurora during mid-night.

I make a video for a special event in the Forum in Groningen about climate change in the Arctic. I cannot participate, but still I can be present, as you can see on the big screen to the right. picture made by Anne Beaulieu

The building of fences after a big avalanche accident

A special hospital plane to transport people to the hospital in Tromsø

More signs of old accidents: coastal erosion
Coastal erosion forced Christiane and her family to move their house to the other side of the street. You can still see the foundation of the old location.


And at the campground, they are building a fence after a polar bear incident



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20211006 18:08: visiting the geodetic observatory

Visiting the geodetic observatory

6 October 2021 18:08

We are getting an excursion to the geodetic observatory. Here the position of the earth in space is measured, with additional knowledge on the speed of movement of the continents and the woble of the earth axis. Thomas Gansmoe shows us around. More about the facility and what it does can be found here.

These three videos are 360 degrees. You can move the direction you want to look with your mouse on a computer, but also by moving your telephone or VR-glasses.

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20211006 13:05: thethered balloon

thethered balloon

6 October 2021

We had already seen the big balloon in the hangar when we dressed in orange survival suits for a boat trip in the fjord.


Now, I discovered the balloon in action measuring the first layers of the atmosphere.

The campaign was ending end the balloon was lowered.
The most unique part is not the balloon but the cable which is extremely light weight and strong.


The balloon returns to the hangar while being attached to the small electric car Goupille of AWIPEV.



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20211006 07:47: winter is coming

winter is coming

6 October 2021

The winter is coming. Tomorrow the temperature plunges to freezing and will stay so for most of the time.


There is no snow yet.


The people from Kingsbay are marking the roads with reflecting sticks, so the road will be recognizable for driving and snow removal. In the video below, you see how they drill the holes for the sticks.

Click here for The weather of Ny-Ålesund in the last 13 months: temperature, precipitation, wind and snow thickness

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20211003 18:30: SSF in NÅ

SSF in NÅ, Svalbard Science Forum in Ny-Ålesund

3-7 October 2021

Svalbard Science Forum organizes in autumn every year for their board a trip to a research facility on Svalbard. As chair of NySMAC, I am also member of the board and this time we visit Ny-Ålesund.

The members of the board of Svalbard Science Forum for the museum hut showing life during the coal mining period. From left to right: Heikki Lihavainen (SIOS), Karoline Baelum (SSF), Marius Omland (front, SSF), Egil Rønning (Sysselmannen), Maarten Loonen (NySMAC), Pål Sørgard (RCN-SSF), Lars Anders Breivik (MET-No), Margrete Keyser (SSF), Svein Harald Sønderland (Kingsbay), Christina Abildgaard (RCN) and Piotr Glowacki (Hornsund).

Below a video while we land in Ny-Ålesund from the west. You cans ee the new bridge over the red river, the SvalRak facility with two launch pads for rockets and a hangar with a safety bunker, the former Japanese station on Rabben and the old telescope of the geodetic observatory.


During the first meeting day, we had a break and we made a boat trip into the fjord, visiting the glacier Blomstrandbreen and the historic place Ny-London.


The next day we started with a visit to the two largest stations: Sverdrup and AWIPEV.

We watched the daily balloon launch by Gregory Tran.....

....and had a presentation in the AWIPEV observatory.


We got a tour in the marine laboratory by Svein Harald Sønderland

In the evening we visited the new geodetic observatory.




Finally, Harald Steen gave a nice presentation on the role of glaciers in the fjord ecosystem.

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20210922 13:05: PhD Margje de Jong

PhD Margje de Jong

22 September 2021

With proud, I present the PhD thesis of Margje de Jong, titled: Breeding in a changing Arctic, physiology and behaviour of barnacle geese.


The thesis is accompagnied by six propositions.

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20210917 11:37: it starts off small

it starts off small

17 September 2021

Christophe Brochard has been developing his own research project as part of a cooperation between the Arctic Centre and Bureau Biota. Now he features in the university newspaper in an article written bij Veerle Neijboer, a student communication who did her research with me on insect diversity in Svalbard.


The orginal website page here.

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20210910 13:00: monitoring birds during construction

Monitoring birds during construction of a radio telescope

10 September 2021

The final publication of our study on birds to monitor potential negative effects during the construction of a radio telescope. This telescope was planned in an area 1500 meter outside Ny-Ålesund. A new road needed to be constructed and the building took place at an relatively undisturbed site. We studied the changes with a team of four people: Børge Moe was the project leader and Svein Arna Hansen, Geir Wing Gabrielsen and Maarten Loonen participated. There have been annual reports in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All reports are in Norwegian.


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20210910 12:00: popular publication in german

Popular publication in German

10 September 2021

In a special issue of the magazine Seevögel of the Vereins Jordsand zum Schutz der Seevögel under der Natur I have written a chapter on the Barnacle Geese from Svalbard. The whole issue is in German.


The whole issue can be downloaded here.

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20210814 08:00: action for climate

action for climate

14 August 2021

In the Frisian regional newspaper Leeuwarder Courant, I am on page 2 and 3 with an interview about my thoughts on the new IPCC report. I am cross. After hopeful moments like the Paris agreement, the court decision that the state of The Netherlands needs to do more against climate change (Urgenda) and the court decision that Shell has its own responsibility to battle climate change (Milieudefensie), I thought things might change. Meanwhile I was observing changes in the Arctic which did not only affect nature but also humans living in the Arctic. Here, climate change is very true and very visible. But the Dutch election for the national parliament was a big disappointment. No change for the better. Climate change was not an issue among the voting population. In a time when climate change is hitting hard, the IPCC was finally able to phrase their knowledge in a sense of urgency. But will it now change for the better?
I am cross. People have not listened to the scientists and ruling politicians have not been able to explain any urgency on this matter.
I am cross as too little progress has been made. The IPCC has formulated our future and even the best scenario is not very good.
I am cross after being emotional about my own observations on climate change.
And then there was Jantien de Boer, who turned my feeling into a newspaper story.


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20210810 12:00: catching geese on Storholmen

catching geese on Storholmen

10 August 2021

We have caught 53 geese on the island Storholmen in the Kongsfjord. I made a time lapse and a 360 video of our work. The first video is a time lapse. We have just caught the geese and are waiting for two hours so they can empty their intestine. After the waiting we put the geese in small plastic boxes and weigh, ring and measure them. Geese without young (with a long primary) are released. Potential parents of the goslings are kept in a pen and will be released together. In the second video you can look around and see what we are doing from closer distance. Use your mouse to move the view and you can even zoom a bit in full screen mode. Enjoy.


Below it is a 360 degrees video. You can move around and zoom in. Best viewed in full screen size.

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20210807 17:45: murder

murder

7 August 2021

Behind the airport there is a lake called Storvannet. August 3 Margje and Annabel counted 35 geese, 6 August Christophe and Annabel saw 54 geese. Time to visit and read rings. When I arrive there are only 12 geese with 5 goslings. I have placed a few wildlife cameras and read the rings. Suddenly I note two arctic skuas attacking a little auk. The pond is too shallow and the auk tries to dive but cannot get under water. Then a fox sprints to the water and walks in the shallow area killing the little auk and taking it away.

Fifteen minutes later another fox attacks the geese on the shore and is able to kill an adult. Yellow AUH, father of two goslings died while defending its young. No wonder that the number of geese in this pond has declined.

Christophe Brochard documented the murder with these wonderful pictures.

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20210806 10:16: exclosures

exclosures

6 August 2021

Years ago, I have build poltsa of 2x2 m2 plots with a fence which keeps the geese and reindeer out. We call this exclosures. Since the exclosing, we follow the vegetation change in these plots and in plots outside the exclosure which have been grazed. The plots have been sampled a lot but the difference is striking. The exclosures have gained 10 centimeter in height. Inside Cardamnine is flowering, a species with pink flowers, which is eaten preferably by geese and reindeer. In de front of the picture, there is an exclosure from 2016 (1 m2) in the former control area and in the back an exclosure from 2003 (4 m2).
Below the control plot which has been always grazed.
The plot below has not been grazed since 2016. The species diversity is biggest.
And finally a plot which has been exclosed in 2003. The plot is fully covered in Equisetum. In a cafetaria expoeriment, this species was the first being eaten by the geese.

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20210805 18:40: flying plastic

flying plastic

5 August 2021

Christophe and Maarten have received project money for a proposal to study microplastics in shallow arctic ponds. Our sampling equipment has no plastic and we wear a signal red coat so any fibers we loose and which contaminate the sample will be recognizable.

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20210804 15:00: pictures from the perfect day

pictures from the perfect day

4 August 2021

The previous post had four 360 degrees videos, but details were sometimes not very clear. But if Christophe Brochard is joining, you get perfect pictures even from far away. Below you can see more details in the icebergs, watch the polar bear, see the kittiwakes in the cliff and a reindeer when we leave the gorge.

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20210804 12:00: a perfect day

a perfect day

14 August 2021

Christophe and Maarten went to Ossian Sars. It was a perfect and spectacular day. A day for 360 degrees videos to show shoolkids with arcticexplorer how the Arctic can be in summer. Below you find a set of videos, which have captured our day.
- boating in beteen ice bergs
- a bear encounter just before we wanted to land
- the spectacular birdclif with unique plants
- a walk through the gorge back to the boat
All these videos are 360 degrees. You can determine which side you want to look by dragging the mouse. And in full view you can zoom in or you can use a VR headset.

Above: It is low tide and the wind has blown all ice against the shallow areas surrounding the island Leirholmen. The glaciers are dying, but the melting ice still offers a spectacular Arctic environment.

Below: We wanted to sample a lake on Leirholmen. We had already checked the island for bears but could not land on the preferred site due to the large amount of ice (see the video above). But we had seen a nice ice-free-beach on the other side. Just when we want to throw the anchor, we see a polar bear. We have to abort our plan on this island, but enjoy the sighting from afar. Unfortunatrely the video hardly shows the bear.


Above: A visit to a bird cliff. You can hear the kittiwakes yelling their name: kittiwake, kittiwake. The murres have jumped already. With half grown young, the amount of fish which the parents have to bring to the cliff is to much for such a bad flyer. The young follow their parents to the fishing grounds at sea.

Below: We leave Ossian Sars and follow a small stream through a spectacular gorge.


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20210803 18:00: speedtest

speedtest

3 August 2021

Christophe mentioned that the upload speed for the cabled internet is excessive. So it is time for a speedtest. I know there is a fiber optic cable to the mainland but how special is this internet speed?

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20210803 15:00: polar bear chased

polar bear chased

3 August 2021

We had a polar bear visiting the village. Margje saw him first while he was at Prins Heinrichøya. The bear was swimming to Ny-Ålesund and started to walk towards the lake Solvatnet. Marco Casula, the station leader of the Italian station made this video.

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20210802 11:45: harvesting grass

harvesting grass

2 August 2021

Mo is harvesting grass for studying the effect of shading on food production for geese. He has been doing this all season. Special is that he has found Isabella to help him. Isabella always makes a clear distinction. Grass has no clear behaviour and is not of interest. But see how she is almost a plant ecologist.

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20210801 16:00: a flabbergasting yacht

a flabbergasting yacht

1 August 2021

Today there is a flabbergasting yacht in the harbour and the people seem to know me. It does not take long to find out as it is another ship with the same name: LARS, named after the story of the little polar bear. The owners of the yacht share a fascination for the arctic and I met them the first time in 2012. The boat has the same name, but has changed from a polar tugboat to a luxurious ship for both the Arctic and the Mediterranean. It was nice to share some passion and to meet people from a different world as mine. They gave the whole team shirts and hats with their logo. Thank you for listening to my stories.

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20210801 11:30: bearded seal

bearded seal

1 August 2021 15:00

On our way to Blomstrand, we pass a bearded seal on an ice flow. It nicely stays on the ice while we pass closeby.
This is a 360 video, where you can change the view with your mouse.
As you can see in the video, a lot of pictures were made. Christophe Brochard gave me the pictures below.

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20210730 14:30: waterfleas

waterfleas

30 July 2021

After seeing the bear, we count the geese from the boat and continue to the last islands: the breøyane. After counting the geese, Christophe samples three lakes to study zooplankton.
In the video below you can see how full the lakes are with waterfleas.
And Christophe also collects desmids by squeezing some moss and algae in a pot.

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20210730 14:00: counting geese

counting geese

30 July 2021

Today, we are counting the number of moulting geese on the islands in the fjord. Mo, Christophe and Maarten are making a big tour with the zodiac.
On Leirholmen, we find a dead barnacle goose killed by a great skua.
On Sigridholmen, we find fresh tracks of a polar bear.
On Gerdøya, alarming arctic terns make us check the southern tip of the island before landing and here we see.....
Christophe has an enormous camera with long lenses and while the bear is far away, he can make these pictures.

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20210729 15:45: Bettina is leaving

Bettina is leaving

29 July 2021 15:45

After 15 month working contineously for the AWIPEV station in a role as station leader, Bettina leaves today back home. In departures of long term citizen, we are saying goodbye with a band called Musik og Slag. The intention is to try a new instrument.

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20210722 15:00: falling ice

falling ice

22 July 2021 15:00

We are passing four glacier fronts during a seabird count in the fjord. We have seen falling ice before, but this time we were close and I had my camera ready. The glacier is the Blomstrand glacier.

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20210721 21:00: fox attacks geese

fox attacks geese

21 July 2021 21:00

On my walk through town, I meet the arctic fox, which is not afraid of me. His focus is on the goslings, which are close. The fox is testing to different groups of geese. This time he does not succeed. This is a 360 video, so you can drag the view in any direction to observe the action.

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20210721 07:00: eggs and young are food

eggs and young are food

21 July 2021

I am following the fate of arctic tern nests and today is a sad day. Around town the arctic fox has been very efficient removing many nests. Inside the tankyard a glaucous gull has done the same. On my wildlife camera I have seen it happen near the dogyard. The first picture the tern is incubating, so you can recognize the position of the nest. On the second picture the fox has found the nest.

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20210720 11:25: effect of shading

effect of shading

20 July 2021

Mo is measuring the grasses in his shading experiment. He is now working together with Emanuele Pallozzi, who has an instrument to measure photosynthetic activity at different light levels. This is a unique and relevant addition to the experiment. Hopefully it works on the tiny grasses.
Here you see a bit of the landscape, even with geese on the bank of lake Solvatnet to the right of the picture.

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20210719 15:00: red-throated diver

red-throated diver

19 July 2021

The red-throated diver (or red-throated loon as they call them in the US), can make beautiful melancholic sounds. Here we have two beautiful pictures made by Christophe Brochard. He has a new camera and is able to catch all action in enormous sharpness.
On the way back, Christophe photographs some other beautiful sea birds. This is a little auk (US: dovekie) taking off while running on the water, similar to the diver in the picture above.

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20210719 14:00: skua attacks

skua attacks

19 July 2021

The Arctic Skua is an impressive bird. Here, it is the top predator among the birds. It feeds on other birds and a pair is able to kill adults of common eiders or barnacle geese. They also have an impressive defense if you get close to their nest or young. Christoph is hit twice by the feet. from now onwards, he bends deeper if the Great Skua (in the New World called Great Jaeger) comes close.
In Kongsfjorden many birds are ringed. Also this skua. With a ring yellow XX and a geolocator on the other legg to register the migration route.

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20210717 12:00: hunting for desmids

hunting for desmids

19 July 2021

Desmids are a group of algae which are very sensitive to environmental conditions. In The Netherlands, the species of nutrient-poor lakes have become extinct due to eutrophication. In the Arctic, they might persist. We are sampling desmids in all the shallow ponds.
Our harvest of today.

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20210716 18:00: Making shade in the Arctic

Making shade in the Arctic

16 July 2021

A contribution by Mo Verhoeven

This summer, we are studying the effect of cloud cover on grass production. On the first photo you can see the experimental clouds and on the second you can observe the current trend: longer leaves in the clouded plots. Is this because of light stress or because the clouds keep the grass warm? I have my guess, but the lab analysis will have to tell.

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20210716 13:50: polar bear encounter

polar bear encounter

16 July 2021 13:50

We are collecting cameras, which we have placed on nests of barnacle geese. A nice day to visit some islands. But while moving to the next island we spot a polar bear.
Another 360 video, where you can look around and see the bear yourself.

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20210716 10:30: lake phenology

lake phenology

16 July 2021

Last year, it took quite long before we saw waterfleas in lake Solvatnet. The year before it was full with waterfleas from the beginning. That is why I am now every week taking a lake water sample. Fix it with lugol and store it for later analysis. Today Christophe accompanied me and made these pictures.

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20210715 22:00: wildlife is close

wildlife is close

15 July 2021 22:00

Mikael Sætre has helped us from 21 June to 12 July. He always had his camera with him and he took wonderful pictures which he shared with me today. Now he will start modelling the goose population data as master student in Trondheim.
The first is the redthroated diver nesting in lake Solvatnet. The next is a reindeer calf south of town. An arctic fox puppy peaking out of its den at Krikjefjellet and finally whalrosses at Sarstangen.

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20210715 15:00: glacier calving

glacier calving

15 July 2021

We are counting sea birds in the fjord by following the coast line for 62 kilometer. In the 360-video, we pass a bearded seal and see ice falling off the glacier.
Can you find the calving on the video? Use full screen and move with your mouse (left button pressed in windows). With your mouse wheel you can zoom in or out. The massive ice fall is just visible.

Christophe Brochard has filmed some of it with a long lens. This is a normal video.

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20210712 15:00: arctic fox attack

arctic fox attack

12 July 2021 15:00

Mark Goldner has joined geologist Julie Brigham-Grette for the second time, to reach out to school kids about arctic studies. He filmed this video from the top of Sverdrup station. An arctic fox tries to steal a gosling from the geese, but the geese are able to defend their chicks. I saw this also a day earlier at lake Solvatnet. It does not happen often that a fox is so afraid. We have seen this fox already killing an adult. But at this moment it seems that the geese manage to fend off the fox.
The fox is coming from the den at Krikjefjellet. It is wearing a collar with a satellite transmitter which does not work anymore. The fox has also coloured tags in its left ear. You might see them. Red on the front and light blue on the back.

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20210712 10:00: polar bear mom

polar bear mom

12 July 2021 10:00

Mo discovered this morning from the lounge a polar bear on Prins Heinrichsøya. He ran down on his socks to the dining area and made a noisy entrance almost falling from the stairs. For Mikael and Simen, who were almost ready for departure, it was their only bear sighting.
Fieke Rader, working as engineer at the AWIPEV observatory, made some pictures from the roof top of the building. It was a mother with a cub, passing behind the village at large distance. Note how the mother preferred walking on snow instead of stones.
Mark Goldner is an American teacher, which has come for the second time with Julie Brigham-Grette. He made the video below.

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20210708 15:00: study arctic tern chicks

study arctic tern chicks

8 July 2021 15:00

In Ny-Aalesund, there is a fox-free area around the petrol tanks where arctic tern nests survive the predation by arctic foxes. It is a unique place to study growth of arctic tern chicks and to assess feeding conditions if.......
you are OK with being attacked all the time. The parents pick in my hat but also shit upon me. I smell fishy after my return. All for good science.

The video is 360 degrees, made for arcticexplorer.nl. When the video is running, you can drag the view to left or right, up or down. With the mouse wheel you can zoom in or out. Have a look at my hat and the sky, to see the attacking terns. Zoom in to my hand when I am ringing a newly hatched tern chick. And see the nests with eggs, marked with a green coloured stone, on the ground when I check them.

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20210703 13:59: goslings

goslings

3 July 2021 13:59

Goslings everywhere. A lot of work to monitor hatching of inividuals with coulrrings. Mikael Saetre took these pictures.

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20210702 20:39: hatching terns

hatching terns

2 July 2021 20:37

The arctic terns are hatching. Mikael Saetre took this nice picture. Bring more food!

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20210702 13:00: weather balloon launch

weather balloon launch

2 July 2021

Another 360 degrees video, which is now made by a professional camera. It is a project of arcticexplorer.nl The whole process is taped, but here is just a small clip of the actual balloon launch. You can move to another position by moving your mose with the left button pressed over the video.

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20210630 12:00: AWIPEV team

AWIPEV team

30 June 2021

I received the official picture of the new AWIPEV team. From left to right Greg Tran, Fieke Rader and Yohann Dulong.
The previous team is still around this summer. From left to right Bettina Haupt, Lucas Blijdorp and Sandra Graßl

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20210630 10:00: more weblogs

more weblogs

30 June 2021

Sometimes there are Dutch people hidden in the village. This season it is Fieke Rader who works at AWIPEV, the German-French consortium as an engineer in the AWI-observatory. She has her own blog in Dutch and English www.arcticreporter.com.
From left to right the AWIPEV team 2021-2022: Gregory Tran, Fieke Rader and Yohann Dulong, during a training in Brest.
Other blogs:
https://blogs.helmholtz.de/79-grad-nord/
https://www.pixophil.fr/blog/
And there are pages with news items like:
https://nyalesundresearch.no/news/

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20210629 11:00: students from NTNU

students from NTNU

30 June 2021

We have two students from NTNU Trondheim, who join us from 21 June to 12 July. Mikael Saetre will continue with a master project to model the goose population. This work was started by Kate Layton-Matthews and is supervised by Brage Bremset Hansen. Simen Karlsen is with him as polar bear guard. He is also a student who studied sparrows during his master. They are hosted by the Norwegian Polar Institute. Main goal is to learn our data collection. In the meanwhile they are great help.
Above Mikael, below Simen.

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20210628 14:20: minister opens building

minister opens service building

28 June 2021

Today the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn, is visiting Ny-Ålesund with a delegation of 5 people, to open the renovated service building. The oldest part of the building had been sinking in the permafrost. The floors have been temporarily removed and the building is now standing on bedrock. This building is important for the community as we have our meals here and Kings Bay has its offices on the top floor.
The Governor of Svalbard Lars Fause, the director of the Norwegian Polar Institute Ole Arve Misund and the chairman of the board of Kings Bay, Tor Instanes, have also come to this village. To the left in the picture below, the Governor is photographing.
As chair of the Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee NySMAC, they have asked me to say a few words at the opening. Later this afternoon, I have a 30 minute conversation with the delegation.

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20210627 17:32: gardening

gardening

27 June 2021

This evening I discover the garden of Christer.

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20210627 14:25: polar bears

polar bears

27 juni 2021

Fifteen minutes after I saw the Italian trio walking to their laboratory, there is an alarm. They see polar bears passing the village. Margje was able to make a picture and after improving the exposure it looks like this. The first bears we see and imedeately three of them. A mother with two cubs.
But in reality it was very foggy and below is the original picture. Note that the mother bear has a spraypainted number 67 on its back. This is not done in Norway, maybe Russia?

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20210627 14:15: italian air defense

italian air defense

27 June 2021

While the terns are dive bombing on my hat, the Italians have to pass some nests on their way to Gruvebadet, their laboratory. It is a surrealistic view.

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20210627 13:57: arctic tern nests

arctic tern nests

27 June 2021

I am checking arctic tern nests in town. There has been predation by arctoic fox, but I also find several new nests. Ther terns make simple nests, but still there is a lot of variation. Not only the nest cup but also the colour of the eggs varies from brown to green.
It is not easy to work with arctic terns. They are attacking me fiercely.

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20210626 18:00: midsummerparty

midsummerparty

26 June 2021

Every year, we celebrate a midsummerparty. There is a theme and we find clothes to matchg the theme. This year the theme is pirates. Below is a short voideo where a choir sings pirate songs.

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20210624 08:30: indian polar studies

Polar studies from India

24 June 2021

Today is the official inauguration of the International Centre for Polar Studies (ICPS) at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. For the opening, an international seminar of polar studies (ISPS-2021) is organised in which I have the honour to participate at 18:30 IST or 15:00 Spitsbergen time. I am looking forward to this.

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20210622 15:00: new exclosures

new exclosures

22 June 2021 15:00

We are building new exclosures to keep grazing away from the vegetation. This simple method has been used by me at several places and has been a powerful manipulation to attract all kinds of research (see a search for the string exclosures). I have gotten permission to build 6 exclosures in a new area heavily grazed by geese, on the east bank of lake Solvatnet. The exclosures are simple 2 x 2 m2 surrounded by 0.5 m high hexanet chickenwire. Each exclosure has an open area with a similar surface as a control area. At thiisbukta we created a similar set-up at Thiisbukta, west of town. The exclosures in that are have gone through massive changes. Let us see what happens here. There are now 6 new exclosures. Mikael Andreas Saetre (with camera) and Simen Christen Karlsen are students from NTNU Trondheim University, who are helping me for three weeks. Mikael will continue developing the goose models with Kate Layton-Matthews.

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20210621 12:00: snowmelt

snowmelt

21 June 2021

By Mo Verhoeven
I am new to Arctic ecology, but I have been reading a lot about it. In this field, the most widely used and talked about environmental variable are the temperature and the date of snowmelt. We have therefore kept a close look on the snowmelt and I have been surprised by how patchy it was across the area.
Picture above 9 June 2021 20:11, picture below 11 June 2021 20:13
Picture above 11 June 2021 20:13, picture below 18 June 2021 18:17

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20210621 07:20: snow melt

snow melt

21 June 2021 07:20

The snow is melting. It is officially the longest day of the year. We are already in permanent sunshine, but it means for us that the elevation of the sun path is highest, while the sun turns above our head.
On the website you can view the panorama every moment by clicking here.

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20210620 14:00: more VR videos

more VR videos

20 June 2021

Six more try-outs with my simple VR camera. They are clearly far from professional, but let us say they are informative. And you can decide yourself where you want to focus. Start the video and pull the focus with your mouse and a pressed left button. Enjoy.

In the video below, I am showing some stuff laying around in the front of our house. It starts with a life-trap for an arctic fox, a nest box for a snowbunting, a skull and antler of a reindeer and a rocket which was fired from here and fell back on the tundra.

A visit to the information centre, which is part of the museum. It shows the research happening in this town. I explain in Dutch.

The museum, focussing on a change from coal mining village to science village. Explanation in Dutch.

The top floor with stories on the race for the north pole. Story in Dutch.

A room about living in this science village

A meeting with reindeer

So what do I do wrong? The stitches between the two lenses are of poor quality. The start screen does show a stitch. The pixel density of the videos is low as you zoom in when the video is displayed as 360 degrees. I made the distance to the camera to far. Best is to work close to the camera. The sound is quite good, even under windy conditions. Let us hope that the professional cameras sent to us for the arctic explorer project have less of these flaws.

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20210619 21:30: polar politics

polar geopolitics

19 June 2021

I have been interviewed by Eric Paglia before, and he has used the interview as part of an interesting paper. During the quarantine on our way to Svalbard, he again interviews me about a recent paper by Thorbjørn Pedersen which reflects on Ny-Ålesund.
I am not trained in international geopolitics and I am only giving a personal view on personal observations, but I am very happy with the result.
You can go to the podcast by clicking here or on the area below.


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20210619 11:00: arctic explorer

arctic explorer

19 juni 2021


The SEES.nl expedition generates fantastic new projects, such as www.arcticexplorer.nl. Today we have been updated on their progress. Due to COVID, the expedition has been postponed two years to 2022, but www.arcticexplorer.nl has developed further, with some professional partners. They will bring the north pole and science into the class room by using virtual reality. The kids go on expedition.
I will receive a 360 degrees camera for making videos. In the meantime I made a trail, but the real thing will be far more professional (see below).


Dit is een eerste 360 graden video, waarin je kunt rondkijken door een virtual reality bril of door met je muis en een ingedrukte linker muisknop over de video te bewegen.

www.arcticstation.nl

  

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20210616 19:45: 360 video

360 video

16 June 2021

Trying something new, with my 360 camera. Press down the left mouse button and pul with your mouse the view to another position. Find Mo and Maarten on this video.


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20210616 14:30: photo-plots

photo-plots

16 June 2021 14:30

For the third year, I have started the cameras to take every 10 minutes a photo of a plot with Dryas flowers. These data are for Toke H&oslah;ye van Århus University. He will study insect pollinators and phenology.
Earlier posts on this setup were in 2019 and 2020.

We are early this year. The leaves of Dryas look dead, but soon the plant will pump material from the roots to the seemingly dead leaves and the leaves will get green again.

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20210613 23:00: european football

european football

13 June 2021 23:00

The Netherlands has won the first game against Ukraine in the European Cup with 3-2. We have been watching in an international group wearing the Dutch orange clothing.

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20210612 13:00: storholmen

storholmen

12 June 2021 14:00

Storholmen is the biggest island in the fjord and usually with many goose and common eider nests. It is a beautiful sunny day, but due to the late season with lots of snow, the number of nests on the island is low. We count this first day 229 goose nests and average clutch size is only 3.0 eggs.

We take pictures of the clutch to measure infestation rates with nest fleas. This nest is heavily infected.

Several nests have different sets of eggs.

This might be egg dumping by another female. Here it is clear as the extra green egg is from a common eider duck.

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20210610 15:00: first island visit

first island visit

9 June 2021 15:00

Tomorrow the weather forecast is not so nice. So today Margje, Annabel and Mo are going to Prins Heinrichøya to check the breeding geese. They found only 23 nests and only clutch sizes up to 3 eggs.

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20210610 12:30: solar eclipse

solar eclipse

10 June 2021 12:30


Only afterwards, I found out about the solar eclipse. On Spitsbergen the sun was more covered than in The Netherlands. Pictures from Spitsbergen, I got from the facebook account of Greg Pixophill and Christelle Guesnon.
Below the timing in The Netherlands and a picture from the internet taken at maximum eclipse.

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20210608 14:00: rifle training

rifle training

8 June 2021 14:00

When shooting starts, the red flag needs to be in the top of the mast.
We have shot 3 times 4 bullets with a rifle and are now testing a flare gun.
And back to town. Sometimes the snow is knee deep.

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20210608 09:00: home sweet home

home sweet home

8 June 2021 09:00

We arrived at 20:00 yesterday and had our safety briefing in the AWIPEV station. I feel home again in the hut London 2.
I even found a picture of the kids who have been helping me in the past.
Reindeer and geese are close to the house, but the geese seem not to have much fat.

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20210607 15:00: by boat

by boat

7 June 2021 15:00

A fire man in Ny-Ålesund needed to go to the hospital and is evacuated by the helicopter. Now the plane cannot fly without a new fireman in Ny-Ålesund. A fast boat is bringing this fireman and 11 more people can join him. Unfortunately the weather is foggy and the scenery is lacking. But in a split of a second we see 5 walrusses putting their heads high to see what is making so much noise.

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20210606 23:30: longyearbyen grows

longyearbyen grows

6 June 2021 23:20

There is a lot of building activity in Longyearbyen. The new flats are build on the river banks and are 3 and four stories high. On the left side of the street in the picture below, you can still see the old type of houses, only with one floor.
The town is moving towards the river, because an avalanche has made part of the town dangerous. Houses are removed and snow fences are built on the mountain.
Polar bears are everywhere.
and snow scooters are numerous, but stored as it is the end of the scooter season. The snow is melting.

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20210606 14:00: flight to spitsbergen

flight to spitsbergen

6 juni 2021


The weather is beautiful, when we approach Spitsbergen. Lots of snow in Reindalen. The video shows our passing of Longyearbyen.


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20210605 18:00: team introduction

team introduction

5 June 2021

With this video, we introduce the first team


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20210604 12:00: quarantine

quarantine

4 June 2021

Our trip to Svalbard required 10 days quarantine in Oslo. After 7 days,we have been tested with an antigen-quick test and a PCR test and could have continued. But when we booked, the details of the quarantine were not clear and we booked our next flight after 11 days to be sure.
Our stay in a quarantine hotel was subsidized (NOK 500 while NOK 1600 in 2020) but the lockdown was quite strict. Our meals were brought to our rooms and we had to report times in and out of the hotel. There was a sign that the police would be called as soon as we were away longer than 2 hours. We were two times called and asked about our knowledge of the rules.

Luckily there was a nice bit of forest close to the hotel with a lake where we could swim. With a stiff walk we could also visit Norways largest prehistoric mount, a grave of a viking king.


May 26 we flew to Norway. June 6 our trip continues to Svalbard to Longyearbyen and on June 7 we will fly the last leg in a small propeller plane to Ny-Ålesund. The next day a safety training and our fieldwork can start.
We will continue to report field trips in our website log, and register when we leave and retun from the village. It seems a late spring on Svalbard. I am curious if the snow has disappeared and when the geese have started nesting.

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20210521 12:00: change in terrestrial biodiversity

change in terrestrial biodiversity

21 May 2021

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna CAFF has produced a new report on terrestrial biodiversity. It summarizes what we know in the light of climate change and natural variability.

www.arcticstation.nl

  

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20210520 12:00: arctic climate update

Arctic Climate Change Update 2021

20 May 2021

A new report from the working group of the Arctic Council AMAP on the fast changes happening in the Arctic. A document for policy makers.

www.arcticstation.nl

  

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20210516 12:00: weather and climate

Weather and Climate

16 May 2021

In the international Arctic newspaper icepeople.net appeared a news article on the new long-term averages in Svalbard.

Voor mij een reden om wat gegevens bij elkaar te zoeken met behulp van de website seklima.met.no/observations. Dat heeft geleid tot de volgende grafieken.

Omdat ik altijd in de maanden juni, juli en augustus op Spitsbergen ben heb ik de gemiddelden genomen over die periode voor gemiddelde dagtemperatuur en de totale hoeveelheid neerslag. De temperatuur vertoont een duidelijke toename. Die is in de zomer in het Arctische gebied veel minder dan in de winter, maar bedraagt toch nog steeds 1.5 graden over de dertig jaar.
Het nieuwe langjarig gemiddelde over 1991 tot en met 2020 is 4.4 graden Celsius. Als je die lijn in de grafiek denkt, dan zie je dat het getal nu al verouderd is. Voor 2021 zou je een gemiddelde temperatuur van boven de 5 grade verwachten.

Voor neerslag is er wel variatie, maar geen duidelijke trend in deze periode.

Nu kwam ik op twitter onderstaande kaart tegen. Al enkele weken is het koud in Nederland en het lijkt ook koud op Spitsbergen. Deze kaart laat prachtig zien hoe de polar vortex zorgt voor sterk wisselende temperaturen op dezelfde breedtegraad.

De Arctische oceaan is ook relatief warm en het pakijs is ook niet veel voor de tijd van het jaar.
Lees verder onder de kaart.
Finland en noordwest Rusland zijn extreem warm. Noordoost Canada is koud, de kust van de Stille Oceaan zijn warm en in Siberië is het koude weer ook ver zuidelijk. De gevolgen van de polar vortex veranderingen zijn dit jaar erg duidelijk.
Eerder werd al in Nederland het gevoel van een elfstedentocht plotseling veranderd in warm lenteweer. Deze meanderende polar vortex lijkt een gevolg van klimaatverandering, maar is nauwelijks te voorspellen en zeker nog niet goed genoeg begrepen. Maak je borst maar nat.

Nu werd ik wel benieuwd wat ik dit seizoen kan verwachten.

Hier heb ik de gemiddelde temperatuur in de eerste dagen van mei over de laatste 30 jaar op een rij gezet. Hoewel het nu nog koud is op Spitsbergen (vandaag -5 graden Celsius) en er 46 cm sneeuw ligt, is het toch nog niet uitzonderlijk koud voor de tijd van het jaar. De weersverwachting zegt dat de temperatuur voor het eerst op 27 mei boven het vriespunt komt. Maar het is dit jaar zeker niet uitzonderlijk warm.

Ik hoop op 6 juni ter plekke te zijn. Dan verschijnt er meer nieuws in de weblog.

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20210430 12:00: royal decoration

Royal decoration

30 April 2021

The mayor of Groningen gave a little speech before my wife attached the Royal Decoration: Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. The ceremony was small and I could not arrange a party due to covid, but the nice thing was that the ceremony was streamed professionally and my son Janwillem recorded it from Denmark. The speech was really nice, but in Dutch. If you want to read more in English go to https://www.rug.nl/news/2021/04/maarten-loonen-appointed-officer-of-the-order-of-orange-nassau where there is an English version of the official text.

The session can be seen on YouTube via this link https://youtu.be/pkCMtgdbI4Q


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20210414 12:30: avalanche danger

Avalanche Danger

14 April 2021

In Longyearbyen, the past two weeks there has been a serious avalanche danger. The English language newspaper icepeople.net reported daily on the developments. It was code red on 11 and 11 April and code orange on 12 April. Normally this is the snowscooter season, with a lot of outdoor activity. But now people had to stay inside.
The amount of avalanches is increasing in recent years and is a consequence of climate change. Especially rain events in winter, which did not happen so much before in this area with desert amount of precipitation, now causes avalanches and landslides. The whole village of Longyearbyen is rebuild after the first avalanche which killed two people and destroyed a whole street.
Note the dates on the pages in icepeople.net. They are all in the last two weeks only. You can read all the pages at the free website of the newspaper.


Below you can see how the weather peaked above freezing in the last month, creating instability in the snow pack.

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20210413 10:30: geopolictics and science

Geopolitics and Science

13 April 2021

In 2020, a scientific paper about Ny-Ålesund by Eric Paglia did discuss geopolitical aspects of international science. Now there is a new publication by Thorbjbørn Pedersen, which is quite provoking on the Norwegian scientific policy in Svalbard.

Pedersen T. (2021) The politics of research presence in Svalbard. The Polar Journal. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/2154896X.2021.1883900

In this paper he adresses the visibility of non-Norwegian financed research as a safety risk for Norway, when national symbols are portrayed. Wooden shoes, a foreign flag during festivities or statues of Chinese lions are not discussing the sovereignty of Norway over Svalbard. They are simply showing foreign investments in an international setting of science. But because there have been new regulations written down in a Norwegian strategy for Ny-Ålesund and because many countries still question the Norwegian view on the exclusive economic zone of 200 miles around Svalbard, a reader might conclude that there is a geopolitical tension for foreign science on Svalbard. That feels a bit strange in the scientific community. Fortunately, the financial support by the Norwegian government for improved cooperation among scientists is very positive.


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20210329 12:00: essays by ramsey nasr

essays by Ramsey Nasr

29 March 2021

  In 2013 and 2014, Ramsey Nasr has visited the station. Being in the Arctic he got inspiration for a perspective on his human life. He already mentioned it in this video. The trip, alone on the tundra did the rest.
In his new book with three essays on the time during the covid-19 pandemic, he dissects the corona and climate crisis as two disasters that are fundamentally linked. Step by step he questions our entire Western way of life. Using artists such as Boccaccio, Rilke and Van Gogh, Nasr makes a plea to radically rethink our place on earth and our idea of ​​happiness, not as a vague ideal, but purely out of preservation. The booklet is therefore, in addition to a penetrating cry from the heart, a political call to revolt. Against the chaos of our time, Ramsey places an urgent but hopeful voice for a country and world in crisis.

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20210329 10:00: grazed tundra

grazed tundra

29 March 2021

Rolf Stange is a polar guide who has written several guide books in multiple languages on Spitsbergen. He also holds a very informative website https://www.spitsbergen-svalbard.com, where you can order these books. In 2009, I was send with him on a trip to Antarctica (website in Dutch).
Today, we discussed the effect of grazing on the vegetation. I send him a few pictures and he returned two nice pictures making the statement. He lifted a fish box lying on the tundra and the gras underneath was much more biomass. Of course warming might have helped too. But my exclosures show these effects too.
Do realize that in most cases, the arctic tundra is a grazed tundra and it would differ in biomass and species composition if grazing had not happened!
The pictures I had sent:

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20210222 12:00: flora of Svalbard

flora of Svalbard

22 February 2021

Christoph Brochard of Bureau Biota, gave a presentation on the plants,he photographed on Spitsbergen. He also explains a lot about the location and the research he is doing. Unfortunately it is all in Dutch.



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20210204 11:00: lecture for indian researchers

lecture for indian researchers

4 February 2021

I am deeply honoured for the invitation to give a lecture for my Indian colleagues, i know so well from Ny-Ålesund. The lecture is an invitation from CUSAT-NCPOR Cochin The University of Science and Technology and the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research in India.

The session can be seen on YouTube via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAzZwe3oRrQ&feature=emb_err_woyt

The organizers have made a nice poster.


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20210126 12:00: climate adaptation summit the hague

climate adaptation summit the hague

25-26 January 2021

The next week, after the climate adaptation week in Groningen, there was a high level political conference in The Hage about climate adaptation. The website www.cas2021.com/ has an overview of all activities and videos can be found on CAS TV.

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20210122 13:00: global adaptation week groningen

global adaptation week groningen

22 January 2021

Groningen has a week long activities to discuss climate adaptation. We are very proud on the Global Centre for Adaptation which has an important hub for knowledge and innovation in his town. The whole week there was a virtual environment in which you could fly around to visit all activities: the climate adaptation week

The virtual environment was not for everybody easy to master. But there is a new entry point to watch everything here.

I was invited to give a lecture at the session Open University which is recorded. I spoke in Dutch but this version has subtitles.

The presantetaion is alo embedded in this Q&A session.


Here I want to also point to my colleague from Groningen Linda Steg, who is studying environmental psychology and contributes to the IPCC.

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20210104 11:00: record world temperature in 2020

record world temperature in2020

4 January 2021


Last year 2020 was record warm. We could have expected this, based on the trend, but shocking are the consequences which you can see compiled in the video below.


The graph below is part of the video and shows the global temperature trend. Global temperature has increased 1.2 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial time. In the Netherlands, is goes faster and the temperature increase since1900 is 3 degrees Celsius.
This year, new NORMAL values,have been produced for comparisons of weather versus climate. These normal values span a period of 30 years and are updated every 30 years. In the Netherlands, I started a discussion as these new values hide climate change. In the average 10 very warm years are now included and 10 colder years are out. The national news gave me a platform in Dutch to state this, and the people presenting the weather have agreed to talk about longterm average and not use the word normal as this could be misinterpreted.


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20210102 14:37: looking closer into shit

looking closer to shit

2 January 2021

Dagmara Wojtanowicz is a photographer and nature guide, who is working in the kitchen to have a job during the corona pandemics. While she is working among scientists, she builds a portfolio for her photography. At the end of my stay last summer,I gave a presentation for people in the village which focused on goose shit.Months later, she has created the news item below.

After a few seconds, you can see the titlepage below. Slide he picture up and you can see more pictures and read the text.
You can view her paper in a new tab by clicking here.

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20201208 14:25: postdoc position

Postdoc position

8 December 2020

At the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen, we have an interesting postdoc position available. The postdoc will work on the project SVALUR, which is organised by the Belmont Forum. It is a 30 month position and can start immediately. Deadline for applications is 4 January 2021.
You can apply via the special buton on this page
https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/work-with-us/job-opportunities/?details=00347-02S000800P

open the document in a new tab


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20201111 12:00: reindeer jaws

reindeer jaws

11 November 2020

In 1977, the REES-expedition collected reindeer jaws on Edgeøya and analysed age of death in this natural population without predators. Discovering this collection inspired me to a new expedition which happened in 2015 SEES.nl. Based on this collection Mathilde van den Berg and Canan Çakirlar started a student project in the research mater archaeology, presented their findings at a conference in Barcelona and now we have a paper accepted in J. Osteoarchaeology. Great work.

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20200901 12:00: A pinhole camera's diary

A pinhole camera's diary

1 September 2020



Udo Prinsen published a creative essay in a special issue of SCOPE about art and design, with pinhole camera pictures of scientific stations and wildlife camera pictures made by Maarten Loonen. His project was named TouchBase. The article can be viewed below.


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20200807 14:00: arctic amplification

Arctic amplification

7 August 2020

Today is a sunny day. With the website https://ocdp.met.no/ I was able to make some nice graphs about climate change in Ny-Ålesund. They are given below.
The average daily temperature has risen 0.89 degree Celsius per decade with an average temperature of -0.4 degrees. Precipitation has risen too with on average 41.8 mm per decade and an average of 437.1 mm. Many years the increase in temperature and precipitation happened mainly in the winter period. But the last three years summer temperatures are also clearly affected. It is getting warmer and wetter in the Arctic.
Above daily mean temperature, below daily precipitation.

As presented earlier, normal values are changing and don't show the increase in temperature clearly. You can see that in the two graphs below (daily average temperature and precipitation pattern over the year) with two periods for the calculation of normal values. The normal values from 1961 to 1990 are now in use, but next year it will be normal values calculated over the period 1991-2020.

Than climate change disappears from the daily presentations!

Above daily mean temperature, below daily precipitation.

With thanks to Ketil Tunheim of the Norwegian meteorological Institute (DMI), who also pointed out to me the website https://klimaservicesenter.no.


Sea ice coverage over the Arctic is now equal to the record year 2012. The next period the decrease will depend on ice floor thickness, wind and storms. We keep following the daily changes at https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/.

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20200806 20:30: swimming in icy water

Swimming in icy water

6 August 2020

What about a swim in the fjord. A small group decides to accept the cold. They do not really swim, but it energizes.
A day earlier, I was just to late to see them dipping, but still made this photo.

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20200806 13:50: our view

Our view

6 August 2020

We live in a magnificent landscape. Despite all glaciers retreating and becoming considerable smaller, the landscape is still impressive. This is our view to the east. Jon Leithe took this panorama and shared it with me. Some geese on the lake Solvatn and a male reindeer resting on the lake shore after eating all goose faeces from geese eating grass (see this paper).

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20200805 15:00: searching ringed geese

Searching ringed geese

5 August 2020

We are going to Gerdøya and will try to read the rings of barnacle geese which are moulting on this island. A full boat with 4 people and two bird hides. Catharina and Margje will sit in a hut with a telescope. Tessa will walk around the island and I will keep the geese on the island with the boat. The video is made during our travel to and from the island.
Above, it is a YouTube video, which starts by clicking on the picture. Below is a selfie with from left to right Maarten Loonen, Margje de Jong, Tessa Viglezio and Catharina Uth.

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20200805 11:30: soil microbiology

Soil microbiology

5 August 2020

In my exclosures, microbiologists from the University of Tromsø are studying the difference in grazed and ungrazed tundra. Today, the team arrived in Ny-Ålesund. From left to right Mette Svenning, Kathrin Bender and Alexander Tveit. They are standing behind exclosure 5 at Thiisbukta.

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20200804 14:23: fourth goose catch

Fourth goose catch

4 August 2020

We still have to attach 4 GPS neck collars. So we plan a fourth barnacle goose catch. It is a foggy morning but we locate the geese behind the village and are able to bring them to the nets.

We get help from the local biologist of Sysselmannen: Fredrik Samuelsson. He helped as a student with a UNIS catch on Storholmen several years ago.

It is always a nice moment when we can release the geese again.
Two pictures from preparation and cleaning. Margje and Catharina bring extra cages to the catching site and Tessa is driving a little car Goupil or Ice cream for transportation of catching equipment.

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20200803 17:00: SEES.nl expedition

SEES.nl expedition

3 August 2020

I feel nostalgic. It is wonderful to work here in Ny-Ålesund, but originally I would be now on expedition with 60 scientists and 60 tourists to Edgeøya, a remote area on the east side of Svalbard. We wanted to repeat the successful 2015 exedition, but the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the plans. Hopefully we can do it next year. In the meantime, I show here some of the best videos made during the previous expedition and during a preparation meeting in January 2020.
All in Dutch unfortunately.
For more than a week, we were every day on the Dutch national news with the items below.
Noordpoolexpeditie
Beauty compilation
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 1:
Piet Oosterveld
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 2:
Deaprture
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 3:
Oil drilling
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 4a:
Beauty shots
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 4b:
Reunion at Kapp lee
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 5:
Weatherstation on a glacier
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 6:
Return
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 7:
Early morning news
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 8:
News for kids about polar bear poop
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 9:
Kids news
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 10:
Debate
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 11:
Bert Koenders
Noordpoolexpeditie deel 12:
Toerism on the North Pole



In the beginning of 2020, we organised a symposium in Groningen about the SEES.nl expeditions, not knowing that we would not be able to do it this year. Below an impression on the presentations of that day.
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 1:
Ko de Korte
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 2:
Frigga Kruse
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 3:
René van der Wal
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 4:
Martine van den Heuvel-Greve
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 5:
Maarten Loonen
Publieksdag Spitsbergen
25 januari 2020
presentation 6:
Jan Belgers

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20200803 14:57: plant lover

Plant lover

3 August 2020

Catharina Uth likes plants. After finishing her lake experiment, she is really looking forward to help with vegetation studies. We measure the grass growth while Margje and Isabella observe the geese over our heads. Than we describe the vegetation in the exclosures and the control plots in Thiisbukta. To get there, we have to pass some aggressive arctic terns. They bomb Catharina and I can sample the poop for some colleagues.

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20200801 12:35: third goose catch

Third barnacle goose catch

1 August 2020

Today, we start catching goose families. We still have 9 GPS neck collars to attach to specific families. The geese are cloe to the London houses and while the whole team is discussing possibilities, it happens outside. The geese are so close, that it is a simple catch in foggy weather. Than we have to wait for two hours so the geese emty their intestines and we can ring and measure them without their faeces all over the place.
The weather improves and it is warm. Two geese have problems with the heat, but after the catch we all observe them healthy and fine.
Standing for two hours, to watch the geese in the pen and make sure that they do not harm themselves on the net. The ground is becoming green from goose faeces.

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20200730 13:00: second catch

Second barnacle goose catch

30 July 2020

For the second time this year, we have caught moulting barnacle geese. We collected them by canoe (Catharina) and boat (Maarten) from Brandal laguna and slowly brought them to the nets at Thiisbukta. There the rest of the team was waiting to bring them on shore. We caught 40 geese.
The primaries are growing 7 mm a day. I show this for some pictures.
And a time-lapse video of our ringing.

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20200729 20:00: polar bear eats seal

Polar bear eats seal

29 July 2020

A polar bear has caught a seal close to Prins Heinrichøya and is eating it on shore for almost three hours. The bear is about 700 meters outside town, but with the telescopes and long lenses it can be seen clearly.

Grégory Tran made the picture above and posted it on facebook.

We have several telsescopes and were observing the bear together.

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20200727 14:00: seabird count

Seabird count

27 July 2020

A beautiful day in the fjord, while we count the seabirds and geese along the shore. Lukas drives the boat and Greg is enjoying. Maarten and Catharina count the birds and Tessa is making notes.
We meet de Norwegian icebreaker Kronprins Hakon in the fjord. The boat is studying the glacial run-off from the Kongsbreen glacier.

The water coming from the glacier is full with sediment. the run-off floats on top as it is cold fresh water floating on heavy salt water.
Greg will be leaving soon. Tonight is his farewell party. He was the last year stationleader for AWIPEV. Next year he will come back for another year.
The bird counting team.
On approach of the village, I took this picture of the Netherlands Arctic Station, the two yellow houses in the middle of the row of four houses, originally from Ny-London.

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20200725 13:00: final sampling mesocosms

Final sampling mesocosms

25 July 2020

Today, we are ending the mesocosm experiment. It has run for 10 days and shows nice trends. This was the third time we ran the experiment as the first and second seemed to have to much droppings creating mortality in the daphnia.
Different treatments. Picture left only phytoplankton, picture right phyto- and zooplankton. In the picture from left to right no droppings, 1 gram of droppings, 2 gram of droppings and 3 grams of droppings. Both pictures are heated treatments.

Catharina takes a sample of phytoplankton from each mesocosm.
Tessa conserves the samples in lugol, making a colourful collection.

A water sample is also filtered for nutrient analysis and zooplankton is collected after filtering it over a 35 micron net.

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20200722 17:00: polar bear in fjord

Polar bear in the fjord

22 July 2020

At 8:30 a polar bear showed up at Prins Heinrichsøya, and we think it is the same bear as we now see at Krikjefjellet at the end of the fjordcount. We were back in the boat and leaving the coast, when we saw the bear walking to the area where we had been 10 minutes earlier. At Krikjefjellet, there is a tent for research on kittiwakes. The bear passes without cuasing damage, though I think one stick with a wildlife camera was smashed down. Something to check next time. catharina Uth made these pictures.

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20200722 16:00: goose island count

Goose island count

22 July 2020

All geese are moulting and flightless. It is time for our annual goose count in the fjord. Today we visit all islands and count the number of barnacle geese. These picture are taken on the island Leirholmen, where Maarten stayed in the boat and Tessa and Catharina walked to the other side of the island to check birds. After this island we came across a polar bear while boating home. See the last picture and the next post.


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20200717 13:00: processing the catch

Processing the catch

17 July 2020

After waiting for two hours, the geese have emptied their intestines and we can start ringing. We also attach some GPS neckbands.

This goose is wearing from now onwards a GPS neckband.
Everybody wants a portrait with a goose.

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20200717 12:50: becoming some pixels

Becoming some pixels

17 July 2020


The passenger plane flying on Spitsbergen has been equipped with a set of special cameras for scientific research. Via SIOS, I have had the opportunity to be involved in a test run. Today the plane flew several transects at 700 meter height over the coast, to make aerial high resolution photographs. A pixal would be 10x10 cm2. By laying on the ground, you might be visible. A good reason for Tessa, Catharina and Lisa to try this.


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20200717 11:20: friends of Ny-Ålesund

Friends of Ny-Ålesund

17 July 2020

Some friends of Ny-Ålesund are visiting. They bring a special present. On an auction in Oslo they bought the original technical drawing of the flyboat with which Roald Amundsen tried to reach the North Pole while starting from Ny-Ålesund. They have a nostalgic weekend. From left to right Jon Fredrik Baksaas (former director Telenor), Per Erik Hanevold (present director of KingsBay), Ole Øseth (former director of KingsBay), Oddvar Midtkandal (director before Ole) and Knut M. Ore (former chairman of the board of KingsBay).


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20200717 11:00: first goose catch

First goose catch

17 July 2020

The first goose catch of this season is focusing on moulting geese without goslings. We make a catch at Thiisbukta and have placed the nests between the boat houses. It is a nice catch. Svein Harald Sonderland made the pictures.


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20200716 10:00: terror tern

Terror tern

16 July 2020

Everyone in the village knows the arctic tern from nest 20. She incubates one egg but is very, very aggressive. She cries, picks and shits when she attacks. Today Tessa was victim and now she will have to clean her jacket.

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20200716 09:38: warming

Warming

16 July 2020

  The Arctic is warming and Svalbard/Spitsbergen is one of the fastest warming spots in the Arctic. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute has a nice website, where you can follow the weather. The picture to the left is from their website.
Sofar the season is warm again. Siberia was in the news with extreme high temperatures, but remember, we are surrounded by an ocean, so extremes will be less. Nevertheless today I realised that I have not been wearing gloves yet. In the nineties I always was wearing gloves without fingertipes outside. Another realisation is that the glaciers now are so far away, that we hardly hear the rumbling of the falling ice. That is also quite different from my earlier period here. Than I had the story that it was difficult to distinguish between thunder or falling ice and I was sometimes tricked into looking for my raincoat.
There is another important website about climatechange nsidc.org. It shows daily pictures on the ice cover in the Arctic. To the top right it is the picture of 14 July. This also shows a disturbing trend that the ice extent is below the values of the present record year 2012. For this site it is documented that the normal values are based on the period 1980-2010. Thirty years is the official definition for calculating normal values. But there is no normal existing. The trend is clearly warming and the normal values are becoming lower as more warm years are included. See the graph to the right and look for the period 1980-2010. The average is not the normal.
For the Norwegian website i have not found a proper statement on the normal values. But this is an important issue. The information given in a scientific way, is not showing the real size of climate change. We need a better definition for normal values.

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20200710 19:45: gåsebu

Gåsebu

10 July 2020

Time for a nice walk to the hut Gåsebu, 4 kilometers out of the village. Margje, Tessa, Catharina and Rienk will spend the night in this hut. It is a real Norwegian tradition to do this. On their way to Gåsebu they have to read rings of barnacle geese. Only two geese found.
Pictures taken by Tessa Viglezio

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20200710 16:00: restart aquaria

restart aquaria

10 July 2020

We started so nicely with our aquarium experiment by adding 0, 1, 2 or 3 droppings to mesocosms with Daphnia in heated and unheated aquaria. But after three days, the Daphnia died and the pots became smelly. We expect the droppings, collected at the Sagbruk area but maybe containing some pollution like coal. That is why we restarted the experiment and Catharina is filling the pots with the same amount of droppings collected close to Solvatnet.

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20200710 15:35: flying insects

Flying insects

10 July 2020

Since 2006, we are sampling flying insects in a simple pitfall trap with a net above it. Every two days, the trays with soap water are renewed and the insects are filtered over a coffee filter and saved in ethanol 15 ml tubes. For Tessa it is a self-assigned task. And she made pictures of the proces.

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20200708 12:00: white whales

White whales

8 July 2020

Bjørn Anders Nymoen is every year censussing the arctic fox dens for the Norwegian Polar Institute. Most years he comes together with Fin Sletten. This year he brought another musician from Longyearbyen. It is not only biology, but Bjørn Anders always brings music to Ny-Ålesund. And he is usually making wonderful pictures of wildlife. now he has posted a video on youtube of beluga whales. The movie from a drone is accompagnied by the sounds of the canary of the sea. He made again something special.

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20200708 08:30: nasa

NASA is here

8 July 2020

In this small town, there are two rocket launching pads for scientific missiles called Svalrak. The uniqueness of the northern location makes this site very interesting to study the cusp. The outer atmosphere where the solar particles enter, because of the magnetic field of the earth. In darkness this can be seen as the aurora borealis. Ny-Ålesund is located within the ring of the aurora.
There is equipment still standing for the next launch. Originally planned in autumn 2021 but postponed for one year. The logo of NASA is clearly visible on these rocket tracking devices

Againts my hut, there is one of the smaller rockets fired from this site and retrieved by Even Molstadt. A kind of trophee.

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20200707 19:34: attacked

Attacked

7 July 2020 19:34

Arctic terns defend their nest vigourously by hitting your head while dive bombing with poop. In this video you can see some hits to my hat which has a special high shape, to prevent the terns from drawing bllod as they would do without this protection.


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20200707 18:52: tern identity

Tern identity

7 July 2020 18:52

  With individually coded plastic rings, we give the arctic terns individual identity. But the rings on these small legs are not easily readable. We have to catch the terns to be sure. Catharine Uth is helping.

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20200707 11:39: measuring grass

Measuring grass

7 July 2020 11:39

Every summer, we measure grass growth in the village, to have an estimate of food availability. Today it is already the second time, we make a measurement in 12 paired plots of exclosed and grazed grass shoots. Here Tessa and me are measuring at the most productive site in town. It was a location where the faeces from cattle was put after cleaning the stable. On the right side of Tessa is the exclosure with long leaves, while the geese already have harvested these in the foreground.


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20200706 15:00: tea time

Tea time

6 July 2020

The team is drinking tea near the mesocosm experiment. From left to right: Maarten, Tessa, Margje, Rienk and Catharina.


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20200705 23:00: our home

Our homes

5 July 2020 23:00

In the evening, the two london houses (2 and 3 of 4) look great in the magnificent landscape. Time for some nie pictures. Last year the Japanese station moved from Rabben to town. So now we are the most northers scientific station in the most northern village of the world.
The station is not as isolated as it looks on the first three pictures. But it is situated on the border of town, close to an important lake for geese. This year, Maarten lives in London 3 while the others have their own private rooms with shower elsewhere due to COVID-19 precautions. Both houses are used as our common work place.


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20200705 18:00: mesocosm experiment

Mesocosm experiment

5 July 2020

Mesocosms are small representation of the real world, where environmental parameters can be changed to study their effect. Catharina Uth is doing a special experiment where she varies nutrients (added goose droppings), temperature and zooplankton in small containers representing lake Solvatnet.

Above: the first set-up

Below: getting water from the lake.
The lake water needed to be first without Daphnia. This is done by three times filtering over a 0.5 mm sieve and a visual inspection and removal of any daphnia left. Than 10 large Daphnia are added to half of the mesocosms.
Pots get a unique code with all treatments and there will be 4 different nutrient levels (0,1,2 and 3 droppings added), and half of the aquaria is heated. When everything is ready, the temperature is checked.

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20200705 14:00: incubating arctic tern

Incubating arctic tern

5 July 2020

We use wildlife cameras to check arctic terns for rings or geolocators. This camera on nest 22 gave nice footage and by accident not only pictures but also a short video. Nice to see the bird from so close.


Below, two pictures from the same nest.

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20200705 1100: droppings for hormones

Droppings for hormones

5 July 2020

Margje and Rienk are working for a project designed by Isabella Scheiber. They want to see variation in hormone levels over the day and over the season. The hormones can be measured in goose droppings. But now they have to collect droppings of selected individuals, prefereably those wearing a neckband, which shows their position during migration. This is a lot of work. They observe the geese and follow them until they see a dropping fall. Than they freeze the telescope and when the geese have left, one of them is going to collect exactly that dropping. When the proper one is in a tube, they are quite satisfied.


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20200701 19:00: grass growth

Grass growth

1 July 2020

Each summer, we set up 12 small plots in which we measure leaf elongation of grasses as a measure of food availability. Tessa and Catharina help me with getting started,


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20200629 18:00: team together

Team together

29 June 2020

Today, the last three members of the team arrived after 10 days quarantaine in Oslo. We are now on full strength. From left to right: Margje de Jong, Rienk Fokkema, Maarten Loonen, Catharina Uth and Tessa Viglezio. Rienk is partner of Margje and field assistant. Catharina is student at the Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg, Germany. Tessa is citizen from the Italian part of Switzerland and studies for her masters at the University of Groningen. Rienk was here already in 2017, Tessa was here in 2018 and Catharina was here in 2019 with a German field course on arctic plants.


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20200629 11:29: safety in numbers

Safety in numbers

29 June 2020 11:25

After all the polar bear encounters, we plan to visit the island with some more people at the same time. Today, Margje and me are accompanied by a Norwegian team studying common eider. Pierre Blévin made this picture on Storholmen. From left to right Maarten Loonen, Margje de Jong, Pauline Dhainaut and Børge Moe.


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20200627 12:40: again a polar bear

Again a polar bear

27 June 2020

This season starts with a lot of polar bear sightings. Three polar bears are seen in the fjord at the same time. To read more on all the sightings, check our logbook. Today o arrival, there is a bear on Storholmen. Luckily it goes into the water and swims to the next island Observasjonsholmen. There it lies down at 20 meter height and observes us for the rest of the day. When the bear starts to move in the evening, we quickly return to the boat and go home.

Pictures by Margje de Jong.

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20200625 15:05: fleeing for a polar bear

Fleeing for a polar bear

25 June 2020

In full spirit, we went to Storholmen. But after 2 hours working, a boat approaches the island and warns us that they have seen a polar bear on the other side o the island. Time to evacuate. We get in the boat without seeing any bear. But going around the island, the bear is laying down where we were working earlier. This is the end of work and we go home.

Pictures by Margje de Jong.

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20200623 17:30: GPS neck collars

GPS neck collars

23 June 2020

We have permission to equip 24 birds with GPS neck collars. They take the geographical position of the goose every 15 minutes for several years thanks to two solar panels. As soon as the bird is in reach of mobile telephone, the data will be transmitted automatically. We literally fish for geese. A small rope at the end of a fishing rod. We but the string over the head. Watch the video. We can only do this when the clutch is hatching.

Above Margje with her first neckbanded goose, below Maarten with the second one.
Filmed by Margje de Jong.

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20200623 13:00: polar bear poop

Polar bear poop

23 June 2020

We noted already 30 predated nests, predated by polar bears. Now we sample their faeces for e-DNA analysis. What have they been eaten (eggs obvious) and can we recognize individuals?


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20200621 17:00: maping goose nests

Mapping goose nests

21 June 2020

The first job after our arrival is mapping goose nests on the breeding islands. We want to know the rings of the nesting birds and their clutch size. Margje made these pictures of Maarten. Note the wonderful landscape.

First picture on Prins Heinrichøya, the rest is taken on Storholmen.
Pictures by Margje de Jong.

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20200620 21:35: pollinating insects

Pollinating insects

20 June 2020

We have deployed the cameras of Toke Thomas Høye from Århus University to study pollinating insects on Dryas. Last year the exeriment was started (see in the weblog) and I collected the data and this year I thought to do the same. Margje made this picture while we were starting the experiment.


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20200619 11:21: arrived

Arrived

19 June 2020

With one more day delay, we arrived today in Ny-Ålesund. Back among friends. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have some new strict rules. All of us have to stay in a room with bathroom. This means that only one person can stay in our station. I am the lucky guy and moved into London III. But we have created separate desk for all five of us to work on.


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20200617 19:48: 10 days quarantaine

10 days quarantine

17 June 2020

Today the rest of the starter team arrived. From left till right: Maarten Loonen, Catharina Uth, Tessa Viglezio, Rienk Fokkema and Margje de Jong. Tomorrow Maarten and Margje will leave the hotel and fly to Ny-Ålesund. Tessa, Catharina and Rienk will stil have their 10 day quarantine in this hotel. Later in the season, Isabella will come and have an exchange with Rienk.


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20200616 15:15: GPS neckbands

GPS neckbands

16 June 2020

This summer, we will equip 16 barnacle geese with a GPS neck collar, which will log every 15 minutes their position and send the data to us via a telephone network. Unfortunately, when we are in Ny-Ålesund, we will still have to locate the geese with our binoculars, as this town does not allow radio-transmitters. The data will be stored in a memory and come in later, while on migration. But from than on, we will have daily updates.



Margje is testing and programming the bands in Oslo as we can transmit here. The data are logged and appear on a computer in Vienna.

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20200614 20:00: Ny-Ålesund history

Ny-Ålesund history

14 June 2020

I found this booklet about the history of Ny-Ålesund, written by Per Kyre Reimert, on the website of the governor. An interesting read.

If you prefer the document in a new window, click here.

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20200614 18:00: never alone

never alone

14 June 2020

Never Alone is a puzzle-adventure-video-game based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, Kunuuksaayuka". As player you swap between an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion. I bought the game for about 5 EURO to learn more about how indiginous people learn their youth about their believes and traditional way of life. I have been playing this game today and I am stuck while attacked by a polar bear. But I discovered all these walkthrough videos and decided to show them here. It is a nice game. Play it and learn about the Iñupiaq living in north and north-east Alaska.

Press on a picture and the video will start to play.
Chapter 1: prelude
Chapter 2: tundra
Chapter 3: Nuna's village
Chapter 4: ice floes
Chapter 5: whale spirit
Chapter 6: coastal village
Chapter 7: forest
Chapter 8: forest lake
Chapter 9: tundra meadows
Epilogue

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20200605 11:30: SIOS conference

SIOS conference about remote sensing

4-5 June 2020

SIOS has organised an online conference on earth observation, remote sensing and geoinformation applications in Svalbard. I have given a presentation about my plans to use the dornier science pod for a project in Rosenbergdalen, Edgeøya and Storholmen, Kongsfjorden.  
Below you can find my presentation and the programme. A video registration is hopefully following later.

My lecture
The programme

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20200603 10:36: research in kolguev, russia

Research in Kolguev Russia

seizoen 2019

Already several years, my German colleague Helmut Kruckenberg organizes expeditions to the island Kolguev in Russia to study migratory birds breeding and moulting on this island. Today he released a youtube video of his field season 2019, which he made together with his sons Jonas and Silas. Interesting to see an expedition in another locality.

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20200408 09:00: family planning

Family planning

8 April 2020

When are you able to reproduce? Though barnacle geese can lay a first clutch when they have returned to the breeding grounds for the second year, it is still not easy to reproduce in such a variable environment, affected by climate change. In this scientific paper, we have explored the age at first reproduction, where first reproduction is defined as seen with goslings. With smart modelling at the Centre of Biodiversity at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and based on a long term dataset of the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen, we have been able to analyse age of first reproduction in the barnacle goose colony in Ny-Ålesund.

The modelling included density dependence, spring onset, resighting and survival and showed that climate change advanced the age at first reproduction. The full article is open access here and below.

Kate Layton-Matthews (PhD) joined the field work in 2016) and Mari Aas Fjelldahl came as a master student in 2017. All publications of Maarten Loonen can be downloaded here.


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20200402 12:00: cold winter

cold winter

March-April 2020

It is a cold winter on Svalbard. A couple of pictures which show the large amount of ice in the fjord.
A picture taken from the Zeppelin mountain by Helge Markussen. From the beginning of the mining in 1920 until 2006, people could walk every winter across the fjord from Ny-Ålesund to Blomstrand at the other side of the fjord. Since 2006 it has not been possible, but now we are close.







Kings Bay posted this picture on their facebook site. The train is a symbol for Ny-Ålesund, now in the snow.
Every day you can see a webcam picture. The one below is taken on 2 April 2020. For the actual webcam picture click here.
To the left there is a graph from the website yr.no from Norwegian Meteorological institute. Actual measurements can be seen here.

In the last years, we had several episodes of temperature above zero in the winter, followed with heavy rain contributing to an annual budget of almost 3x normal percipitation. This winter it did not happen. Snow came early and stayed all winter. It might be a unique spring.

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20200331 11:23: NySMAC digital

NySMAC digital

30-31 March 2020

The Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Meeting NySMAC had a meeting planned at the Arctic Science Summit Week ASSW2020 in Akureyri, Iceland. But the corona outbreak changed the plan and we had to move to an online conference. The meeting was now on the digital platform zoom. It really went very well. We had at most 43 people joining from the following countries: Norway, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, South Korea, India, Japan and China. It worked really well and felt confident in my rol as chairman. Connections were good and people could raise their hand if they wanted to make a statement. Sharing of a screen for a presentation was easy and it was possible to react by showing an icone on your video.
Will this be the future? I do not know, but travelling by plane should be reduced and maybe we can do half of our meetings now via internet.
A view from my computer screen. In total 2 screens with video and a chat room.

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20200324 12:00: national maritime museum

>

national maritime museum

24 March 2020

The national maritime museum in Amsterdam has made an interesting exhibition on Dutch polar history. As the museum is closed due to the corona virus crisis, the curator Diederick Wildeman has made three 90 second mini lectures with English subtitles.
From the late middle ages until the 16th century, very little was known in Europe about the North Pole. Nevetheless, people did have a view on how this area would look.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the now world-famous wintering of Willem Barentsz was almost forgotten. In 1819, an epic poem brought the expedition back to schools.
From 1882 to 1883, the Netherlands participated in the first international polar year. With the Norwegian boat Varna they sailed to west Siberia. Several objects and pictures are on display in the museum to reconstruct this expedition.

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20200323 11:00: lake experiment

Lake experiment

23 March 2020

These are two short films about the work of Marije Jousma​, student at the University of Groningen, in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard last summer. She explains her work on zooplankton and phytoplankton. She is now finishing her first master, it was a pleasure for me and Maarten Loonen to assist her on the research she made in the North.

This was the firt try of the video. It almost went well. The making of.....



Earlier, Marije was also photographed by Marte Visser and she appeared in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant. To be seen here

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20200319 12:00: aurora borealis

Aurora borealis

winter 2019-2020

Greg has been one year station leader of the AWIPEV station in Ny-&#Aring;lesund. This spring he posted a whole set of videos on aurora borealis on his facebook site. I really liked the videos as they show the movement and the disappearance of the curtains of light. When you take a picture you miss the movements. I still have to check if he compiled a whole set of long exposure pictures into each video as the speed is a bit to high.


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20200317 12:00: white fox

white fox

17 March 2020

Arctic foxes have a tremendous impact on the survival of the goslings in summer. Some years foxes are not present and many goslings survive but most years annual production of geese is very low in my study area. Via the facebook pages of Christelle Guesnon and Greg Tran, I noticed that this summer will be a summer with foxes. They posted several nice pictures and Christelle even had two foxes in the red dawn of day. All other pictures are from Greg.

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20200303 15:00: corona virus

corona virus

3 March 2020

While this new disease is slowly spreading into the world, the main concern is with the de-stabilizing effect of a raging infection. This holds specifically for a small community llike Ny-Ålesund, which is remote but has a lot of people visiting. This problem is addressed by Kings Bay in this letter.
For all people coming to Ny-Ålesund, check your national information or use this Norwegian webpage for the latest advice concerning this virus.


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20200227 12:00: climate challenge full movie

Climate Challenge trailer

27 February 2020

Earlier the trailer could be seen on this weblog. Now the full movie can be seen here. An Indian production shot in the Arctic, the Himalaya and the Antarctic. It shows scientists working on climate change related issues. Proud to be part of this. Thank you Rakesh Rao.


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20200222 23:30: aurora borealis

Aurora borealis

22 and 24 February 2020

Aurora borealis, also called the Northern Light, has been photographed by Christelle Guesnon and was placed on her facebook site. I could not resist to copy these pictures into my weblog.

When I am in Ny-Ålesund in summer, it is full daylight all day. I can never see this phenomenon. The light is seen in the dark period, when solar winds reach the atmosphere and excite molecules in the upper atmosphere. The amount of solar winds varies depending on eruptions on the surface of the sun.The northern lights are to the south of town. They form a ring around the magnetic pole in the higher atmosphere. Ny-Ålesund is within the ring, due to its proximity to the magnetic pole.

The atmospheric laboratory of AWIPEV with the laser in action.

Mehllageret, our pub.

The instrument area with on the left the red light on the Zeppelin mast.

The London houses, the Netherlands Arctic Station. Yippie.
The town seen from the Brandal hytta, posted 24 February 2020.
Brandal hytta, posted 24 february 2020.

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20200125 09:00: newspaper

Newspaper

25 January 2020

In a Dutch newspaper. pictures by Marte Visser are published with people working on Spitsbergen. The Dutch text is written by Afke van der Toolen. A version with English text, translated by Google Translate can be found here.





A pdf of this article can be found here. A version with English text, translated by Google Translate from the website of the newspaper can be found here.

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20200119 09:00: 50 years Arctic Centre

50 years Arctic Centre University of Groningen

19 January 2020

Today it is the 50th anniversary of the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen. We are very proud on our accomplishments: the Smeerenburg expeditions led by Louwrens Hacquebord, the SEES expeditions to Edgeøya, our contributions to the working groups of the Arctic Council CAFF, SDWG and AMAP and the Netherlands Arctic Station in Ny-Ålesund. We have played a major role in bringing all Dutch polar scientists together in the Willem Barentsz Polar Network and facilitate national and international cooperation in the Arctic. We are proud on our educational programme and thank all students who participated.
The Arctic Centre is a truly multidisciplinary working group and we particpate in outreach to the general public, Dutch companies, ministeries and our research council. It belongs to the Faculty of Arts and the Groningen Institute of Archaeology(GIA), which now celebrates its centennial.
Our central theme is the Sustainability of the Arctic Antropocene


We celebrate the anniversary with the following activities:

25 JanuarySEES publieksdag (in Dutch)

A day about the Dutch expeditions to east-Svalbard in 2015 and 2020. More info.


24-25 MarchArcSci2020 conference

The final conference of a European project with several PhD students in archaeology, who were studying their material with new techniques More info.


26 MarchPhD defence Marjolein Admiraal

Residu analysis of hunter-gatherer pottery from Alaska. More info.


3-12 AugustSEES.nl/2020 expedition

A new large arctic expedition to a remote island on the east side of Svalbard. 60 scientific particpants and 60 tourists join the boat Ortelius. More info.


October 2020NySMAC meeting in Groningen

Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee, meets twice a year to discuss science plans and developments in the international research base. More info.



And we re-publish the booklet, which described the first 35 years of the Arctic Centre called: The top of the Iceberg
This booklet is in Dutch but can easily be downloaded and imported in translate.google.com
You can load this page in a new tab by clicking here.

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20200104 12:00: climate challenge trailer

Climate Challenge trailer

4 January 2020

This summer, Rakesh Rao was staying in the Indian research station to work on an outreach programme. Now he has published a trailer of his movie for which he visited many cold places. I am honoured to be the first voice in this trailer, while referring to my own experience of climate change. The movie will mainly show Indian polar researchers.


The full movie is published on 27 February 2020 and can bee seen here.

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20191229 12:00: NA by Greg

Ny-Ålesund by Gregory Tan, stationleader from AWIPEV

29 December 2019

Greg has been in Ny-Ålesund for nine months and in the dark period after Xmas, he found some time to compile this video. It clearly shows off the beauty of this research base.

Gregory Tan

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20191104 12:00: Kim Holmén in video

Kim Holmén in video

4 November 2019

I am not the only one struggling with the signs of climate change. Via a LinkedIn post of Kim Holmén, I come across a video featuring him explaining the fast changes.

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20191102 15:00: artist book spitsbergen

Artist book Spitsbergen

2 November 2019

Artists in residence Erik van Ommen and Wilma Brinkhof have made a wonderful book about their visit to Ny-Ålesund and Spitsbergen. Beautiful plates and informative text. Maarten received the first book.
Some fast impressions of this book which shows the spectacular nature but also makes you realize that climate change is hitting this area very much.

  Erik van Ommen as artist in residence

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20191101 15:00: history of Ny-Ålesund station

History of Ny-Ålesund Station

1 November 2019

In Polar Record an interesting paper has appeared describing the recent tranformation of Ny-Ålesund into a science center.

Paglia E. (2020) A higher level of civilisation? The transformation of Ny-Ålesund from Arctic coalmining settlement in Svalbard to global environmental knowledge center at 79° North. Polar Record 56(e15): 1–13

A link to the full paper is here


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20191030 13:00: Wolkenjäger

Wolkenjägerstuabsauger in der Arktis

30 October 2019

Tamara Worzewski visited Ny-Ålesund from 20 til 27 June 2019 and followed Paul Zieger of Stockholm University in his quest for black carbon in clouds. She made this video about the science. Spoken in German but with English subtitles.


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20191030 12:00: Der Wolkenstaubsauger

Der Wolkenstuabsauger von Spitzebergen

30 October 2019

A German article in Spectrum.de which can be seen as the German version of Scientific American. Tamara Worzewski visited Ny-Ålesund from 20 til 27 June 2019 and followed Paul Zieger of Stockholm University in his quest for black carbon in clouds.

If you prefer the web version of this document, click here.

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20190930 12:00: Der Eisbär wird zum Eierdieb

Der Eisbär wird zum Eierdieb

30 September 2019

A German article in Spectrum.de which can be seen as the German version of Scientific American. Tamara Worzewski visited Ny-Ålesund from 20 til 27 June 2019 to follow Paul Zieger of Stockholm University in his quest for black carbon in clouds. During her stay she also interviewed me and produced this article: The polar bear becomes an egg robber

If you prefer the web version of this document, click here.

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20190918 11:00: INTERACT practical field guide

INTERACT practical field guide

18 September 2019

INTERACT has produced a practical field guide for working in the arctic. Very important guidelines for safe operations. Below you find an informative document.

If you prefer the web version of this document, click here.

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20190829 23:00: geese and climate publication

geese and climate publication

29 August 2019



The original paper and more publications can be found here.
The orginal website page here.

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20190817 12:00: BBC interview whalers

BBC interview whaler graves expedition

17 August 2019

On return in Longyearbyen of the expedition to Ytre Norsk Øya. Frits and Wouter are interviewed by Phil Porter, a BBC reporter and scientist working for the program Science in Action. The interview was released on 5 September.

Listen to the interview by clicking on this text

Below, pictures from the interview
A direct link to the program where the interview starts at 27:50 minutes is

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20190811 09:30: polar bear ruins our plan

Polar bear ruins our plans

11 August 2019

We arrive at Likneset, a beautiful graveyard to do similar work as in Ytre Norskøya. But then.....

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20190810 13:28: whale cooking

Whale cooking

10 augustus 2019

When we have finished our data collection at the grave yard, we continue along the coast where there are 9 ovens for cooking whale to oil and 3 locations where a house has been standing. The archaeologists make a description of the remains.
  This video flies over a part of the coast to the graveyard. You might see some of the ovens close to the beach. As the drone kept breaking loose and the wind picked up, we have no beter overview.
This video is taken from the middle of the oven. You can still see the so called whale concrete. Spilled material, which has made a black crust around the pan. The wind is picking up.
Here a house was standing. We found three flat squares like this along this coast. Sorry for the wind. All these videos are made with my mobile phone.
Departure. After a few very productive days with nice weather, we plan to visit some other sites for comparison. We first go to Likeneset, where we also have permission for arcaeological investigations.

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20190809 10:00: Archaeology from above

Archaeology from above

9 August 2019

Frits Steenhuisen brought his drone along. Below you can see three different clips below eachother.

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20190808 12:00: Archaeology at Zeeuwse Uytkyk

Archaeology at Zeeuwse Uytkyk

8 August 2019

Below there are 16 videos, which all show a part of our work. You can start each video by clicking on the centre of the picture.
In the Dutch version of this website, there are other videos with Dutch commentaries.

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20190807 18:00: Ytre Norskøya day 1

Ytre Norskøya day 1

7 August 2019

Frits Steenhuisen flew his drone and made pictures from above. The graves are recognizable as heap of stones.
The trip north was a difficult one for the captain, but most of us slept well and we woke up in a wonderful sheltered bay with calm water, just 250 meter from the grave field of Ytre Norskøya. After landing we started with marking and numbering the graves and also test our scanning equipment.
After the lunch, we made a walk to the top of the island and passed several graves and blubber cookeries.
The North Pole, still 900 km away, no land in between.

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20190806 10:00: archaeological expedition

Archaeological expedition

6 August 2019


Today, we are going to study a grave field at Ytre Norskøya. The expedition started yesterday afternoon in Longyearbyen and today they are picking me up in Ny-Ålesund. The expedition is a cooperation between the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), Medusa Explorations and the Swiss Arctic Project. The study is funded by the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund and GIA. The work is inspired by the Smeerenburgproject of Louwrens Hacquebord (excavations on Amsterdam island in 1980-1983), the grave field excavation by George Maat and Menno Hoogland and the recent publication of Sandra Comis, of all the clothing excavated. We will scan the condition of the graves in relation to the depth of the active layer (the top layer above the permafrost in summer) to assess the conservation status of the material in the graves.

Click here for more details about the expedition plan.

From left to right Koos de Vries (Medusa), Frits Steenhuisen (Arctic Centre), Femke Bosscher (student GIA), Han Vastenhoud (student GIA), Lotte Zanting (student GIA), Sarah Dresscher (Arctic Centre) and in the back Maarten Loonen (Arctic centre) and Wouter Rooke (Medusa).

Our boat is ready in the harbour. the captain Charles Michel is taking some sleep before we continue on the next leg. Note the Dutch flag on the ship.

In Ny-Ålesund, Marije Jousma and Kristle Kranenburg will continue the field work until 15 August. In Longyearbyen Frigg Speelman is collecting data on geese and Rosanne van Bodegom will work on the inventory of the collection of Svalbard Museum.

Click here for more details about the expedition plan.

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20190802 13:00: chinese ornithologist

Chinese ornithologist

2 August 2019


Today, Prof. Zhengwang Zhang is joining us while we are working on the islands. Prof. Zhengwang is a good friend of Prof. Theunis Piersma and together they do a lot of research to protect migratory waders along the Chinese coast. It is my honour to show him some of my work.

Prof. Zhengwang photographed many birds, but also made some nice pictures of Kristle and me at work. We are making growth curves of tern chicks and counting the birds on the islands. Earlier we could not land on some of the islands because of the polar bears.
Our lunch, we eat in the old hut on Storholmen, when the picture below was taken.
All pictures made by Zhengwang Zhang

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20190730 13:00: walrus close

Walrus close

30 July 2019


A walrus is a rare sighting in Kongsfjorden. But today it happened. Kristle was pumping our zodiac boat as we were planning a trip to an island. While she was pushing the last air in, it suddenly started to blow very hard. First thought was that the boat had ruptured. But it was a walrus surfacing in the boat dock next to our boat. Marije was fast with her camera and took this picture, where you can still see part of the gangway to enter our boat. Many people from town came to the harbour but nobody saw it better than our team. The walrus did surface only a few times while travelling further east.

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20190728 15:00: fjordcount with bears

Fjordcount with bears

28 July 2019


We were counting geese in the fjord by visiting all islands. Unfortunately that was not possible. we met a big bear on Gerdøya and a mother with two young bears on Midtholmen. It were always safe encounters, but it good have ended differently. Pictures from Christophe Brochard.


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20190722 09:00: rows of tourists

Rows of tourists

22 July 2019


Today the cruise ship Rotterdam pays a visit and lands 1388 tourists between 8:00 and 12:00. The boat is to big to land on the quay and they start a ferry service. In the town we have a long line of people in front of the shop. On departure an even longer line forms to get on the ferry.


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20190721 23:54: arctic fox attacks

Arctic Fox attacks

21 July 2019


An Arctic Fox attacks a flock of Barnacle Geese and catches several goslings. Some of them try to escape, but have little chance. The attack was filmed by two people. the first video is made by Torkel Karlsen. The second video is the same attack from a different position and filmed by Stein Jarle Pedersen. Thanks to them for providing their video.


video coming soon.

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20190721 21:30: polar bear faeces

Polar bear faeces

21 July 2019


Kristle samples faeces of predators to see with DNA techniques if they have eaten arctic tern eggs. Here she found dung of a polar bear on Storholmen.


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20190720 22:30: big feet

Big Feet

20 July 2019

Yesterday a polar bear, now surrounded by three polar bears. This time a video made by Chritophe Brochard with his telephone through a telescope.

Another video. Watch and see the bear snif over the island. Today we went there and found a killed young glaucous gull and poar bear poop.


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20190720 11:46: passing bear

Passing bear

20 July 2019


Our wildlifecamera on Storholmen is photographed a passing polar bear. Lucky us.


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20190719 11:30: bearshow

Bear show

19 July 2019


At breakfast, I hear about the news of a polar bear at Thiisbuta. That is the bay, west of town where I would have gone to read rings of a moulting group of barnacle geese. The bear has caught one of the 11 harbour seals which frequently visit the site. Geir Gotaas took the picture, We stayed away. The bear was chased with a flare when it was swimming towards town and turned west.

However it showed up two hours later east of town near the island Prins Heinrichsøya. We have a perfect view on that island and took many pictures. Below some of these.


The bear moves further east and we spend the afternoon on the island Storholmen. At 16:15 there is the last sighting, when the bear is seen on the island Leirholmen.

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20190718 09:45: departure with music

Departure with music

18 July 2019

Half of the Wageningen team is leaving, but also some other people from Kings Bay and the NERC station. The music instruments are taken out and we make music (?) at their departure.

Biyao Han and Hans van den Berg (both in front) are leaving today. So we took a picture of the Wageningen team.


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20190714 19:38: team 2019

Team 2019

14 July 2019


May I introduce the team in the Netherlands Arctic Station of 2019 to uou. In the background from left to right Christophe Brochard, Marije Jousma, Alice Naber and Nico van den Brink. Front row from left to right Frigg Speelman, Biyao Han, Kristle Kranenburg, Miriam van der Meulen, Hans van den Berg and Maarten Loonen. It is a dream team.


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20190714 1600: historic faeces

Historic faeces

14 July 2019


Jin Shuoichen and Gao Hui want to sample a column of bird faecs to reconstruct a history of substances and genes in faeces. Earlier I helped their colleagues with sampling krikjefjellet. I bring them to the kittiwake colony at Blomstrand. It is a steep but successful climb.


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20190712 23:51: christophe

Christophe

12 July 2019


For the third year, Christophe Brochard has joined the team to study lake ecosystems. He is well know for is sleepless energy. It is close to midnight, but together with Marije Jousma, he is reading goose rings.

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20190712 12:47: from antarctic to arctic

From Antarctic to Arctic

12 July 2019


Nick Cox has been several times wintering in Antarctica and became the station leader for the NERC station in the Arctic. The Arctic Tern breeds in the Arctic but winters in Antarctica. Both individuals have a similar behaviour.

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20190711 19:00: on an ice flow

On an ice flow

11 July 2019


Three students on an ice flow. Not as far away as it looks on the picture below. That is made with a wide angle. I had to make a selfie too. Charlies angels I call them.


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20190711 18:50: krikjefjellet

Krikjefjellet

11 July 2019


Krikje is a kittiwake, fjellet means the cliff. And that is a good name for this place, where people are studying every year the birds. I make a visit together with three students as this place also has a fox den with 11 puppies. We see only three.


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20190711 18:00: hatching tern

Hatching tern

10 July 2019


The first egg of an arctic tern has hatched in the area around the diesel tanks. The second one in the same nest has started to open the egg. It looks promising, but now, three days later, things have changed and a glaucous gull has predated all nests in this area including the two chicks and 4 fake eggs filled with plaster.

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20190708 06:24: predation

Predation

8 July 2019

Already, three nests of arctic terns were surviving close to the dogyard. I was wondering why the fox did not take them. But the terns were very aggressive and alert. Maybe that was enough. Nevertheless, Kristle asked me to put cameras at the nest to document predation. I did expect a fox but the picture proved different and was spectacular. The nest was predated by a glaucous gull. We even know the individual: white ADF with on the other leg even a geolocator. The defence of the terns had been impressive. The terns have drawn blood from the head of the glaucous gull, but the predator persisted and is photographed exactly at the moment of taking the egg. Nature is cruel. Not only for the prey but also for the predator.
I have seen this earlier, but that bird was killed later by a dog when it tried to feed in the dogyard.

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20190707 12:45: humpback

Humpback whale

7 July 2019


On our way to Storholmen to check goose nests, we meet in the middle of the fjord three humpback whales. Time to stop the engine and to enjoy the whales.

The above pictures are made by Maarten. Marije has been working for a better lens and you can see her pictures are better.


I am a happy man


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20190706 20:45: falling ice and music

Falling ice and music

6 July 2019

Bjørn Andes Nymoen and Fin Sletten come every summer to Ny-Ålesund to check the active fox dens in Kongsfjorden. They have a special bond with Svalbard and music. I came across one result on youtube, which I like to share.

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20190706 17:00: goosemother

Goosemother

6 July 2019

Since two weeks, Biyao is acting as goose mother for the goslings. Today she has the group grazing in the old mine area,

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20190706 16:30: goosefather

Goosefather

6 July 2019

Hans van den Berg is research assistant in Wageningen and has arrived yesterday to assist Nico van den Brink with raising goslings. It is his first day in the field, caring for the small ones.

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20190706 15:00: boatswoman

Boatswoman

6 July 2019

Today Frigg is driving the boat. I consider it my task to learn students new things. Boating in the Arctic might be dangerous, but learning basic techniques is easily possible if supervised properly. I have been driving the boat several times with Frigg. Now it is her time to learn to run the zodiac from anchoring to harbour. Obviously she is enjoying it.

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20190706 14:45: bear on storholmen

Bear on Storholmen

7 July 2019

Frigg and Maarten were going to Storholmen for the last check on hatching nests. On approach they always check the island, but this time it was not difficult to find. A polar bear on the island. We stopped and the large zoom of Maartens camera made pictures as if the ebar was close. Nevertheless, on the picture without zoom, you can see the head of Frigg and a yellowish dot between two snow fields, which is the bear.

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20190705 09:31: renovation

Renovation

7 July 2019


The museum hut is renovated by Arild Lyssand. Arild has been working in the police force but is also carpenter. Sally Hamna is a famous hut, which has been renovated by him earlier. Last year, in Ny-Ålesund he has been renovating the windows of the old hospital. He is plastering the sleeping room. Every meal he looks clean and well-dressed, but while at work it is a different view. I have left his trousers out of the picture. The colours of the huts have been determined by sampling old paint layers. now there is an original colour scheme.


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20190703 20:58: orange football match

Orange football match

3 July 2019

We are proud on the women playing the world championship football. Our women do well and are in the semi final. When we walk towards the television, we make in into the most northern orange parade of Dutch football supporters. Unfortunately we were only with three people.

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20190702 18:10: goose walk

Goose Walk

2 July 2019

We have imprinted three groups of goslings for a study into the effect of mercury pollution. It is very special to see how they walk with their foster parent to a grass field.

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20190630 16:30: compass plant

Compass plant

30 June 2019

When you have lost your direction in the Arctic, check this plant Silene acaulis. It forms a tussock and starts flowering on the south side. Great help.

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20190630 15:00: nest check

Nest Check

30 June 2019

Every other day, we are checking which goose nests are hatching and which are predated. These geese must have some frustration, s their behaviour shows.

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20190630 09:17: meanwhile @home

Meanwhile @home

30 June 2019

The worldchampionship women footbal! The girls do very well and have ignited an orange fever in the Netherlands. Today I received these pictures from home. We are celebrating their success.
I try to follow as much as I can. Norwegian tv is broadcasting all matches. Internet is blocked due to broadcasting rights and VPN via the university account is too slow. Nevertheless, I manage and it is fun.

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20190629 23:45: visiting bear family

Visiting polar bear family

29 June 2019

  At 16:30 three bears were seen on Observasjonsholmen. At 23:45 the polar bear family walks in the direction of this town. These are a mother with two large two-year-old cubs. The young bears are not walking close to their mother. Probably she wants them to become independent and moves fast behind the village. The young cubs are sniffing at the Amundsen monument, very close to the Nobile monument were an Italian delegation with the minister of Education, Universities and Research Marco Bussetti had a ceremony just two hours earlier. No action, many pictures taken. These pictures are made by Marije Jousma.

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20190627 16:00: foster parents

Foster Parents

27 June 2019

Biyao Han attaches coloured tapes on the feet of the goslings and takes them out for a walk. At the end of the walk, the goslings go for a bath. The foster parents keep frawing their attention.

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20190625 13:52: two bears

Two Bears

25 June 2019

Frigg was checking nests on Storholmen, while I was guarding her safety, when I discovered two bears on Juttaholmen, the island in the background. Can you see the white dot on the island?
The zoom on my camera makes them visible.
The next day at 03:00 in the middle of the night (with 24 daylight the night is not dark), the two polar bears, a mother and a two-year-old cub came very close to our station. They were chased by a flare. We did not wake-up.

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20190625 12:20: newborn

Newborn

25 June 2019

Just hatched, 1 day old and protected by their parents. I have to count these goslings.
/TD>

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20190625 11:59: arctic skua

Arctic Skua

25 June 2019

One of the barnacle geese has made a nest close to an arctic skua nest. They have an impressive defence against us visiting. Frigg Speelman walked in front of me and I made this video. Arctic skuas feed on vomiting kittiwakes. They chase them along until they drop their pre-digested food and eat on this.

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20190623 20:00: insect photography

Insect Photography

23 June 2019

Cecilie and Michael are visiting the NERC station on a grant from INTERACT. They are deploying cameras on Dryas who will take pictures of pollinators for Toke Thomas Høye from Århus University. As they are only here a few days, I will make sure the memory and batteries will continue to work. Now we have to wait for some flowering.
Above a view towards the Dryas, below a view towards the bottom of the camera.
Pollination cameras GPS positions
cameraNorthEast
1.78.92370 N11.89511 E
2.78.92365 N 11.89575 E
3.78.92373 N 11.89575 E
4.78.92364 N 11.89499 E
5.78.92353 N 11.89795 E
6.78.92359 N 11.89778 E
7.78.92358 N 11.89829 E
8.78.92353 N 11.89760 E

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20190617 13:55: music and pinhole

Music and Pinhole

17 June 2019

Since 2015, I am working together with visual artist Udo Prinsen. I place his pinhole cameras in Ny-Ålesund and he develops the pictures and works with music composers and creates animations. This is a new one, with the Netherlands Arctic Station and UK-NERC Harland huset, geese and terns. Let it play.

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20190614 11:30: rifle training

rifle training

14 June 2019

When you plan field work in nature on Svalbard, you have to protect yourself against polar bear attacks. This means many precautions, alertness and bear chasing material. But when a bear attacks, the only protection is a rifle. Every new student gets a safety training which ends on the shooting range. In the video below, you see the students practising their shots. The video starts when you click on the picture.

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20190613 15:32: caged

caged

13 June 2019

The goose cages of last year where hidden in renseverket.We carry these to the station on our heads.

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20190613 10:01: exclosures in snow

exclosures in snow

13 June 2019

There is still quite some snow, though it is disappearing fast. At Thiisbukta, the exclosures are still fully covered with snow. Not the right moment to study them.

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20190612 13:32: terrestrial laboratory

terrestrial laboratory and japanese station

12 June 2019

The newest building in town has two functions. It should become a terrestrial laboratory facility for all researchers and it should house the Japanese researchers which were presently staying in Rabben. The video below is a quick tour through the building were most of the rooms still need to be equipped.

The first pole was placed by the minister, but unfortunately at the wrong spot. So now it is a sign post.

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20190611 11:32: defence attaché

visit international defence attachés to norway

12 June 2019

Today, we have a quick visit on invitation of Norway by the international defence attachés to Norway. From the Netherlands, Lt. Col. Roel Cuppes was part of the visitors. There is little time between two flights and I join him and his Belgian colleague during lunch. In 2016, his predecessors visited this town too.

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20190610 19:20: burning fossil fuel

burning fossil fuel

10-11 June 2019

Unfortunately, flying to Ny-Ålesund to study climate change is not really a contribution to battle climate change. It all starts at Schiphol airport. Boarding the plane on 10 June 2019 19:20.

In Oslo, a second lap starts at 22:31

Arriving in Longyearbyen at 02:12 on 11 June 2019.
The next morning I am up early to visit varies people. I will take the small plane to Ny-Ålesund at 15:30.
Below is a video of passing all snow and ice in the mountains. Click on the picture to have it started. A lot of noise from the plane is included.
Now we are close to Ny-Ålesund. From the window we have a view on the island Prins Heinrichsøya, where several barnacle geese nest.

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20190601 12:00: researchers guide to ny-ålesund

researchers guide to ny-ålesund

1 June 2019

The follow-up of the new research strategy is improved information for scientists. Unfortunately the first version has disappeared from the web. Please go to the new version by visiting this new website.




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20190521 12:00: RCN Research strategy

RCN research strategy for Ny-Ålesund

21 May 2019

The Research Council of Norway (RCN) has written a research strategy for Ny-Ålesund Research Station (as they name all scientific activity in Ny-Ålesund and Kongsfjord). This product is the third strategy paper after two white papers by the Norwegian government.
Links are:
The strategy will be discussed during the NySMAC meeting on 22 June 2019 in Archangelsk, Russia.

In the strategy there are two pictures of Dutch researchers. A goose catch with UNIS students in the middle of town and a fjord trip featuring Martine van den Heuvel-Greve with a bearded seal.

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20190310 11:45: Climate protest Amsterdam

On 10 March 2019, a special march was organised in Amsterdam to motivate the government for further action against climate change. 40.000 people marched in heavy all day rain. Just before the start of the demonstration I was interviewed for the online broadcast on klimaatmarslive.nl. The stream was also on screen just before the start of the official programme.

Above a video with the interview in Dutch, below three pictures
With a polar bear puppit on my back in pouring rain

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20190303 21:05: Conquering the Arctic

Conquering the Arctic

3 March 2019

ARTE documentary about all efforts to use climate change to develop new Arctic business. The documentary is in French or German.
Kadir van Loohuizen came to Ny-Ålesund and in these versions, I describe two of my own experiences with climate change at the end of the documentary.


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20190207 12:00: How do we live in Ny-Ålesund

How do we live in Ny-Ålesund

7 February 2019

ARTE documentary on TV (14 Februari 2019 17:10) and the internet (4 weeks from now). The documentary is about the way we live and work in Ny-Ålesund, the northernmost town of the world with many scientists. I was the acting host for this crew and I like the result.


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20190201 12:00: publication on insect diversity

publication on insect diversity

1 Februari 2019

Today, a publication appeared on insect biodiversity in the Arctic. I am one of the many co-authors as I took part in the experiment. We made plots, monitored Dryas flowers and placed artificial dryas flowers with glue in the field. The insects which were caught with these flowers have been genetically analysed.

Earlier posts about the global dryas project
1. circumpolar experiment
2. dryas experiment
3. flowers that catch insects
The document in full in your browser by clicking here.

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20181210 20:00: children book

children book

10 December2018

In 2016, Enzo Pérès-Labourdette has been visiting the Netherlands Arctic Station with a grant to develop his first book on climate change. Today the book is out. Wonderful colourful pictures and an inspiring text.



Back cover text translated:
Shh ... Everyone in the woods is still asleep. Everyone, except one tree and the geese. Are you coming with us? They grumble. The little tree discovers a cold world where the sun does not set in the summer.
Hello, does anyone live here?
He enjoys the warmth together with the animals of the island. But then the ice melts.....

Enzo Pérès-Labourdette traveled to Spitsbergen himself and marveled at the nature of the North Pole.
He also saw how vulnerable nature is.
That is what he wants to tell us.

The last page of the book,I really find inspiring to read to our children:
Trees of the forest!
Listen to what I have seen!
The ice is melting...
Do you know why?

This is a clear invitation to start a conversation with your child after the book is read.

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20180909 12:00: svalbard flora

Svalbard Flora

9 September 2018

The Svalbard Flora made by Olav Rönning has been out of print. Still it is an important booklet for anyone who wants to study plant species. That is why a pdf is available.
A webbased flora with colour pictures can be found at http://svalbardflora.no/.

The document in full in your browser by clicking here.

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20180816 13:38: hyperspectral camera

hyperspectral camera

16 August 2018

Santonu Goswani of the Indian Space Research Organisation came at the optimal moment to Ny-Ålesund to learn a lot about all vegetation studies in the area. He brought a hyperspectral camera as a remote sensing tool. I asked him to take pictures of the exclosures at Thiisbukta. He also has a moisture meter borrowed from Elisabeth Cooper. So we also measured soil moisture.

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20180815 12:00: workshop day 3

workshop day 3

15 August 2018


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20180814 12:00: workshop day 2

workshop day 2

14 August 2018


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20180813 16:00: workshop day 1

workshop day 1

13 August 2018


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20180811 14:42: dishcloths

dishcloths

11 August 2018

Esther Kokmeijer has been several times to Ny-Ålesund to photograph arctic terns. This spring she introduced a group of art students to the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen. Back in Zwolle, some made dishcloths based on the Arctic and Antarctic. They were sent to me and I thought to display them in the Arctic environment on a drying line with glaciers in the back, to bring it one step further.

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20180810 9:30: promo for birders conference

Promo video for birders conference

10 August 2018

On 24 November 2018, all Dutch bird research organisations have their annual meeting for all birders in The Netherlands. This day will be held in Omnisport, Apeldoorn. I have been asked for a presentation about my research and climate change and a promo video. I made four different takes. All in Dutch.

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20180808 15:15: tall grass

Tall grass

8 August 2018

I am making pictures for a presentation about our results this summer. For me it is quite special that there is tall grasses in the village centre. Normally they would have been eaten away, but this year there are no golsings and there have been hardly any geese in the village.

A reindeer male is not eating goose droppings but can feed now on grass.

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20180806 19:59: long boatride

Long boat ride

6 August 2018

The water in the fjord seems calm and I plan to make a long boattrip outside the fjord to Sarstangen. The day before yesterday 40 whalrosses were seen on this point. But the sea proves much more rough and the whalrosses are not there. Still it is a nice four hour boat ride.


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20180806 15:30: skua herds

Skua herds

6 August 2018

We wanted to read goose rings on the island of Storholmen. Maarten tries to move the geese towards the hut where Ronald and Jelle are hiding with a telescope. All seems to work when a skua takes over and start chasing the geese. The geese leave the water as the skua could drown them. On land, the skua tries to chase the geese back to the water but in vain. About thirty attempts the skua lands near the running flock to chase their direction.

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20180805 19:48: ready to fly

Ready to fly

5 August 2018

Today Christoph and Sanne will return home. In three days the rest of the team except Maarten will leave. Time for the last group picture. From left to right in front: Ronald Cornelissen, Jelle Wichers, Marlon de Haan. Sanne Moedt, Christoph Brochard and Maarten loonen. Behind Marlon flies Armin Elbers, while behind Sanne Petra Manche has landed already.

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20180804 14:30: goose catch 4

Goose catch 4

4 August 2018

The fourth and probably last goose catch this year. Many geese can fly again as you can see in this video.

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20180803 18:35: glacier foreland

Glacier foreland

3 August 2018

Christophe made several pictures from maarten while they both were searching for plots in a gradient in front of the retreating glacier. Here the soil formation, microbes and insects have been studied.

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20180803 16:03: plant photography

Plant photography

3 August 2018

If you walk in the field with Christoph Brochard, you will find lots of new species. He is trying to make a full plant species catalogue. On the beach of Gluudneset, we find Mertensia maritima ssp. tenella.

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20180803 13:16: filming waterlife

Filming waterlife

3 August 2018

While the rest of the crew was counting seabirds, Christoph filmed microscopic lake life.

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20180803 10:39: counting seabirds

Counting seabirds

3 August 2018

Every week, we make this trip around the fjord to count seabirds. Today we see belugas in front of one glacier and a lot of kittiwakes at the other.
At the front of the glacier, the water is coloured red due to the glacier river entering the fjord. The fresh water forms a top layer on the salt fjord water. Underneath the fjord water is clear.
The ice has disappeared close to the glacier front due to the stream generated by the glacier river. In this area belugas are feeding. The fjord is 70 meters deep, but for these animals they dive to he bottom and feed on shrimp and crabs.
At another glacier, we can see the glacier river coming over a stone. Here fulmars and kittiwakes gather to feed on krill that is brought to the surface. The birds float away from the richest spot due to the glacier river, but than they fly up and return to the glacier. It looks as a conveyer belt of birds.
A little bit further away from the glacier, all ice is gathering and melting. We have to go throught the ice at slow speed. The ice hitting the boat makes lot of noise.

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20180802 09:31: bart was here

Bart was here

2 August 2018

Bart Nolet is knocking on my door. He is member of a Danish-Netherlands expedition to ring pinkfooted geese. A very difficult species to catch as they are hunted and run from people from afar. Later I also meet the Danish delegation, with Jesper Madsen.

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20180801 12:59: ossian sars

Ossian Sars

1 August 2018

The whole team went to Ossian Sars, to admire the beautiful bird cliff.
Ossian Sars is a plant reserve and even with the grazing reindeer, it is still a wonderful site for rare plant species.
It is a warm sunny day without wind.

Descending to the cliff is safe, but difficult to show on a photo. The two below give an impression on the steepness.

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20180731 19:05: clouds

Clouds

31 July 2018

In the evening, the clouds are impressive. No wind in the fjord, but the shape of the mountains seem to make patterns in the dark clouds.



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20180731 15:36: Ragnhytta

Ragnhytta

31 July 2018

On the tundra around Ragnhytta, we find no reindeer droppings. The vegetation is also very much different from Brøggerhalvøya. There is a lot of lichen, white and brown. These lichens are crunchy, not soft at all.


We are here for a lake sampling for macro fauna
On the beach, the permafrost creates small eruptions

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20180731 14:25: feeding frenzy

Feeding frenzy

31 July 2018

On our way in the middle of the fjord, we come across a group of fulmars with enormous amount of interactions. They are trying to steal eachothers prey. They are so busy that they don't react on our approach.
In the fjord there are at different locations spots with a lot of feeding birds. These spots are sometimes caused by whales who chase small fish and krill to the surface. This is a similar case, but here the puffins and murres are bringing food into reach of the fulmars and kittiwakes.


Above a video which starts when you click on the picture, below pictures made by Christoph Brochard.

Fulmars belong to the tubenoses. Above the bill they have a tube, to get rid of the salt in the salt water they drink, similar as albatrosses. With this well-deveolped salt gland on their skull, they can survive at sea. For us drinking water is deadly as we need one litre of fresh water to neutralize the salt in one litre of sea water. We would dry out when trying to survive on sea water.

Fulmars are famous as vaictims of plastic at sea. Most of them, even here in the Arctic, have plastics in their stomach.

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20180731 12:00: polar bear protection

Polar bear protection

31 July 2018

There is a lot of attention in the news about a man being wounded and a polar bear being shot. A tragedy for all involved. All details are not yet given, but a lot of reactions can be found on internet. Suddenly I receive also emails, linking me to the accident. I find the source on a Swiss news site, which asked me my opinion during the third goose catch.

Arjen Drost has written a proper account of taken in the tourist industry to reduce the chances for an accident on his website natureview.blog.



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20180731 11:11: sawmill

Sawmill

31 July 2018

The old sawmill has had afacelift and has become a wonderful space for parties and snow scooters.


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20180730 19:00: third goose catch

Third goose catch

30 July 2018

Our third goose catch is moulting adults at Thiisbukta. With four kayaks and a boat, we bring the geese to the catch area. Thank you Jon and Piotr for helping us. After the catch, we wait for two hours so the geese can get rid of all faeces, before we ring them.
A team of students from Switzerland and television visit us to hear about our research and climate change. They help with processing the birds and make interviews while we are ringing and measuring.

Sanne and Marlon are doing the tunnel test. We release the birds through a dark tunnel and measure the time the geese need to come out of the tunnel. It is an attempt to measure personalities.
Pictures from Armin Elbers

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20180730 13:37: studytur nord

Studytur Nord

30 July 2018

Today there are important guests in town. Studytur Nord is the annual Norwegian cruise to inform politicians and captains of industry about important issues on Svalbard. I have been asked to present my research on geese.
I got a nice special t-shirt, devoted to the cruise.
When I arrive, the last session about science strategy is just ending, with standing in front of the class from left to right state secretary Rebekka Borsch, director of the Norwegian research council John-Arne Røttingen and international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute Kim Holmén.

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20180729 17:00: fox eating tern

Fox easting tern

29 July 2018

On return in Ny-Ålesund, we discover a fox eating a young tern. There are many predators hunting for only a fw juveniles of terns and geese.

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20180729 13:00: lake sampling

Lake sampling

29 July 2018

Today, I drop Armin and Jelle at the hut of Storholmen to clean-up and continue with Sanne and Christoph to Sigridholmen to sample a small lake for small animals living in the sediment.
A seal playing close to the boat

While picking up Armin and Jelle, I attach a wildlife camera on the beach to register ringed geese passing by.
Most pictures by Christoph Brochard

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20180728 19:19: saturday dinner

Saturday dinner

28 July 2018

Saturday, the tables are set with candle light, wine glasses and folded tablepaper. The end of each week a special occasion and special food.

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20180728 17:00: island count

island count

28 July 2018

We are visiting all islands in the fjord to counmt the number of moulting geese. Additional counts of arctic terns, arctic skuas, great skuas and glaucous gulls are also made. Maarten is driving the boat, counts are made from left to right by Marlon de Haan, Petra Manche and Won Young Lee.

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20180727 19:14: sampling guano

Sampling guano

27 July 2018

A new Chinese friend, Guangshui NA, wanted to sample layers of bird guano to look for antibiotic resistant genes. I suggested him to sample at Krikjefjellet and this evening we went there. It was a nice and successful trip as we were able to sample 25 separate layers of 1 cm.

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20180727 10:14: fjord count

Fjord count

27 July 2018

For the fourth time, we are counting foraging seabirds in the inner fjord. Again a fantastic trip along 4 different glaciers. Highlight as birds were a Sabine's Gull and an Icelandic Gull.



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20180726 16:19: old soldiers

old soldiers

26 July 2018

It is still raining. So all conversations can be a bit longer and I am enjoying the day with social talk. This picture is Arjen Drost and Wojtek Moskal. They belong to Spitsbergen with a long history of their presence. Arjan was with me as a student in 1999, 2000 an 2001. Than he became a teacher biology, but every holiday was spent in a polar area. Since two years he has become a full time guide and always comes to visit old friends. Since 1994, Wojtek has every year a summer job on logistics with the Norwegian Polar Institute. He is master of the boats and can also bring people around. The rest of the year he organizes logistics in the Polish Institute in Gdansk.

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20180726 15:21: short season adaptation

short season adaptation

26 July 2018

It is raining all day. Annual percipitation is increasing as a clear effect of climate change. Normal amounts are close to desert quantities: 385 mm per year says the met-office. The last year it was 554 mm and three times the normal amount in the month July. The rain is good for the grasses as you can see with this plant, which has a wonderful adaptation to the short season. The seeds germinate already on the seedhead. The gras is called alpine meadow-grass Poa alpina.

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20180726 11:05: macrofauna

macrofauna

26 July 2018

The second sample of bentic lake fauna. Now they have to catch all moving little critters and put them in ethanol for later identification. This was the first time I saw Ostracods. A new revelation, similar to my first encounter with Lepidurus, the tadpole shrimp. From front to back, Sanne Moedt, Christoph Brochard and Marlon de Haan behind the binoc.
The small pictures are made by Christoph Brochard

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20180726 08:58: indian arctic expedition

Indian Arctic Expedition

26 July 2018

A group of Indian scientist has been here for a month in Himadri Station and we had a good conversation this morning. They are always so friendly, it makes me happy to see them. On the top picture from left to right dr. Sabu Prabhakaran, Professor Jaswant Singh and Maarten Loonen. The Indian group has 7 scientist which are named in the bottom picture, which I took from the information board.

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20180725 20:26: microscope

Microscope

25 July 2018

It is crowded in our little luxury house. Christoph Brochard and Sanne Moedt have arrived and show a lot of microscopic life from the lake they have sampled today. A lot of interesting Daphnia stories are told and females, males and juveniles are shown. also the beer is very special: westvleteren twaalf.

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20180725 18:36: vegetation change

vegetation change

25 July 2018

A team from Umeå has been looking at reindeer exclosures which are more than 15 years old. This evening we have an excursion to the goose exclosures. From left to right their Norwegian bear safety student, Elin Lindén and Maja Sundqvist.

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20180724 17:55: second goose catch

Second goose catch

24 July 2018

The second goose catch is a group of 54 adult geese without goslings on Solvatnet. People in the restaurant see our catch and we have a lot of visitors during ringing. Click on the picture to start the video.
Instructions before the catchRinging

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20180723 21:00: deception island

Deception island

23 July 2018

Deception Island is the name of an desolate island in the Antarctic north of the Antarctic peninsula. It is a caldera: a very large, circular hollow that remains when the central part of a volcano falls in after an eruption. The centre of the island is a save harbour, but it was named because deception as the central part did not exist.
After we lost all the arctic tern chicks in town, we decided to go to the tern paradise to see at least some terns with their chicks. But we can name the tern paradise now deception island. The island was completely empty without any nesting terns. A predator had removed everything. Was it an arctic fox? But foxes are rarely swimming. Was it a polar bear? But some of the chicks would have been able to swim off the island. Was it a glaucous gull coming inland? We will never know but the result was disappointing. A deception.
What is left of tern colonies in the fjord? Not much. We saw them all disappear due to predation. The general village, the oil drum enclosure, on the island Gerdøya due to a permanent fox on the island, on Storholmen where we observed more than 100 terns renesting and disappear, or now in the tern paradise. It is a pity as there seems to be an excessive amount of young fish in the fjord. We see terns flying with 5 cm herring all the time.
The first picture is how the island looked on 23 June. The second picture is made 10 days earlier.

So a picture of a flower instead. This is Saxifraga aizoides, yellow saxifrage.

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20180723 12:06: grass growth

grass growth

23 July 2018

Every week, we measure growth of marked grass shoots aroound the village. Marlon de Haan has this task. Armin is writing. Normally the families have to move far from the lakes into town to eat from the protein rich grass. For the goslings it is essential to eat this nutritious food. But this year there are very few goslings and most geese are without young. Those birds can live on a moss diet during moult and loose weight to provide fuel for their new feathers. As a consequence, there is relatively long grass in the village.

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20180723 09:15: no goose catch

No goose catch

23 July 2018

Last week, a group of moulting egese without goslings was staying around Solvatnet. yesterday we counted 120 adults. So we decided to put up the nests to try to catch them this morning before rain would start. But all geese are gone. chased away by the big cruise boat Prinsendam. Let us hope for a second chance although rain is predicted for the whole next week.
On the picture above you can see the size of the boat in relation to the houses. The boat is very close to the lake.
Tourists entering town.

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20180723 09:00: doomsday

Doomsday

23 July 2018

The fox has outwitted us. After a month of successfull breeding, a young fox managed to sneak into the enclosure. 53 ringed arctic terns and 12 nests have been plundered. Nothing is left. Yesterday evening Armin chased the fox out of the enclosure, but he was able to finish the job.
Petra Manche has been running this site keeping track of all developments. Now there are no terns in the sky or attacking us when we enter the enclosure.
Still hoping for some tern chicksNothing left

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20180722 13:00: from the USA

From the USA

22 July 2018

Hugh Ellis, from the University of San Diego (USA) has been here for three weeks to study the effect of pollution on metabolic rate in arctic terns. It was a preliminary season to learn how to work with these sensitive birds. And we learned a lot.
Earlier in 2012, Hugh studied Kittiwakes, a much easier species and made the video below.

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20180722 12:00: blogging

 

Blogging

22 July 2018

Marlon de Haan found a sponsor in CFP Green Buildings, who asked her to blog during her stay on Spitsbergen. The blogs are in Dutch.
29 June 2018 No place like Spitsbergen 9 July 2018 Ecosystems on Spitsbergen
18 July 2018 Life on Spitsbergen

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20180721 12:00: snack

Snack

21 July 2018

A story in Svalbardposten, the local newspaper, about a polar bear catching barnacle goose goslings.
The parents are swimming with four newly born goslings, but in the end the bear had them all.
Pictures from Svalbardposten, taken by Martin Enckell

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20180720 13:15: first goose catch

First goose catch

20 July 2018

Our first goose catch is close to Sagbruk. There is a rain forecast and if needed we can seek shelter. During the preparation of the nets, the geese were resting closeby at the pond. When we were ready, the geese started to move and we caught them with three people, Armin, Jelle and Maarten. These are the only five families which are in town. It is always good to have a seperate catch of families and failed or no-breeders.Pictures by Armin Elbers.
Geese are in the net 11:30

Jelle puts a gosling in a box to start ringing at 13:30
An old female green XXZ (always read from bottom to top of the leg)

Marlon takes blood samples

Video after catching the families, note the sound of the feeding snowbuntings

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20180720 12:00: Kings Bay staff

Kings Bay staff

20 July 2018

All permanent personel of Kings Bay had their picture taken to fill the information poster. For me a good possibility to fill the database of the inhabitants, which has a nice facility to learn names. Now I have to collect pictures of the summer workers.

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20180719 09:23: mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

19 July 2018

During her last day, Kate has her mother visiting.

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20180719 08:40: team picture

Team picture

19 July 2018

A picture of the team before Matteo and Kate leave. From left to right top row: Nadia, Petra, Eefje, Bear, Armin and Jelle. Bottom row Matteo, Marlon, Kate and Maarten.

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20180718 17:54: last balloon

Last balloon

18 July 2018

Nadia, Eefje and Armin have flown their balloon with camera over the last transect. They have locked the balloon to the station as a marker.

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20180718 17:44: waterproof

Waterproof

18 July 2018

On return in the harbour, Jelle and Marlon test if their survival suits are waterproof.

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20180718 15:00: wounded burglar

Wounded burglar

18 July 2018

We are visiting Storholmen to read rings of the barnacle geese ahich stay on the island. I am reading from the hut on Storholmen. Recently, this hut has been renovated nicely, but inside the hut is now a mess of broken glass. Eight small windows are broken and when we leave the hut at the end of observation we find blood stains on the outside. It must have been a polar bear, which wounded himself. A similar case has been reported two days ago from the Brandalhytta. Normally, wooden plates are left against the outside of the windows to prevent this. but those wooden bords where destroyed already earlier and had only a weak attachment. It is really a pity for this nice hut but also for the wounded polar bear. Nobody has seen the polar bear in the last week, the period in which both break-ins seem to have happened.was een stiekeme bezoeker.
The pictures above show the window to the southeast, inside and outside. The pictures here are from the window to the southwest, next to the entrance. This window still had a wooden protection and is now protected. The other windows are still without protection.

A selfie from me observing the geese on the beach through the small window in the door. I was able to check 90 birds and read 20 rings. The youngest family had a ringed male green TFP and three 7 days old goslings. I sudenly saw some wings flapping on the tundra. A glaucous gull had taken one gosling in its beak and the male goose jumped twice on the gull before it could take-off with the golsing still struggling in its bill. It is a cruel dangerous world. A few minutes later I saw the family again on the gravel beach. Now with two goslings as nothing had happened.
The wood pile has probably been disturbed by a polar bear a bit earlier. This is a video about such a polar bear visit. On the way back, we also discover that the tern colony which had formed after the bear visits became less frequent because all eider duck and barnacle geese nests were predated, had disappeared. More than 60 nests of arctic terns. Also predated, either by polar bear or glaucous gull. I do understand the polar bear with the sea ice more than several hundred kilometers nort of its normal position.

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20180717 13:52: tern chicks

Tern chicks

17 July 2018

Marlon and Petra catch and weigh arctic tern chicks while Armin makes a video.

Marlon met twee kuikens in haar hand en een stern achter haar hoofdPetra met een kuiken

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20180716 15:20: glacier ice

Glacier ice

16 July 2018

Every week, we are counting seabirds in the fjord and pass four glacier fronts. It is always a special experience.


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20180716 15:06: king eider and beard

King eider and bearded seal

16 July 2018

During our fjordcount, we suddenly saw king eider. Those are not common in the fjord in this period. Marlon has also photographed a line of king eider leaving the fjord en passing over Ny-Ålesund.
Marlon has also photographed a line of king eider leaving the fjord en passing over Ny-Ålesund. This was a day earlier 15 July 2018 16:34
And a beautiful beard of a bearded seal in the passing.

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20180715 16:00: hair dresser

Hair dresser

15 July 2018

Armin needed a hair cut and Marlon did the job.

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20180715 11:32: mini springtails

mini springtails

15 July 2018

Since 2006, we have 5 insect traps in the village were we catch insects on moss vegetation. Trap number 4 is moved 10 meters and now we catch loads of mini springtails. Is this because of the new site or is this because of the early season. More questions than answers. Marlon empties every other day the five traps and filters the insects out of the soapy water and puts them in ethanol.

A picture from an earlier weblog in 2010, showing normal sized and small springtails under the microscope.

For all weblog items on insects click here.

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20180715 11:00: red balloon

red balloon

15 July 2018

Earlier, the scientist from Leiden used blue balloons to lift their multispectral camera. But sofar they have used the 8 blue balloons and found some extra in the AWIPEV station. Now the colour is red.

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20180714 15:00: bird hide

bird hide

14 July 2018

A check on geese at Gerdøya. This island is usually full of breeding terns, but this year there is an arctic fox and no nests are present. Nevertheless it is also an important moulting site for geese. We make an effort to read rings. Petra sits in the bird hide and Maarten tries to bring the moulting geese close. That proves difficult as the geese swim out from the island and stay far on the fjord. But we have a few rings, sightings of a fox and a reindeer and counted 192 geese.


And just a picture of white bell heather on the tundra, while I wait for the geese to return to the island.


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20180713 19:00: longtailed duck

longtailed duck

13 July 2018

In the lake of the tern paradise, there are also several longtailed duck, hardly shy. Unfortunately it seems that breeding went wrong this year. Adults are just gathering here. It is always so much fun to see the ducklings shortly after hatch on foraging trips. They make a jump to dive under and all chicks disappear for half a minute. Than they pop-up at the lake surface. In Canada the Inuit call this duck old squaw / old woman.


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20180713 18:30: tern paradise

tern paradise

13 July 2018

We are going to Blomstrandhalvøya to check the tern paradise. It is such a beautiful area. We discovered it in 2016, but 2017 was a bad year. For 2018 it looked promising and indeed the terns are doing well this year. About 70 nests and one red-throated diver on the main island and 7 arctic tern nests on the small island.


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20180713 12:00: burglar

Burglar

13 July 2018

The Brandalhytta has been visited by a polar bear. Through the window in and through the door out. A lot of damage but also a lot of polar bear blood. This is the start of several break-ins, also in Storholmenhytta and Ragnahytta. The polar bear was also walking up to Camp Zoe, but people staying in the hut chased it away. We need to be more careful with protecting the windows and not leaving any food in the hut. Pictures from the facebook site of Stein Jarle Pedersen.

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20180713 11:31: student became guide

student became guide

13 July 2018

In 2014, Malenthe Theunis was a student studying arctic terns. Now she has a job studying mangroves but every summer she is working as a tourist guide for Quist. She is working together with her friend, Rudger Bianchi, and I meet the couple at the shop. Nice to get an update on their status.


An other example is Arjen Drost. Hij did his master project with me on barnacle geese. Later he became biology teacher but every holiday he was guide in the polar regions. Since a couple of years he is full-time guiding. See his website natureview.
The people working at the Arctic Centre have all been guiding and can advise our students on this type of work.

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20180713 10:57: lance

Lance

13 July 2018

The Lance has been the research vessel of the Norwegian Polar Institute. It is her last year as she will be replaced by a new ship. Today, Lance docks in the harbour. It will be one of the very last times.

The new vessel RV Kornprins Haakon has arrived in Norway and this autumn she will come to the Arctic. It has icebreaker capacity and is 100 meter long and 21 meter wide. The first project will be the Nansen Legacy and she will study the ice edge of the Arctic.

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20180713 10:14: carbon cycle

carbon cycle

13 July 2018

Matteo Petit Bon is an Italian working as a PhD student at UNIS in Longyearbyen. He studies the effect of temperature on vegetation. Now he is participating in the project INSYNC of Brage Bremseth Hansen of NTNU Trondheim. This project addresses the interaction between geese, reindeer and vegetation in relation to climat change. Matteo is measuring carbon sequestering and emission in exclosures and grazed vegetation. Earlier, that has been done by Sofie Sjögersten and we are curious how this developed now the vegetation is changed even more. Armin Elmers is his assitant now that Kate Layton-Matthews is sick.

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20180712 14:43: veteran visits

veteran visits

12 July 2018

In 1974, Aksel G. Schjervheim (Okki) lived in London 2. Thise were the years after the mining accident and before the start as a science town. There were only 6 people in Ny-Ålesund. They had to drill a hole, so the ownership of KingsBay as a mining company was secure. They called it a political drill. Okki is from a family with 10 kids and is accompagnied by a younger brother and his sister in law. He tells about a visit of a vomitting Russian who ate his vomit. On leaving, we make a selfie.

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20180711 20:22: no see ums

No see ums

11 July 2018

Armin Elbers came with his own experiment, trying to discover a new species group. He is looking for Culicoides emerging from reindeer faeces. Culicoides are biting midges, also known as no see ums. He is prepared a nice bedding from which they could emerge and brought special tents where they will be trapped if they move to the light. It would be a big disappointment for people living her if we got a lot of biting insects due to global warming. So far there are not so many on Svalbard. However for science it would be an interesting dicovery.


Armin shows his methods to Jelle and Marlon.

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20180711 11:00: blue balloon

blue balloon

11 July 2018

Nadia, Eefje and Peter are using balloons to lift a hyperspectral camera in the air and do remote sensing of functional vegetation diversity. Today they test the balloons but it is still to windy.

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20180707 21:00: Frigga has a job

Frigga has a job in science

7 July 2018

The Antigua arrives in the harbour with on board Frigga Kruse as a guide. Frigga did her PhD and a post-doc at the Arctic Centre in Groningen and has been doing various jobs for two years. Now she has a guiding job and she did already 5 tours.
She has to read her email as she might find news. Seconds later we have a party. She has received a Freigeist Fellowship of the Volkswagen Stiftung for her proposal
Timeless Arctic - commercial hunting and the reconstruction of human impact in Svalbard.

She will be appointed for five years at the University of Kiel and work multidisciplinary with archaeology and natural sciences. This position will also be very important for the Arctic Centre as she will continue to work on Spitsbergen together with us.

More details on this project can be found in German here.


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20180706 22:00: photo journalist

photo journalist

6 July 2018

Kadir van Lohuizen is visiting from Amsterdam. He travels a lot and makes social engaged photo documentaries. At this moment he is making a series on the changing arctic. He spent time in Alaska, Resolute Bay en on the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen and is now in Ny-Ålesund. After this visit he travels to Greenland and visits the ice coring site on the Greenland ice sheet.

Today, Rudolf Denkmann is showing us the entire fjord with all glacier fronts. The wind has changed and there is much less ice in front of the glacier than last week during the fjord count. Three of the five glaciers had around 500 kittiwakes feeding in the glacier river.
Three videos made during the boat trip

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20180705 22:55: farewell benoit

Farewell Benoît

5 July 2018

Benoît Laurent is leaving Ny-Ålesund after a full year working as optical engineer at AWIPEV. Leaving town becomes special. We have old musical instruments and make a lot of noise while the boat is leaving.

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20180705 18:45: boat driver jelle

Boat driver Jelle

5 July 2018

We have been reading goose rings on Storholmen. On the way back Jelle Wichers runs the boat. This is a wonderful place to learn many new things.

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20180704 14:41: ringed tern

ringed tern

4 July 2018

We are retrieving geolocators of arctic terns. The birds are difficult to catch, but Petra Mance does a good job and supervises the tern farm.

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20180704 11:00: visiting regional newspaper

Visiting regional newspaper

4 July 2018

A jouralist and a wildlife photographer visit our station to learn about goose research and climate change. Halbe Hettema to the left and Marcel van Kammen to the right. Here they sit in a zodiac while we head to the kittiwake cliff. On the way back three young people in the boat make a small swim in their survival suit in the harbour. Just to get a feel when they should fall in the water. But suddenly while unloading the boat Halbe falls in the water too. Some excitement, but we got him out quick and relatively dry.

In the Dutch version of this website, you can read the resulting article and the video registrations made by them.

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20180702 11:02: chairman of board kingsbay

New chairman of the Board of Directors of Kings Bay

2 July 2018

The govenment has made a new strategy for science on Svalbard, which involved several changes in the task of Kings Bay and the Norwegian Polar Institute. We all have to get acquainted with these new roles. NPI will be more actively involved in science coordination and Kings Bay will more focus on facilities. There is also a new director of the board appointed: Tor Instanes, director of Marineholmen, in the middle of the picture. Together with his friend Tore Johan Smidt (to the right on the picture), who has been doing construction work on Svalbard long ago, he is visiting Ny-Ålesund.
They have presented themselves to the personal of Kings Bay and the stationleaders. And they visited the Netherlands Arctic Station to learn about our work and to hear our view on future Ny-Ålesund. It was a very pleasant and open discussion.

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20180628 12:00: tern farming

Tern farming

28 June 2018

The oildrums are fenced and we have made sure that no arctic fox can enter the enclosure. Already several years it is an interesting spot for nesting arctic tern but this year with all predation in the rest of the village, there are 70 nests of arctic tern in this small area. Sofar so good, although working with terns is not easy with all their attacks, shrieks and pooping. petra Manche houdt alles in de gaten en Marlon de Haan helpt.

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20180627 18:14: Chinese delegation

Chinese delegation

27 June 2018

Today, a chinese delegation of scientists visited the Netherlands Arctic Station and discussed with Maarten the way science in Ny-Ålesund is structured and potential for collaboration. It was a very nice visit and we exchanged some presents. The chinese delegation was a mix of directors and scientists. Ren Xu was head of the 8th Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition (CHINARE-8) along the Northern shipping route and over the North Pole in 2017 with the Xuelong (Snow Dragon).
The western names are written in the western order with first name first and family name second.

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20180626 13:00: collecting decomposed tea

Collecting decomposed tea

26 June 2018

The global teabag index is a large citizen science project where teabags are used as standardized model for dead plant material. Jelle and Maarten collect teabags which have been in the ground for two years.

Earlier posts about the teabag experiment
20160622 17:00
global teabag index
20160812 15:00
retrieving tea bags

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20180625 15:00: netherlands polar infrastructure

Netherlands polar infrastructure

25 June 2018

  More good news from The Netherlands. An committee has advised to invest in polar infrastructure for research. We hope it will give also some investments in the joint cooperation here on Spitsbergen.

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20180625 14:00: bankers reducing CO2

Bankers reducing CO2

25 June 2018

Good news from The Netherlands, showing results of the earlier trip to Spitsbergen, organised by Bernice Notenboom. Maarten joined as a guide and has shown the group around in Ny-Ålesund. It was special to notice how these people were motivated into action, seeing climate change from close. The people on the boat spend at least 11 hours in two days, discussing their ideas. And today they present a plan to reduce CO2 but also to monitor eachothers promises and actions.



Financial sector prepares for Dutch climate agreement

Amsterdam, 25 June 2018

Fifteen Dutch banks, insurance companies, pension funds, asset funds and investment funds will report on the climate impact of all their investments and operations, aiming for at least 49% CO2-reduction in 2030, 100% in 2050. They have signed a Spitsbergen Ambition.
The full text in Dutch can be found on the Dutch version of this website.


The Spitsbergen Ambition is signed by: ABN-AMRO, AXA IM Nederland, ACTIAM, AEGON, ASN Bank, ASR, Triodos Bank, BNG Bank, Double Dividend, FMO, ING, NNEK, Rabobank, SET Ventures, De Volksbank.

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20180625 10:30: first bears for students

First polar bear sightings for our students

25 June 2018

There is a general alarm going through town. The bears seen yesterday in the innerfjord are now passing south of town. A unique chance to observe them from a safe platform on top of the Sverdrup station.

Two kids trailing behind their mom, pictures from Marlon de Haan.


A day earlier Svein Arne Hanssen made this picture on on of the islands

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20180623 15:00: egg eating gull

Egg eating Glaucous Gull

23 June 2018

Arctic tern nests along the streets in the village disappear fast. Is the fox the predator? The wildlife camera registers the criminal/ It is a glaucous gull. While its head is bleeding as a result of tern attacks, the bird continues with eating eggs. In the top left corner you see part of the tern defending the nest.
Detail of the first picture.Detail of the picture below.
We have identified the robber. white ADF is the criminal.

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20180622 14:00: it is not easy being tern

It is not easy being tern

22 June 2018

Today we visited our tern paradise. We gave this area that name in 2016 as an ideal breeding locality for arctic terns. Unfortunately it was empty in 2017. But today the odds were better, though another visitor, the arctic fox, was close.
Picture with arctic terns, red-throated diver and arctic fox in one, made by Marlon de Haan

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20180621 10:30: Maarten and students arrive

Maarten and students arrive

21 June 2018

Today, Jelle Wichers, Petra Manche, Marlon de Haan and Maarten Loonen arrive. It is a day unpacking and installing.
From left to right Margje de Jong, Marlon de Haan, Suzanne Lubbe, Petra Manche, Jelle Wichers and with blue coat in front Maarten Loonen

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20180620 18:54: again polar bears eating eggs

Again polar bears eating eggs

20 June 2018

For some days a female polar bear and its cub are moving inside the fjord from island to island eating eggs of conmmon eider and barnacle geese. Today they show up on Prins Heinrichsoya and everyone can see them from the canteen.

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20180617 14:00: after dinner

After dinner.....

17 June 2018

...even a polar bear needs to empty its stomach. But a dinner of eggs (read protein) does not feel good if you are used to 100% fat. That you can see yourself in this picture taken by Margje de Jong. More shit here

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20180614 12:00: station opened

Station opened

14 June 2018

The first people for the summer of 2018 have arrived and they opened the station for this summer.
Left Suzanne Lubbe and right Margje de Jong
Spring has been a month earlier than normal and all the snow has disappeared, except for the location where snow from road cleaning was deposited. The field work starts with an inventarory of barnacle goose and arctic tern nesting and checking for colourringed individuals.

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20180610 14:00: workshop terrestrial flagship

workshop terrestrial flagship: planning

10 June 2018

From 13 to 16 August there will be a meeting of the terrestrial ecology flagship of NySMAC in Ny-Ålesund. Thanks to a contribution of Svalbard Science Forum, we can invite 25 scientists. Please have a look to the registration website and respond a.s.a.p.

http://www.npolar.no/en/events/2018/08-13-ny-alesund-terrestrial-ecology-flagship-workshop.html


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20180605 08:20: allowed to travel

I am allowed to travel

5 June 2020

Norway has still orange status, as you are not allowed to enter the country as a tourist. Luckily, there are exceptions and with 4 letters from Norwegian partners and two letters from the Netherlands, I passed the border without any problem. Near the airport Gardermoen I have to stay for 10 days in a special hotel, before I can continue my trip to Svalbard.

I was a bit surprised that my trip was already enough for an interview on national radio. It is below, but mind you, it is in the Dutch language.

Als je de originele webpagina direct wilt laden, klik hier.

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20180515 10:54: seed vault

global seed vault

15 May 2018

The global seed vault or doomsday vault in Longyearbyen is a magical place. A time capsule for survival. In this mountain, seed collections are stored in case of an apocalyptic accident. Human agriculture has improved and selected seeds for food over many centuries. Here they should be stored for eternity. Seventy meters above sea level in case all ice caps of the world melt, in a frozen mountain in case all electricity fails.

Nevertheless, this project is also an example about the unpredictability of climate change. At present the vault is renovated as melt water has entered the tunnel and made it into a big glide. So the design was not good enough to prevent it from becoming a victim of climate change. luckily this can be repaired, but at high costs.
Layout of the seed vault from http://arte.folha.uol.com.br/ciencia/2018/climate-crisis/arctic/global-seed-vault-undergoing-renovation-and-repairs-due-to-arctic-warming/

Other weblog items about this project:

weblog

20070722, 17:00
seed vault
 
And an animation found on youtube

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20180513 10:30: shapes of time

shapes of time

13 mei 2018

Pinhole cameras made #solargraphy long exposure pictures in which all movements disappears and several sun tracks survive in a frozen moment. The pictures have inspired musicians to new music which add to the paradox. Today they were on TV.
The above video is part of the full item, which can be seen on https://www.vpro.nl/vrije-geluiden/lees/artiesten/shapes-of-time.html

Other weblog items about this project:

weblog

20161007, 16:00
arctic solargraphy
 

weblog

20160729, 15:30
pin holes
 

weblog

20160606, 20:32
pin hole cameras
 

weblog

20150619, 11:37
solargraphy by
udo prinsen

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20180508 05:00: warming arctic continues

Arctic warming continues

8 May 2018

For a lecture during the Arctic symposium of the Association of Utrecht Geography Students (V.U.G.S.) I had already included a slide in my presentation with graphs from the websitehttp://www.yr.no. Under the heading [statistics] you can see a nice overview of a year with the measured temperature and precipitation against the normals (black lines).
I like to point out how the temperature in the winter regularly rises above zero. On those days, an excessive amount of rain often falls with danger of avalanches and landslides. After that, the weather quickly freezes, and the rain that has accumulated between the permafrost soil and the snow freezes and makes an impenetrable layer. When putting together the presentation, I am also amazed by the warm days of the past week and a ten-day weather forecast that also remains above zero. That should actually happen in June, not in May.
When I get up early, I see the message on facebook. The Washington Post has also posted an article under the title Another excessive heatwave on the North Pole with a nice map of the deviation of the local temperatures compared to normal values. In the train I also add this picture to the presentation.

Temperature difference from normal over the Arctic analyzed by European model on May 7 2018.

I no longer have to talk about the distant future. I have experienced it all myself. In the early nineties when specialist told me that glaciers always go back and forth and that Spitsbergen is buffered for warming by the large water surface of the ocean. Spitsbergen is now the fastest warming place in the Arctic, due to the warm ocean water and the absence of ice cover. The glaciers have withdrawn 2 to 4 kilometers since I am here and sometimes they get pitch black at the end of the summer because they become smaller and more and more grit and material gets on the surface of the ice. And the climate models are getting better and predict little good.
I have to do more. We are going to make our house more sustainable and I have become vegetarian for most meals.

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20180427 20:00: trip 3 with Bernice

Trip 3 with Bernice

24-27 April 2018

In 2018 Bernice Notenboom has again organized a trip to Spitsbergen. This time the boat is filled with directors of banks and investment funds, to discuss financial problems with shifting to a sustainable economy.
A new logo has been created for this expedition. The C of Celsius has been changed into a EURO sign. Prior to this trip some group members have already met several times under the leadership of Anita de Horde. There is a clear plan and on board 11 hours is spent on discussions to really achieve results. Again, the motivation from the group, the environment and the telephone and internet being closed have a positive effect.

Photo: Maarten Loonen

At the end of the trip, there are concrete plans to expand green investments and help homeowners with sustainability. Tuesday 8 May on national television the first results are presented.

Click on the picture above to go to the webpage where you can view the television show (in Dutch).

A short movie about the trip made by Paul Span van Oblivion

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20180422 15:00: excursion with AkzoNobel

Excursion AkzoNobel

22 April 2018

Through my brother, I came in contact with his year-club member of Nijenrode Marcel Galjee. Marcel is director of Energy at AkzoNobel and with his team for years engaged in a sustainability agenda. He booked a trip to Longyearbyen for his team. After the nice experiences with the travels of Bernice Notenboom, I like to share my knowledge and experience with him and his team. Earlier I gave a lecture at the head office in Amsterdam and today I give a tour through Longyearbyen.
I am also invited to their discussions. In the morning there is a meeting and I hear about the plans and motivation of all employees. A special inside look. And if their plans continue, major steps are taken towards a sustainable economy.

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20180421 20:30: textile in graves

textile in graves

21 April 2018


The Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund collects a bit of taxes from every tourist to invest in better protection and management of nature and cultural heritage. Today, the fund has announced their most recent allocation and given NOK 350.000 (= euro 36.400) for a researh project to investigate the decay of clothing of 17th century whalers in the permafrost. The full description of the proposal is here. It contains a survey with ground penetrating radar and an experiment where various types of textile are monitored while composting in the active layer.
More than 35 years ago, the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen has excavated graves at Smeerenburg and Zeeuwse Uitkijk. During those excavations, a lot of woolen and some silk material was found. Our hypothesis is that it is now quickly rotting away as permafrost is deeper in summer due to climate change.

The map of the graves at Ytre Norskøya, where 50 graves were opened and dated more than 30 years ago.

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20180414 16:00: vist to new island

visit to new island

14 April 2018

  Today, I went with two experienced mudflat hikers to the new breeding island for arctic and common terns next to industrial area the Eemshaven. The island is custom made as compensation for nest disturbances inside the industry area. Arctic terns and the Wadden Sea have the highest possible protection status and any disturbance requires compensation by law.
We are expecting the first arctic terns to arrive within a week. In the meanwhile it is important that the island is not visited by the general public, so terns and gulls feel undisturbed.
In this area terns have been ringed with individual colour rings by Derick Hiemstra for more than ten years. This situation is unique to study the displacement of the terns to new breeding areas. That is why researchers will monitor the breeding birds. There are two bird observation hides on the island and we will use automatic cameras to observe nests and ringed individuals.
Though most of the information on this website concerns arctic activities, this study has a clear link with the studies on Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the northern breeding place of arctic terns, while the Wadden Sea is the most southern breeding place of their range. The arctic terns in the Eemshaven have the longest migration route as they fly to the Antarctic, south of Tasmania in winter. New island colonisation is also happening in the Arctic as glaciers retreat and new islands appear.
In the background the industry in the Eemshaven with three electricity plants, many windturbines, trade and datacenters (e.g. Google).
On the island, there are models placed in groups to attract terns but also allow a study into their attractiveness. Wooden pallets should provide some shelter for the chicks against avian predators. An electrical fence should keep terrestrial predators off during extreme low tides.
Mud hiking in the Dutch Wadden Sea. A special sport. I was accompanied by two friends who are experienced, well prepared and licenced. Knowledge on the tides and safety procedures are important.
While the island should becomne a carrot for nesting terns, the industry area should be less favourable. Despite all activity, for many years the industry area was the most successful breeding colony in the Dutch Wadden Sea. The arctic terns were nesting on a grassy area, fenced off and heavily grazed by rabbits to keep the vegetation short. A nearby black headed gull colony and nesting common terns on the roofs and the unused railway provided extra protection for the terns.
We use a stick and carrot approach. But the stick requires some action before the terns arrive. The railway needs to be covered with plastic and the roofs need to be covered with netting. As soon as a tern would start to nest here, any additional disturbance is forbidden by law.
The netting on the roof is particular sensitive. We have seen some incidences of terns dying because they were caught in in-proper placed nets. Law enforcement will inspect the nets during the breeding season.
The province of Groningen has played a very important role in finding a solution for the problem. They have our big gratitude. We hope again for full access bij Groningen Seaports and the local compagnies to the industry during the breeding season to support our monitoring activities.


More posts about the arctic tern on Spitsbergen, in the Eemshaven or the crowd funding can be found by clicking on these blue links.


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20180404 13:47: new dutch island

new dutch island for terns

4 April 2018

<--situation 4 Dec 2017      

The Netherlands has a new island, special made for terns in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Eemshaven is an industrial area and harbour where arctic and common terns were nesting. They frightened the workers and attacked them heavily during the breeding season. But nesting terns are protected and cannot be disturbed during the breeding season. The only solution was to create a proper alternative. That was a new island outside the harbou. The island is completed in autumn 2017 and is now waiting for the first arctic terns arriving from the Antarctic.

For me, I am involved in this project to help the volunteers with their long term research on terns and to monitor how the terns react on the changing environment. Derick Hiemstra has been using individual coded colour rings on terns in the area which allows us to see individual birds switch between breeding localities.

Flushing sand from deepenng the gully to create a new islandPreparing and shaping the island with in the background the Eemshaven

Pictures taken from http://www.wadgidsenweb.nl/helden/760-voolhok.html

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20180403 18:00: new expedition sees.nl

New expedition sees.nl

3 April 2018


A tweet about our plans to organize again a Dutch arctic expedition to Spitsbergen in 2020, has brought the local television to the Arctic Centre. They made the above clip.

News bout the new and old expedition can be found on http://www.sees.nl

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20180328 10;00: national polar institute

University Groningen as centre for polar research

 

28 March 2018

De Dutch research council (NWO) has produced a new report on the furture of Dutch polar infrastructure. The report states that the netherlands should develop a national polar institute. The University of Groningen seems to be the best place for such an institute as will be shown on this page.

The Willem Barentsz Polar Institute is a Groningen initiative for polar researchers. Originally started as a potential national institute it became more a network for Dutch polar researchers. Nevertheless this might be the moment to reconsider. More about the WBPI at http://wbpi.nl/

The Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen is a small active multidisciplinary research centre studying human influence on the Arctic environment. The Arctic Centre also manages the Netherlands Arctic Statopn on Spitsbergen and represents The Netherlands in working groups of the Arctic Council: CAFF (biodiversity), AMAP (pollution) and SDWG (sustainable development). We also participate in international science coordination like EU-PolarNet, INTERACT, SIOS, SSF and NySMAC.

Groningen is a centre for Arctic and Antarctic research. More people, groups and expertise can be found on https://www.rug.nl/research/arctisch-centrum/polar-research-groningen>

Groningen has several interesting courses for students. A special minor for bachelor students of all study programmes and universities, special courses for archeologists and biologists and advanced courses for master students and PhD students about sustainability of people in polar areas.

We link with companies and participate in the Dutch Arctic Circle, a group of companies who explore new opportunities from the melting ice in the Arctic. We prefer alliances with companies who want to use the melting ice as an alarm to battle climate change and who look for energy saving, energie transition, sustainability and a circular economy. The campaigns by Bernice Nootenboom are a good example. In the past we received support from Procter & Gamble (10 year doubling of the Netherlands Arctic Station), travel organisation Thika Travel and the alumni of the University of Groningen via the Ubbo Emmius Fund (support for research on arctic terns flying from Artic to Antarctic http://www.rugsteuntstern.nl). We are looking for new partners via the Willem Barentsz Foundations.

Finally, we are preparing a new large expidition in 2020 with a large group of scientists and tourists to the eastside of Spitsbergen. In 2015 we organised already the biggest polar expedition to the island Edgeøya. This expedition did receive a lot of attention for all participants and we hope to continue on the research projects. More about this expedition on http://www.sees.nl.

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20180315 12:00: CAFF CBIRD Cambridge

CAFF CBIRD Cambridge

13-16 March 2018

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) is a working group of the Arctic Council. All nations with polar territory and indiginous peoples groups discuss improvements for biodiversity and protection in this group. Several countries and organisations participate, including the Netherlands with Maarten Loonen as a representative. This week he is participating in the CBIRD group, compiling data on seabirds and eider ducks. This year, the annual meeting is in Camebridge.
Elise Biersma is a former student of me, who has done a PhD at the British Antarctic Survey and is now doing a post-doc too.
An excursion on the river Cam
On excursion to the WWT Trust reserve Welney.

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20180110 14:00: shovel breeding tern

shovel breeding tern

10 January 2018

Via a post of the online newspaper icepeople.net I heard about the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition where David Costantini was given a reward for best runner-up. I do like this picture. I had placed the nest on a shovel to get it out of the driving track on the road. My post has much simpler pictures. The nest movement worked fine, although the nest was predated a couple of days later.

Picture re-used with permission of David Costantini


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20171204 10:00: zooplankton sample split

zooplankton sample split

4 December 2017

In the laboratory of Bureau Biota, Sanne Moedt is splitting zooplankton samples to get the optimal density of items in each microscope field. She will determine species composition with an inverted microscope, which looks at the sunken items from below.

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20171102 12:00: KNMI special 2

KNMI special 2
What happens now ice is melting in the Arctic?

2 November 2017


A webpage of KNMI, the Royal Meteorological Institute in the Netherlands about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic.

Open the page in Google Translate
arctic ecosystems
weather and climate in the arctic
econmic developments in the arctic

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20170807 09:30: field excursion for students

field excursion for students

7 August 2017

For many years, a group of students from UNIS University courses on Svalbard is visiting Ny-Ålesund and follows me for one day in a goose catch. In front of the station, they get their first instructions.
Pictures by Anne Schumacher

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20170731 18:30: tasting glacier ice

tasting glacier ice

31 July 2017

The documentary (in Dutch) can be seen via this link:
https://brandpunt.kro-ncrv.nl/brandpunt/dit-zijn-de-eerste-klimaatvluchtelingen-van-de-pool/

A team from Brandpunt is making a documentary about climate change. In front of the glacier, they make a clip with a 360 degrees camera. I explain to Sacha de Boer, photo journalist and former news anchor of the national TV news, about the properties of glacier ice and compare it with sea ice.
On facebook this video is spectacular as you can scroll around. The first picture gives the normal window. The second picture is the full picture. To see the clip with all technical gadgets go to facebook.
I made some selfies, while they were enjoying some glacier calving.
Below it should show this page https://brandpunt.kro-ncrv.nl/brandpunt/dit-zijn-de-eerste-klimaatvluchtelingen-van-de-pool/, but some browsers leave the field empty due to their security settings.

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20170730 21:45: tern chicks weighing

tern chicks weighing

30 July 2017


The only arctic tern chicks surviving in the village are breeding in a fenced area around the oil drums. I have ringed in this area 25 chicks and I am weighing them once more to follow their growth. Today Jabir Thajudeen from the Indian Himadri station is joining us and hopes to collect some fresh faeces from adults. This is also a good opportunity to take a picture from him with a chick.

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20170729 16:30: first goose catch

first goose catch

29 July 2017

The first catch of geese in 2017.
Yuta is weighing the geese in their boxMaarten is sexing the geese
plastic ringmetal ring
growing primariesmeasuring head-bill size
Pictures by Erlend Jensen Sandvoll

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20170728 19:48: boating course

boating course

28 July 2017


Eefje de Goede and Annabelle de Vries are almost ready with their fieldwork. Today they want to visit two sites, each an hour walking east and west of town. I deceide to bring them to both places and they will walk bacjk from Stuphallet.

The weather is calm and this is a good opportunity for a first boating course. Both get a chance in handling the boat and we all have a good time.

Eefje rounds the iceberg.

Annabelle brings us to the next stop

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20170728 12:00: mother and daughter

mother and daughter

28 July 2017

Martine van den Heuvel and her daughter Mare feature in a newspaper article about their field work on Svalbard.

We always carried a rifle
Mare van den Heuvel temorarily research assistant
In July, Mare van den Heuvel (13) assists her mother (ecotoxicologist) on Spitsbergen.

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20170727 14:00: Gerdøya

Gerdøya

27 July 2017

Mari and I are reading rings on the island Gerdøya. Only four out of a hundred geese appears ringed on this island.
While Mari is in the bird hide, I go ringing arctic tern chicks on the other side of the island.

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20170727 10:53: satellite download

satellite download

27 July 2017

It is the last working day for Carsten Falck (left) and Stefan Weisheit (right) in their satellite download station. This is the moment for a short visit.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ-Potsdam) operates a satellite receiving station at Ny-Ålesund to receive data from research satellites in polar orbits (e.g., CHAMP, GRACE, Terrasar-X, Tandem-X, SAC-C). Satellites in polar orbits can be received in Germany not more often than 3 to 4 times per day (due to the rotation of the Earth). The same satellites appear over Ny-Ålesund about 15 times per day, allowing data reception from these satellites approximately 95 minutes after onboard measurement. The fast availability of the data is the precondition for applications with tight time constraints. An example is the data of satellite-measured GNSS atmosphere sounding instruments (innovative method to determine atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles), which is used to improve weather forecasting and climate research. The high number of contacts to the satellites also supports a better health monitoring of the satellite systems so that onboard technical problems may be detected early. The receiving antennas are located outside the village, between the local airport and the Kings Bay. The station is a state of the art, multi mission follow-up (replacement) of the CHAMP-receiving antenna (installed in 2001).

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20170727 09:00: team today

team today

27 July 2017

A picture of all Dutch scientists staying in Ny-Ålesund today. Note the nice t-shirts they are wearing, designed by eyedentityclothing.com.
From left to right Eefje de Goede (Leiden), Martine van den Heuvel-Greve (Wageningen), Annabelle de Vries (Leiden), Frits Steenhuisen (Groningen), Mare van den Heuvel (Wageningen), Maarten Loonen (Groningen), Sanne Moedt (Groningen), Michiel Klaassen (Wageningen), Yuta Morii (Groningen), Anne Schumacher (Wageningen/Groningen), Mari Fjeldal (Trondheim).


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20170726 22:22: tern chicks

tern chicks

26 July 2017

The only place were terns are succesfully raising their chicks in town is in de enclosure of the oil drums. You need to be brave, to enter in the area. Mare and Mari go and collect the chicks, so I can ring and weigh them. Yuta Morii made the pictures.

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20170726 12:30: preparations for ringing

preparations for ringing

26 July 2017

Soon we will start catching geese. I have engraved plates, which have to be turned into rings by heating, fitting them in a tube and cooling them. I learn Mari how to do the work.

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20170725 19:00: news for kids

news for kids

25 July 2017

Mare is 14 years and accompagnies her mother to Spitsbergen. She is helping with the research. In the Netherlands there is a special item on Mare in the daily news for kids.


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20170725 15:00: bird observation hide

bird observation hide

25 July 2017

In the afternoon, Mari and me go ring reading on Storholmen. I bring a new bird observation hide. It works very well. While I bring the geese to the hide, Mari is able to read all rings.

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20170725 11:30: taxi boat

taxi boat

25 July 2017

This morning, I am playing taxi for Annabelle and Eefje, who need to sample at Gåsebu and Stuphallet, both east and west of town. I bring them to Gåsebu, wait for half an hour and than to Stuphallet. From Stuphallet they will walk back to town. The fjord is magnificient with ice floating in large numbers.

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20170724 13:00: blue mussels

blue mussels

24 July 2017

While reading rings, I find this buoy in town full with blue mussels. This species is only recently found on Spitsbergen. During the excavations of Smeerenburg, Louwrens Hacquebord did find blue mussels, but Simon Troelstra was able to show with stable oxygen isotopes signature that these mussels were originating from the Netherlands. They might have been part of the ballast (usually sand in those days). This is an interesting find. The buoy must originate from Russia, but the mussels were still alive when they drifted in Spitsbergen and people from the Norwegian Polar Institute recovered it. We sample the mussels for DNA and isotope signature.

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20170723 19:00: stranded

stranded

23 July 2017

Every time, we land on a place, we put the boat in between two anchors. You have to judge the tide and we thought we did the right thing looking at the switch from cobbles to sand underwater. Three hours later we return to the boat and find it stranded. The waterline has just passed the boat. However, we have to wait for 4.5 hours before the boat is floating again as it is extreme low tide.
The lines in the mud were to judge the tide. It went lower and lower. Below Sanne and Mare take a nap in an emergency blanket. Pictures by Yuta Morii.
The last moments before the boat floats again.
Yutta is passing the time looking for sea creatures and discovers this beautiful jelly fish. On the way home, I am a bit impatient after 4.5 hours of waiting. So we go full troddle. Yuta enjoyed sitting in the front and made this video.

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20170723 14:00: walrus remains

walrus remains

23 July 2017

We are at a remote area and are rewarded with finding an intact skeleton of an impressive walrus. Beautiful tusks and teeth.


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20170721 20:00: happy birthday

happy birthday

21 July 2017

Martine van den Heuvel is having her birtday and this is a good moment to take her team to the kittiwake cliff to see the fox puppies. My motto: a childs joy is a prensent for the mother. We go in our small zodiac and are lucky.


In the harbour we are testing the survival suits. One suit, the one of Frits Steenhuisen failed..... wet clothing.


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20170721 14:05: kittiwakes at glacier

kittiwakes at glacier

21 July 2017

We are able to approach the glacier front without floating ice blocking our view. In the cave, there is a meltwater river plounging in the fjord. Kittiwakes have recognized this spot as a rich spot and try to keep close to the glacier while the water stream is pushing them out.

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20170721 14:00: living conditions

living conditions

21 July 2017

I am hosting a documentary crew for the channel Arte, a public frenco-german TV channel. They are making a series called habiter le monde.

In each episode, Philippe Simay travels in the world to meet people who live in atypical places. With this idea : how does the environment, the way we build our houses, the general organisation of our cities or villages represent our way of living ? And our way of seeing ourselves in the world. Philippe is a philosopher, specialized in architecture and urbanism, so this series is a mix of discovering new places in the world, and questioning our relationship to the world.

For this new season, they prepare an episode in Ny-Ålesund. This scientific base brings a lot of very interesting questions. Unlike the other episodes, this one would be slightly different. Usually, they go to places where men have been living for centuries, places that have a rich past, a folklore, a very specific architecture. In Ny-Ålesund, of course there is a rich history, but it’s quite different. Also, there is a Norwegian type of architecture, that is already representative of the way people live. Yet, this base, being international, and mainly existing for the purpose of scientific research brings another type of questioning. They are interested in the international scientific community and how everything works up there. How do you achieve to make a very remote place in the world feel like home. How do you succeed in creating a sense of community ? How do you see your environment ? Especially, being people who study it. How do they feel when they can witness, year after year, the effects of global warming in their environment. Ny-Ålesund is one of the most remote places in the world, yet, it is directly connected to the rest of the world and we hope to show how the rest of the civilisation is impacting this allegedly remote and wild place.

We have taken them along on our fjord count for seabirds.

Pictures by Maarten Loonen and Anne Schumacher


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20170720 14:00: pollution?

pollution?

20 July 2017

Martine van den Heuvel and Frits Steenhuizen have obtained a grant from the Svalbard Environmental Fund to study pollution in transects away from Ny-Ålesund. Mare van den Heuvel and Michiel Klaassen are their helpers. It is a nice cooperation between Wageningen Marine Research and the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen. In these pictures they sample from a boat and in the mine area near Ny-Ålesund.

Pictures by Mare and Martine van den Heuvel


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20170719 20:00: bowhead whale

bowhead whale

19 July 2017

A unique observation in Kongsfjorden. A bowhead whale. The whale which was hunted to extinction in the 17th century has made a comeback. Pictures by Trond Sandmo and Stig Pedersen working with the Geodetic observatory in Ny-Ålesund.

Below two videos in which you can see even better that it is a bowhead whale. Also you can see the slow movements of this whale which made it easily catchable. In the first video you can see the town of Ny-Ålesund in the background. In the second video you can see a characteristic blow.


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20170719 01:30: zooplankton

zooplankton

19 July 2017

Christophe Brochard gave advice how to film. Anne Schumacher caught the plankton and Anne and Sanne Moedt made a first set-up to film in a dark bedroom. Than Yuta Morii took the aquarium to his room and spent part of the night making clips. Maarten edited three clips into one movie. The cumb jelly shows the prisms of the combs. Than there is the seaangel. A flying snail and predator of sea butterflies. Unfortunately we have not been able to catch sea butterflies yet. When the sea angel finds a sea butterfly, it opens a circle of tentacles on the top of its head and within a second, the sea butterfly is swallowed. The black dot in the stomach of the sea angel is its previous meal. After that you can see a large copepod too.

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20170718 10:30: grass growth

grass growth

18 July 2017

Gathering data on grass growth always gets a lot of attention. Today Mari is doing the measurements and I am her secretary. We measure every 6 days leef elongation on ringed grass shoots. half of them grazed and half of them exclosed from grazing. Twelve pairs of plots, each with four ringed shoots. Growth per shoot is just under 2 mm/day.

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20170717 22:19: visitor

visitor

17 July 2017

This morning a polar bear moved out of town, but this evening it came back. Harm, Sanne, Fiona, Mari and Anne were drinking a cup of tea in the restaurant and saw it all happen. Harm Bartholomeus made this video through a telescope. A bit later Trond fired to cracker shells to chase it away from the harbour area into the fjord.

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20170717 13:30: storm

storm

17 July 2017

Today strong wind, from south east, following the open fjord. The waves have white tops in the fjord. That means that we are not boating. So this time it is not ice or beluga but just water which looks white.

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20170717 08:00: bear damage

bear damage

17 July 2017

This morning, a bear visited town. At 7:30 it was seen passing mellageret and going along the shore. Later during breakfast it was out of sight on Prins Heinrichsøya. After breakfast it swam to the shore and moved inland. Later today we discovered some damage near the old powerstation. The bear had destroyed a cushion of a snowmobile. I found some tracks closeby.

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20170716 23:00: survival swim

survival swim

16 July 2017

On arrival in the harbour, I suggest to test the survival suits by jumping out of the boat. It is very relaxing floating, but do not forget to put on your cap, Yuta.

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20170716 21:30: quiet tern paradise

quiet tern paradise

16 July 2017

After a rainy day, we all go for a short trip to check the tern paradise at Blomstrand. It is quiet out there. Only 13 nests and all terns are still incubating.

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20170713 23:00: christelle leaving

christelle leaving

13 July 2017

Christelle has been living in Ny-Ålesund for one year and is now leaving town on the historical cruiseship Nordstjernen. This boat was part of Hurtigruten and the connection to the mainland of Norway during the mining days in the 1920s. The village says good bye with a kind of music.

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20170713 13:00: calving glacier

calving glacier

13 July 2017

We are counting seabirds in the fjord, passing Kongsbreen, where we observe a calving of the glacier.

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20170713 11:16: land slide

land slide

13 July 2017

Thawing permafrost and a lot of rain. Land slides are now a common phenomenon in the arctic. On our fjordcount, we see this recent land slide close to kronebreen.

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20170711 1300: magnificient landscapes

magnificient landscapes

11 July 2017

With seven people, we go for a walk near Ossian Sars to explore the various landscapes.

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20170710 1609: cyanobacteria

cyanobacteria

10 July 2017

From India Dr. Prashant Singh is a taxonomist for cyanobacteria. After we have met, he takes samples from my exclosures to study the community of cyanobacteria in grazed and ungrazed sites.

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20170710 1554: fox puppies dominance

fox puppies dominance

10 July 2017

At Krikjefjellet there are 5 arctic fox puppies. We find them busy eating a thick-billed guillemot. There is a clear dominance hierarchy in who gets the meat. And a lot of fighting to monopolize the food.

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20170710 1000: team groningen

team groningen

10 July 2017

Team Groningen leaves town for their work today. Yuta Morii, Fiona Smith, Mari Fjeldahl and Anna Schumaher are dropped by boat close to the Kongsbreen glacier. They will walk back to town. Christophe Brochard, Sanne Moedt and Maarten Loonen go to the breeding island Storholmen to check nests and sample a pond for desmids.

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20170709 1142: team leiden

team leiden

9 July 2017

Two supervisors, a PhD-student and a master student are studying vegetation composition. Today I am taxi and bring them to Blomstranden where they will look for a large transect with a temperature gradient. From left to right Maarten Loonen, Peter van Bodegom, Eefje de Goede, Annabelle de Vries and Nadia Soudzilovskaia

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20170705 13:00: sampling in the rain

sampling in the rain

5 July 2017


Today is cold, windy and wet. Much rain. But I promised to go sampling with Nadia Soudzilovskaia at the bird cliff Stuphallet and so we did. In two hours walk over snow fields, jumping rivers, sinking in mud and balancing on stones, we reached the cliff and took 25 samples. Tired but satisfied we reached home just before dinner.

Eefje and Annabelle joint our trip to learn more plants.

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20170704 16:30: getting home

getting home

4 July 2017

After a long day on the island of Storholmen, checking goose nests, we are sailing home. Mari is running the boat for the first time in her life. I am playing with my six meter long selfie stick. For both of us it is a little bit of stress.

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20170704 1527: hatching geese

hatching geese

4 July 2017

Today is peak hatch. Geir Wing Gabrielsen made this picture from a goose family with hatching eggs on Prins Heinrichsøya and the town Ny-Ålesund in the background.

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20170703 17:30: polarsyssel

polarsyssel

3 July 2017

Today, we are visited by Svalbard Science Forum and Sysselmannen and invited for a diner on board of the governors voat polarsyssel. A unique opportunity to enjoy the view from the captains deck.

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20170702 14:30: veteran kiosk

veteran kiosk

2 July 2017

The veteran club are people with a background in the mining days of Ny-Ålesund. The last two weeks, Lilly Kristensen with her two daughters Ingvild and Kristin, together with Else Rødberg were running the small kiosk outside the shop. Wafels, coffee and knitting ware. I bought myself a good pair of socks.

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20170702 14:00: Chinese tourists

chinese tourists

2 July 2017

Hengliang Zhang and Haidan Huang are visiting the Netherlands Arctic Station and collect stamps for their notebooks. We make this short video in Chinese.

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20170628 12:30: Suzanne returns home

Suzanne returns home

28 June 2017

Six out of the seven last years, Suzanne Lubbe helped me with the fieldwork. Great help and I am very grateful for another season. Suzanne posted a few pictures on facebook and I have copied three of them. Thank you for your help Suzanne.

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20170625 22:25: air attack

air attack

25 June 2017

The arctic terns are attacking us, even if we stay on the roads. these videos give an impression, without them using shit to bomb me. Unfortunately, most nests are eaten by arctic fox.
Front view and selfie view

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20170625 15:30: arctic fox puppies

arctic fox puppies

25 June 2017

On our way back to the boat from the cliff at Ossian Sars, we come across a gang of photographers, which are observing arctic fox puppies

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20170625 14:30: drawing birds

drawing birds

25 June 2017

We are at the bird cliff. Erik van Ommen is drawing the birds.
Viewed on the way back, from left to right Erik van Ommen, Saga Svavarsdottir and Delphin Ruché. Below the view from the clif.

This page contains YouTube videos, which will start if you click on the YouTube icon. Full page viewing is possible.


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20170624 20:08: blue whale close

blue whale close

24 June 2017


Yutta has been asked to join the Indian researchers while they are sampling in the fjord. They have a nice encounter with a blue whale.

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20170624 19:00: mid-summer party

mid-summer party

24 June 2017

The mid-summer party is always a big party, where people dress-up, play games and dance til late.

Theme of this year is Under the sea.

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20170624 15:09: panorama town

panorama town

24 June 2017

Today is a beautiful sunny day. People sitting on the south side of the houses enjoying the sun and preparing for the mid-summer party, which starts at 18:00. The actual panorama can be viewed here.

Click on the photo to have the picture in full resolution


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20170621 15:00: unwanted visitor

unwanted visitor

21 June 2017

The Netherlands Arctic Station is studying Barnacle Geese on Spitsbergen. Storholmen is the biggest breeding colony; an island 300x400 meter with a hut. Two people had set up a camera to study behaviour of incubating geese when a polar bear came to the island. The researchers had to leave all of their equipment behind and left the island via a rescue boat on the other side. Two cameras were running. One was pushed down by the polar bear without any feeds, the other one filmed the polar bear searching for food. You can see the bear speed up and slow down, being curious but also eating eggs in nests of eider ducks and barnacle geese. Note the glaucous gulls finishing the job.


It is a shocking experience when suddenly a bear appears on your route. The researchers were well prepared and equipped with a rifle, a flare gun, two radios, a satellite phone and an emergency beacon. They left the island and were picked up by a rescue boat. All went well, no flares or shots fired. But these encounters get more numerous lately.

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20170621 13:00: counting seabirds

counting seabirds

21 June 2017

We are every week going around the fjord to count foraging seabirds with a focus on arctic terns. Today was a nice day with little ice in the fjord. We could get very close to the glacier front of Kongsbreen.

I count on the starboard side, Suzanne counts the port side. Mari takes the notes. Verena is captain on this boat.

Pictures by Yutta Morii.

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20170619 23:41: hallo jumbo

hallo jumbo

19 June 2017

I was placing cameras near an nest of a arctic tern and filmed by my colleagues from their hut. Surprise. Thanks for the video Kjell Tore Hansen.


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20170616 20:00: more whales

more whales

16 June 2017

A perfect calm day and a good opportunity for whale watching. During the days, I can see three blue whales from the harbour through a telescope. Kjell Tore Hansen was closer and took these pictures.

He also had a minky whale next to the boat.

In the evening, we had our own encounter during a walk to Brandalpunkten. A minky whale was close to the shore and suddenly it even breached. Yuta Morii caught it in a picture.
Above you can see the minky whale surfacing. Click on the picture.

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20170616 15:40: shooting

shooting

16 June 2017

Every season we start with shooting practice. When the polar bear is more than 30 meter away, we start with shooting a flare in front of the bear to scare it away. Mari and Suzanne are practising here.

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20170615 22:14: attacking tern

attacking tern

15 June 2017

The arctic terns start nesting and attacking people. A good opportunity to show their geolocators. Can you read the inscription on the ring?
Photo: Yuta Morii

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20170615 1848: resue boat

rescue boat

15 June 2017



Today Margje, Rienk and Mari went under calm conditions to Storholmen, but the weather changed fast and the wind picked up. Their boat was filled with water when they returned to the boat after checking nests on the island Storholmen. Verena and Pjotr came to help them and towed the boat back to the harbour. Some action, quite cold, but all went OK.
The data from AWIPEV show the weather change with a temperature drop and a wind velocity increase.

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20170614 15:30: first encounter

first encounter

14 June 2017

New people have to get acquinted with working in an area where polar bears can roam. So I suggested a walk for Yuta and Mari to a safe open area south of town. To practice all safety precautions. On this first trip outside the village, they stumbled upon a polar bear. From a safe distance, but quite some experience if you have just arrived. In two days, Mari has seen minky whales, an arctic fox and a polar bear.


Above you can start a video by clicking on the picture. Below some details with large magnification.


Observations from the roof of the atmospheric laboratory.


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20170614 09:30: the team

the team

14 June 2017


We are this week with 6 people in the station. From left to right: Margje de Jong, Mari Fjelldahl, Yuta Morii, Suzanne Lubbe, Rienk Fokkema and Maarten Loonen. Margje and Rienk are ready to go to the island Storholmen to do behavioural observations on the Barnacle Geese.


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20170613 11:30: black carbon

black carbon

12 June 2017


On the airport of Longyearbyen, two airplanes of the German Alfred Wegener Institute are based for an atmospheric campaign, quantifying the amount of lack carbon in different layers of the atmosphere. The planes fly simultaneous transects at different altitudes from Longyearbyen, over Ny-Ålesund towards the research vessel Polarstern in the ice close to the North Pole. In Ny-Ålesund and on the Polarstern there are lidars working to measure black carbon from the ground. A lidar is a laser and a detection mirror, which measures the reflected returning light. Based on the time, the reflected light has been travelling, it is possible to make a vertical profile of black carbon in the lower 30 km of the atmosphere.

The airplanes are called polar5 and polar6 and are specifically used in the Arctic and Antarctic.


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20170608 17:00: blue and minky whales

blue and minky whales

8 June 2017


Whales in the fjord. Margje photographed a big and a small one. The small one is a minky whale. The big one can be named on the second picture.


The size of the dorsal fin makes the difference between three species of fin whales. If it is a large fin, it is a minky whale. If it seems a tiny fin on the back, it is a blue whale: the largest creature on earth. In between it is a normal fin whale. On this picture you can see the difference clearly. Mind you both fins ae close to the same size.

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20170608 12:00: tern activity

tern activity

8 June 2017


There are several pairs of terns making courtship in town. The bird above has clearly a geolocator attached to a yellow ring. Courtship feeding means males bringing in large fishes for female arctic terns.


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20170607 18:20: egg for fox

egg for fox

7 June 2017

It is not easy to find a place where you can incubate your egg. This tern was nesting at Gluudneset. The wildlife cameras saw it happen. A fox took the egg. The pair was ringed in 2016 on Prins Heinrichøya, yellow 4X and yellow 5V with a geolocator. yellow 5V did have an older logger before, but we were unable to download the data from the retrieved logger in 2016.


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20170606 15:00: first people arrived

first people arrvived

6 June 2017


Margje and Rienk have arrived in Ny-Ålesund. The plan was to arrive 2 June, but the airplane left too late from Amsterdam and than came a long weekend because of Pentacost. But it is a late spring as everywhere in the European North. The lake Solvatnet is still largely covered in ice. Nevertheless, the first spots are free of vegetetion.

In front of London 3 and London IV there is a depot of snow. While clearing the road, the snow is stored on designated areas. The tundra vegetation on those spots disappears.


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20170604 14:00: John Kerry about Donald Trump

John Kerry about Donald Trump

4 June 20017

Last year, I met state secretary of the USA John Kerry on Spitsbergen. He was visiting us in preparation of the Paris summit on climate change. In the Arctic warming is very visible.
Now, the new government of Donald Trump is making dangerous policies by stepping out the Paris agreement. Listen to John Kerry. It is incredible that there are still people who deny that climate warming is caused by us and we donot need to battle it. If we act now, we can still do something. In four years time we can only live with devastating consequences as we will loose all coral reefs and our biggest forests will be under thread (see previous post). .




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20170602 15:11: Paris or Pittsburgh

Paris or Pittsburgh

2 June 20017

I was interviewed for two 20 second quotes on the national television (clip with me at 2.00 minutes after start) about the criminal act of the Trump administration to leave the climate agreement of Paris. This makes me angry. Thirty years ago, there were already signs of climate warming in the Arctic. The models predicted a long trajectory but warming went faster and faster. The Arctic makes the problem very visible as the temperature rise is more and frozen ice turns into water. Today there was similar devastating news about coral reefs. Those will disappear if we allow 2 degrees temperature increase. Our weather will be more extreme, our future uncertain. We have to reduce carbon emissions now.

The climate agreement signed in Paris provides a realistic trajectory. But we have to make a start with the reduction within 4 years. At the high level of emissions right now, we cannot continue 4 more years and we will end up for sure with an average global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees. It will be more difficult to stop this and with 4 degrees we start a trajectory in which both the boreal forest and the amazone rain forest will be threatened. Those are regarded essential biomes for our oxygen supply.



Above, there is a figure from Schellnhuber, Rahmsdorf & Winkelmann titled Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris (Nature climate change 2016, 6: 649-653). This figure changed my attitude completely. The predictions are very clear and scary under a scenario without action. The problem is bigger than our concerns about the Arctic. The earth will survive, probaly mankind too. But without action mother earth changes to an inhospitable place.

This is a moment in history on which we later will reflect. There will be three groups of people. Those who did the good thing, a large group of people who pretended to be ignorant and those who were bad. I hope that there can be a moment where we are able to confront the latter group with their crime against humanity.

Our future goal should be simple. At some point our resources are used and we have to survive with a circular green economy. Why cannot we do it now? Maybe using climate warming as a danger which speeds up this neccessary action. We do not need new technology or unjustified investments for this change.

But even than, we will loose the coral reefs of the world, and as a scuba diver that makes me very sad....

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20170505 20:00: trip 2 with Bernice

Trip 2 with Bernice

2-5 May 2017

The second trip Bernice, Ted and Maarten are on the road with ING real estate and some of their biggest customers. Peter Göbel has as director a plan to make the real estate market more sustainable. ING will only continue to provide mortgages if the properties at least reach class C in terms of isolation. To encourage this process, he has engaged advisors who can help the real estate market with their advice. A courageous step in the hope that other mortgage lenders follow.
During the excursion I show the air bubbles in the glacier ice and tell about the climate reconstruction on the basis of deep ice cores.

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20170502 20:00: trip 1 with Bernice

Trip 1 with Bernice

29 April-2 May 2017

Bernice Notenboom loves ice. For years she has made trips on frozen oceans and ice caps. As climate journalist, she makes reports and holds lectures to convince people of work on the climate problem. She made a hike again last week from 88 to 90 degrees northern latitude. On the sea ice of the North Pole, an airport was built by Russians in early spring. This base called Barneo serves as a base for research and tourism. Until the ice becomes too unstable. After her expedition, she invited her sponsors to a boat for a short trip on Spitsbergen. This trip proves to be a new concept and I can accompany them as a guide.
The first of the two trips in 2017 has directors from various companies and organizations that are working on making the Netherlands more sustainable. Companies such as ING bank, NUON, Gasunie, Rotterdam Port Authority, Arcadis, Dutch Railways and Schiphol get to know each other and discuss with each other a next step in their sustainability efforts.
In addition, a documentary is made for the EO: Icescream. On board are 5 people who have little to do with the climate problem in their daily lives. In the documentary they are followed on Spitsbergen and are regularly asked to reflect on their experience. Episode 3 in particular has become a wonderful episode, in which Jeroen van de Berg makes a turnaround and commits himself to sustainability with all of his energy. The documentary brings two producers and two filmers along with Tijs van den Brink.
Finally, there are two scientists on board to provide information. These are Mark Drinkwater from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Maarten Loonen from the University of Groningen. Mark Drinkwateris responsible for satellites observing the earth. For example, the Cryosat and Sentinel-3 satellite daily measures the ice situation around the North Pole.
We sail with the Rembrandt van Rijn from Longyearbyen to the 14th July glacier in Krossfjord for a walk to the glacier front. Then to Ny-Ålesund, where I lead a guided tour and the next day to the Blomstrandbreen for a walk on snowshoes. That night we are returning to Longyearbyen.
After returning, the boat is met by a team from the NOS. Martijn and Ruben have already participated in the SEES expedition. The entrepreneurs receive a critical reception. Was this trip necessary? As a participant and after some reflection I can fully confirm that this boat trip was a great success. Passengers have met regularly and have established strategic links to shift to sustainability. Compliments.

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20170405 14:17: 2Dgrees on the ice

2Dgrees on the pack ice

5 April 2017 14:17

Bernice Notenboom is a Dutch journalist and explorer. At this moment she is heading on the pack ice to the North Pole. Her expedition is called 2Dgrees and wants to create a momentum to stick to the 2 degrees limit for climate change as agreed in Paris in 2015.

She is calibrating ice and snow thickness. A NASA plain flew over and photographed them both in a normal and infrared image.

End of April, she has returned to Svalbard and I will go on a short cruise with her and her sponsors as a lecturer and guide from Longyearbyen to Ny-Ålesund.

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20170401 14:00: Plans for 2017

Plans for 2017

1 April 2017

During the NySMAC meeting in Prague, the fieldwork plans for 2017 were presented. The document below contains all information and a table with the relevant RIS-IDs which can be found on the website http://www.researchonsvalbard.no.


Click here to get this pdf in full pageview.


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20170228 12:00: ice on land not on water

Ice on land not on water

28 February 2017

The light is getting back and the result of the warm periods in winter with heavy rain becomes visible. The whole tundra is covered with ice. And the fjord has no ice. It is the world upside down. Geir Mathiassen is returning to Ny-Ålesund to work for the Mapping Authority and made this picture while flying in. You see the fjord and the breeding islands in Kongsfjorden. There is snow and grey spots on the islands, and just a bit of shining ice behind the islands covering the fjord. The next shot is from Prins Heinrichsøya. Now you can see that the grey areas are ice. And flying over the village, every spot on the tundra is covered in ice. Reindeer are stuck. No food at the end of winter and no possibility to escape over the ice. Hopefully there are some seeweeds washed on the shore, so they have something to chew on before they starve.

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20170125 12:00: interact h2020

interact h2020

25 January 2017


Interact is a project in which 79 arctic stations work together towards common goals and exchange of people and information. It is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme and will run for 4 years.
The Netherlands Arctic Station is one of the group. We have started with a kick-off meeting in Keflavik, Iceland from 24 to 27 January 2017.

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20161214 16:13: 100 year Kings Bay

100 year Kings Bay

14 December 2016

Today, Kings Bay AS, the company who provided me for all my years in Ny-Ålesund with excellent support and food has now become a century old. For 27 summers, I have enjoyed to work and live together with the people working for Kings Bay AS. There are a few jobs for competent people and over the years I have met many people in each position. Nevertheless I am grateful to you all.

Below a birthday card for all Kings Bay people.

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20161109 10:00: a glimpse of dutch polar research

A glimpse of Dutch polar research

11 November 2016

  EU-PolarNet is a European consortium of Polar researchers. On its webpage, there is a short article about Dutch polar research.

A book on 50 years Dutch polar research (in Dutch)

The Dutch book can be ordered here.

View part of the content:
Arctic research on geese, waders and gulls

Terrestrial research during the 4th International Polar Year

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20161007 16:00: arctic solargraphy

Arctic solargraphy

7 October 2016


Today, Udo Prinsen is bringing a wonderful print of one of the pinhole cameras, which I used this summer. A pin hole camera can have an exposure time of several days and in this period, the movement of the sun becomes part of the picture.

Here we are photographed at the entrance of the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen with a beautiful print of the four london houses. In the middle two of these, the Netherlands Arctic Station is housed. You can see that we are above the Arctic Circle. The sun sinks in the north but does not set behind the horizon. Sunlight never stops during our field seasons.

Remember, this one and similar prints are for sale at http://www.udoprinsen.com/sees.

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20161005 09:30: new island in kongsfjorden

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New island in Kongsfjorden

5 October 2016

The optic engineer of the German-French AWIPEV base, Gristelle Guesnon, reports in her blog about a new island discovered in Kongsfjorden. It has appeared from under the Kongsvegen glacier and is named Shayan Island. It is about 40 meters long and has now a flag.
On the map it is still in the glacier, but the glacierws are so fast retreating, that the map is not giving the right situation.

Even on Google Earth, it is not visible yet.

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20160930 14:23: plastic problem

Plastic problem

30 September 2016

I still receive news from Ny-Ålesund or about the people in Ny-Ålesund. Sometimes it is so relevant, that I copy the information in this weblog. Today it is about plastic. Geir Wing Gabrielsen is working on this topic and gave a spectacular but also disturbing lecture about this in Ny-Ålesund for the whole town. Even the Ny-Ålesund Symposium was paying attention to this in their annual theme Planet Ocean. Boyan Slat, founder and director of The Ocean Cleanup in The Netherlands was also at the symposium.
Today I received this picture from Geir. It was taken by Inger-Sofia Mercadal and shows a Barnacle Goose entangled in plastic. It was also wounded on the leg and wing and the Governor decided to shoot it.
Geir Wing Gabrielsen has been involved in writing a childrens book about this problem. They hope it will be translated in more languages than Norwegian.

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20160902 07:00: first snow

First snow

2 September 2016

On facebook I notice that people are waking up in Ny-Ålesund with the first snow. It is a good example of the rapid change of seasons. August 15 was the first time the sun disappeared behind the mountain and the day I left the town. September 21 it will be dark for 12 hours already.

Picture by Åsne Dolve Meyer


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20160815 15:00: bears interested in archeologists

Bears interested in archeologists

15 August 2016

Members of the Arctic Centre have more and more polar bear encounters on Spitsbergen. In this weblog we have already several bear posts. Jouke Prop even started studying the polar bears visiting his field site. But now the archeologists have made a score. The team of Frigga Kruse, excavating at Advent City (on the other side of the fjord opposite the airport of Longyearbyen) have had two polar bears for several days on their site. Below some pictures. More can be found on their facebook page.

Picture by Elisabeth Kaddan, Svalbardposten


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20160815 10:00: farewell

Farewell

15 August 2016

Departure from Ny-Ålesund on a beautiful day generates beautiful pictures from above. Marcel and Miriam made these pictures on their departure 11 August 2016. Lowest is the old school (presently the Indian station) where I lived on the top floor in the nineties. Above the school the village shop. The red building is the British station Harlandhuset. The top row are the four London houses. In 2016, we lived in the two middle ones.
A nice view on the vegetation patterns around lake Solvatnet

The island Storholmen, where we monitor nesting barnacle geese

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20160813 14:00: stones are beautiful

Stone is beautiful

13 August 2016

I needed to retrieve wildlife cameras from Kvadehuken. After dinner I walked to the west and slept in Geopol. Next day I walked back via an alternative route along the top of the cliff.
A short stop at Papphytta.
Stuphallet from the coast.
Stone patterns.
A river to cross.
The same river crossed.
Even in the stone desert there are experimental plots. A British soil warming experiment.
A skua mount. A high point were arctic skuas rest and defaecate, resulting in vegetation.
Another skua mount with skuas.
01:00, the lowest midnight sun. The sun almost hits the horizon. Sleeping geese in front.
Next day a view from the top of Stuphallet.
Another view. The cliff Stuphallet harbours puffins and fullmars. The feaces fertilizes the mos vegetation below.
Continuing my walk.
Views are spectacular, but also the stone patterns and the canyons.
Finally, Ny-Ålesund in the view.

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20160812 15:00: retrieving tea bags

Retrieving teabags

12 August 2016

We are retrieving teabags as part of the study called the global tea bag index. We clean them and try them at 70 degrees Celsius before weighing. To keep the administration, we use egg cartons for each teabag. Total 192 teabags retrieved, still 606 in the ground for future retrieval.

Earlier in the weblog, there is a post about setting up the teabag experiment.

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20160812 09:00: prinsendam

Prinsendam

11 August 2016

One of the biggest ships still visiting Ny-Ålesund is the Prinsendam. The ship left Amsterdam on 6 August and now it is here. Also the FRAM from Hurtigruten is visiting, so the town is full with tourists.

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20160808 15:00: catch with students

Catch with students

9 August 2016

Building the catch net with Miriam, Marcel, Enzo, Janwillem and Maarten.
Bringing the last equipment to the UNIS boat.
Planning the catch with the students.
The UNIS boat arrives at the island Storholmen.
Janwillem gets is canoe in the water to herd the geese.
Students walk on the island to bring te geese on the water and follow the group along the shore.
Bringing the geese to the nets.
Caught!
Ringing geese.
Measuring and ringing non-stop from 15:19 until 19:36.
Release of 71 adult geese and 41 goslings.
Returning to the boat.
The last materials are loaded by the boat personal.
At midnight, we bring all our equipment back to the station.

Thank you students of UNIS course AB201

Pictures from Marcel Paul and Miriam Vermeij


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20160807 22:30: enzo leaves

Enzo leaves

7 August 2016

Enzo leaves and Marcel and Miriam take a first chance to mark their departure. They sign a ball found on the shore.
Earlier that day,we tried to reach the glacier as a farewell, but we stopped by a lot of ice and had to admire the bearded seal from a distance.

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20160807 14:00: boattrip

Boattrip

7 August 2016

Janwillem has organised a boat trip[ for the microbiologists Alexander and Edda. They have been working close to town. Now they have earned a pleasure trip to the calving glacier. Enzo can join too.

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20160807 12:00: polar bear 8 and 9

Polar bear 8 and 9

7 August 2016

Again the mother with the large cub is passing the town.
See how fast the bears walk.

Pictures and movie by Marcel Paul


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20160806 20:00: last unringed goslings

Last unringed goslings

6 August 2016

There are still a few unringed golsings in town. We only want to catch these families. They are in this group. We let most escape and catch a family with two goslings.

Video made by Nils Oddvar Thevik, member of the NA veteran club.


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20160806 16:30: svalbardkurset

Svalbardkurset

6 August 2016

The Svalbardkurset is an annual course for public servants which will work in future with Svalbard. They have two weeks in which they travel around Svalbard and learn about nature, conservation, geopolitics and history. Today I give a lecture for thisd group.

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20160803 17:00: dangerous great skua

Dangerous great skua

3 August 2016

On Storholmen, there are no arctic foxes, but there is another predator the great skua. Today we found eight fresh carcasses of barnacle geese among which two ringed adults. Even the islands are no save place.
Maarten removing rings.Enzo removing carcasses, so we can monitor new predation.

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20160803 16:00: father and son

Father and son

3 August 2016

Enjoying field work with my son Janwillem as field assistant.

Pictures Marcel Paul and Miriam Vermeij


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20160801 19:00: bird cliff

Bird cliff

1 August 2016

The last week, the young guillemots have been jumping of the cliff. They cannot fly but sail down to leave with their parents to the fishing grounds. We have to try to see it. So we went to the bird clif at Ossian Sars. There were a few adult birds gathering in front of the cliff, but we did not see any jumping. But is is a nice place for observation.
A nice view.

Foto Enzo Peres-Labourdette

A selfie and a picture of the rest of the group in the other direction.

Pictures Maarten Loonen

Time to continue the walk.

Foto Enzo Peres-Labourdette


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20160801 18:00: arctic landscape

Arctic landscape

1 Aug 2016

We made a boat trip to Ossian Sars. one of the best places in the fjord, to experience the Arctic landscape.
No wind, the fjord is full with small ice blocks.

Picture Enzo Peres-Labourdette

A reindeer on our path.

Picture Enzo Peres-Labourdette

The islands in the fjord.

Picture Maarten Loonen

View on the Kongsbreen to the south.

Picture Maarten Loonen

A view on the ice cap to the north-east

Picture Enzo Peres-Labourdette


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20160801 09:25: musical goodbye

Musical goodbye

1 Aug 2016

Willemijn, Kate and Jesse are leaving. In the buss there is also one of the long time inhabitants. So there is a full Norwegian Ny-Ålesund goodbye. With instruments but no music just noise. Have a good trip.

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20160731 23:00: last team

Last team

31 July 2016

Tomorrow, three people are leaving: Willemijn, Kate and Jesse. The rest is the autumn team. On the picture from left to right in the top row: Kate Layton-Matthews, Marcel Paul, Willemijn Loonen, Enzo Perez Labourdette, Miriam Vermeij, Janwillem Loonen and Jesse Jorna. Below, Maarten Loonen.

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20160731 21:00: insect collection

Insect collection

31 July 2016

Jeese just came in. He collected his insects for the last time. Now Janwillem will continue for another two weeks.
Marcel made this picture of Jesse at the insecttrap two days ago.

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20160731 18:35: walk to the glacier

Walk to the glacier

31 July 2016

A last walk organised by jesse. With the dog of Verena, they walk through the morrains to the Mittlere Löwenbreen behind the village.

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20160730 19:00: bending rings


Bending rings

30 July 2016

We have caught geese and are now waiting for two hours, so the birds can get rid of all the shit in their digestive tract. If we would not wait, ri9nging and sexing becomes a very dirty job. But in this period, i realize that we have to few colour rings for this amount of geese. So Janwillem is put to a job to bend more rings. In hot water the engraved plates become soft and he can bend them in a round shape. In cold water that shape is retained.

Pictures by Marcel Paul and Miriam Vermeij

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20160730 18:15: catch 3

Catch 3

30 July 2016

Woijtek warned us for the weather. But the geese were in front of the net. So we caught them. And now we have to process them in strong wind and rain. Wind speed 8 m/s. Luckily we can work in the windshade of the white house. We have caught 51 geese. Some families and so we have 17 goslings.
It is pretty cold. Miriam writes, Willemijn weighs, Maarten rings and measures and Janwiullem takes blood.
Willemijn had to have apicture with a goose which has the initials of her boyfriend on the ring.
At midnight, after 6 hours work, we can release the geese.

Pictures by Marcel Paul and Miriam Vermeij


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20160729 15:30: pin holes

Pin holes

29 July 2016

Every three days, we go to Brandal to count the number of birds during the construction period of the new telescope. Today, we are also changing cards in the wildlife cameras and replace some pin hole cameras of Udo Prinsen. He has sent us a new batch for overwinter stay.

Pictures by Marcel Paul and Miriam Vermeij



weblog

klik op de foto voor meer details
20160606, 20:32
pinhole cameras

weblog

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20150619, 11:37
solargraphy by udo prinsen

SEES.NL largest Dutch polar expedition to Spitsbergen

click on the picture for more details
20150822
weblog: shapes of time

website udo prinsen

click on the picture for more details
20150822
website udo prinsen



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20160727 16:15: second catch

Second catch

27 July 2016

The second catch of this season, we bring a flock of geese without goslings, which was feeding on the banks of Solvannet, to the catch pen in Thiisbulta. Janwillem and Lydia are in canoes and Maarten and Willemijn in a zodiac. It is a perfect catch of 47 individuals.
We are putting the geese in small boxes, so they can be weighted before ringing.

Females get a geolocator on an extra ring, to follow their timing of migration and breeding. Willemijn helps by holding the leg.
Lydia MessingfeldJanwillem Loonen
Tom van HoofMaarten Siebelink
Kate Layton MatthewsJesse Jorna

Jesse places the geese at the start of a tunnel and Janwillem measures the time, the goose needs to pass the tunnel to freedom. Kim Holmén, international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute observes the science cooperation and takes pictures.

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20160726 18:00: birthday trip

Birthday trip

26 July 2016

Today is Lydias birthday. We return to Ny-London packed with material after the tern ringing in paradise and go with the boat to the glacier front.
The bearded seal was quite close, as you can see below, but it stayed on the ice.

We did see some big chunks of ice falling.

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20160726 15:00: tern paradise

Tern paradise

26 July 2016

For the first time there is no goose in town this season. Time for plan B. We go ringing arctic tern chicks. We found a location which we call tern paradise. Without glaucous gulls, arctic foxes and polar bears and with lots of chicks.

Below two videos about collecting and returning the tern chicks. Click on the pictures to start them.

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20160726 14:00: how to become a geologist?

How to become a geologist

26 July 2016

Tom van Hoof and Maarten Siebelink have been collecting lake sediments from Kvadehuken. Tom started as a biologist, but has specialised in paleology. Jesse is polar bear guard, and gave his photoseries the title above.
Simon of AWIPEV is picking them up by boat. So this is an easy ride home compared to the trip getting here.

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20160725 20:00: pulling to geopol

Pulling to Geopol

25 July 2016

Tom van Hoof and Maarten Siebelink are staying only three days in the station and want to sample lake sediments at Kvadehuken. The wind is blowing hard from the north, so it is no option to drop them by boat. So we decide to walk. Their boat weighs 20 kilo and their drill even more. So we use an hand cart for bringing the material and Maarten and Kate help pulling the first half of the route to Paphytta. Jesse will stay with them as a polar bear guard.
The first part of the trip we can use the electric car from AWIPEV. Than we have to pull. There is a track since there are lights placed to direct airplanes to the airtport.

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20160724 16:45: pirates ahoy

Pirates ahoy

23 July 2016

An arctic fox kills two goslings. And while the fox is burrying one of the goslings, a glaucous gull finishes the job on another gosling. Cruel wild nature, but that is how it is in a wilderness.

The arctic fox returns to the carcass. He is obviously happy with his catch.

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20160723 20:00: kids under the waterfall

Kids under the waterfall

23 July 2016

Click on the picture above and you can hear the water fall.
A tropical waterfall is an invitation for a bath. A waterfall on Spitsbergen is another challenge. Far to cold, but Janwillem and Willemijn had both still their survival suits on. So a good opportunity to try. It was a duo shower, like we have installed in our home in the Netherlands.

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20160723 19:00: tug of war

Tug of war

23 July 2016

Two longtailed skuas are pulling flesh from a carcass of a common eider. They are playing tug of war.

Longtailed skuas are relatively rare on Spitsbergen. Ny-London is one of the few places and the birds are very tame.

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20160723 17:00: family pictures

Family pictures

23 July 2016

The whole Dutch team is on a fjordcount today, but we also had some opportunity to make some family pictures.

Willemijn has started her training for boating

Getting the anchor into the boat.

Three of us in front of the glacierfront.

Tired but happy, waiting until their father is ready, missing their partners.

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20160723 14:00: fjord count

Fjord count

23 July 2016

Every season, in the middle of the moulting periodn, we go by boat and visited the entire inner fjord to count moulting geese. In the previous posts, I talked about bears and family pictures. But we also did a lot of landing and walking. Because of the polar bear danger, we had a landing team of three people on every island and a boat on standby.

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20160723 11:30: bear traffic

Bear traffic

21 July 2016

We are going through the whole fjord to count moulting geese. But right at the beginning, we see three different polar bears in 2 km coastline, all walking in the direction of town.
Above Willemijn with bear, below Janwillem with bear
Bear 1 at Krikjefjellet
Bear 2 at Tyskerhytta
Bear 3 at Kongsvegen

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20160721 18:00: bear on island

Bear on island

21 July 2016

We have an afternoon fieldwork on the island Storholmen. Margje and Jesse are leaving temperature loggers in goose nests and sampling tundra soil for fleas. Maarten and Janwillem are counting all geese on the island and reading their rings. When they have read all rings, they go ringing arctic tern chicks. All afternoon we are regularly checking the neighbouring islands. Than Verena, stationleader of AWIPEV calls us on the radio. There is a big bear sleeping on Innerholmen. Also Nick Cox wanted to make sure that we knew and landed a person on Storholmen to warn us. That is still OK. We all have a radio, and both groups have a flare pistol and a rifle. Margje and Jesse are working on the other side of the island, but Maarten and Janwillem have a perfect view in the direction of the other islands and a telescope. We only can see two reindeer resting. But one hour later, we are warned again over the radio. The polar bear is on the move. A few minutes later, Janwillem see it appear on Midtholmen. It lays down again on the top of the island. But this is close enough (still 1300 meter) to evacuate. Jesse and Margje were also ready with their work, so we go together to the boat. We go a bit closer to check the bear and find it on the other side of Midtholmen on a beach. From 300 meter distance we make some pictures. The bear moves up again and lies down. It seems to sleep but you can stil see how it is watching us. We decide to leave it in peace.

Pictures Maarten Loonen en Margje de Jong


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20160719 1630: fox kills goslings

Fox kils goslings

19 July 2016

Finally, we observe goslings being killed by an arctic fox. Goslings were already disappearing, but sofar we did not see a proper kill. Today, Willemijn observes geese running to the lake. Immedeately we also see the fox. He kills one of the last goslings, but immedeately runs around the group of geese ande prevents them from reaching the water. Again another gosling killed. And again, the fox runs around the flock to chase the geese away from water. Another gosling taken. One damaged gosling tries to join the flock again, but the fox grabs it again and bites the head off. And again another rather big new gosling predated. The fox has killed five goslings before the flock with families reaches safety at the lake Solvatnet. Than the fox is gathering all the corpses. He has to store them for winter. That is the only food he has to survive with during winter as there are no rodents (mice or lemmings) on Svalbard. The pictures are taken after the hunt, when the fox is caching the preys.

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20160719 14:00: last terns with new geolocators

Last terns with new geolocators

19 July 2016

The last new geolocators for this season (4 out of 20) have been attached to arctic terns on Prins Heinrichsøya. Willemijn and Janwillem helped. Today it was Willemijns turn to release the terns.

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20160718 16:00: polar bear says

Polar bear says

18 July 2016

Frigga Kruse is an archeologist at the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen. She has been doing archeological research with LASHIPA, on Marble Island and is now planning an excavation in Advent City. She has started a facebook page about her expeditions called polar bear says. If you are on facebook, like this page and you will see the archeological field work in progress. But this week she is guide on a tourist boat and visiting Ny-Ålesund.
The Ortelius is taking some luggage from Martine van den heuvel on board to the Netherlands. Margje carries the box.

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20160718 13:30: stress behaviour testing

Stress behaviour testing

18 July 2016

This season, we are testing individual behaviour in the field. We have also designed a kind of stress test during our catches. We let the geese run through a tunnel and measure the time they need for this escape. Times are very variable. Margje places the geese in the start of the tunnel and Jesse takes the time unti the goose appears in freedom. Now we can release each individual immedeately after the catch. If there are goslings we have to keep all geese united, so the goslings can find their parents immedeately after release.
Free again.

Photos Willemijn Loonen


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20160718 13:00: goose catching

Goose catching

18 July 2016

The first moult catch of the season. We are catching only adult geese without young. That is always a good start and the team can practice all procedures again. Maarten and Willemijn are bringing in a group of 20 geese, which has been put on the water by Margje near the red river. A group of 18 geese joins from the airport cliff beaches. Janwillem is waiting with a canoe in Thiisbulta and Jesse is near the goose catching pen. Margjes return is delayed by a red traffic light near the airport. We need three atempts, 8 geese escape, but we catch 30. A good start. Ringing and measuring is relatively quick, while Margje is testing the stress behaviour of the geese.
Margje is repeating the measurement of the last goose to test her goose measuring skills

Photo Willemijn Loonen


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20160716 12:00: sampling diatoms

Sampling diatoms

16 July 2016

Maarten, Janwillem and Willemijn have been going to the kittiwake cliff Krikjefjellet to sample for the soil diatom Pinnularia borealis. Eveline Pinseel of Gent University has given us material to collect these algae. This is the last of 6 sampling locations, each with 10 plots sampled.

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20160715 12:20: trip to geopol

Trip to Geopol

15 July 2016

Margje and Jesse are staying overnight in the hut Geopol on Kvadehuken. They follow the route along the top of the cliff Stuphallet. It gives a wonderful view on the landscape and breeding fulmars and puffins. The hut Geopol is in the middle of a stone dessert, cosy but simple.
On the way back, they walk below the clif to place wildelifecameras and to empty insect traps. They even saw a golden plover.

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20160714 13:40: artists

Artists

14 July 2016

Today three people are leaving the station. Danny returned with the morning plane, Siegfried will leave with the afternoon plane and Esther will leave with the night boat. All special people, with which I enjoyed working together.

Esther Kokmeijer has a great interest in Arctic Terns. She has a long history in the Antarctic and in the Arctic and she got fascinated by the Arctic Terns, linking those two sites. On 11 September she will open an exhibition in Haamstede about this bird and she will work on a book. You can get here a good impression about her tern studies. She spent this week making pictures about us and the terns.

Siegfried Woldhek is for me an old name from the times I got interested in birds as a teenager. He was director of Birdlife Netherlands and later director of the World Wildlife Fund in The Netherlands. But he is also well-known from his portraits of writers and politicians in a magazine Vrij Nederland and in the newspaper NRC. He has been looking for the ivory gull (present every day) and the red phalarope (only one encounter during a trip). By joining Delphin and Saga on their field work in Ossian Sars, he has met the most polar bears of all people in the Netherlands station.

Below some pictures, where they have photographed eachother while releasing a ringed tern and two watercolours Siegfried gave me.

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20160713 18:00: excursion for german minister

Excursion for German minister

13 July 2016

I have been leading a town excursion about birds and ecosystem research for Barbara Hendricks (German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety), Kjerstin Askholt (Governor of Svalbard), Kim Holmén (International director of the Norwegian Polar Institute), Nalân Koç (Research director of the Norwegian Polar Institute), Karin Lochte (Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute) and a German delegation.

They learned why the geese migrate to the Arctic, how I measure plant production, how vegetation composition changes by herbivory, how long geese are flightless, how fox predation varies between years, how geese adapt to climate warming and how geese need extreme years to adapt. And they got a demonstration how to catch an arctic tern and how to follow these on their migration to Antarctica.

Maybe a bit to much, but it was fun for me too. Thanks Janwillem Loonen and Willemijn Loonen for your help.

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20160713 11:30: catching terns

Catching terns

13 July 2016

We have been catching arctic terns on an island. Esther Kokmeijer made this picture of my son Janwillem, replacing the trap after a successfil catch.
This picture became in 2017 the front cover of the Bulletin of the International Arctic Science Committee.

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20160711 20:00: family business

Family business

11 July 2016

Today Janwillem and Willemijn arrived fo another season field work. My son and daughter have been in the station several times and are great helping hands. Two hours after arrival, they have already localized 50 goose families outside town.

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20160711 18:15: ambassador reports

Ambassador reports

11 July 2016

The Dutch Arctic ambassador reports from his visit to Spitsbergen.

Radio 5: Tijd voor Max

clip 1 seeds and swimming
clip 2 sea level rise
clip 3 music

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20160711 11:00: camera trap

Camera trap

11 July 2016

This morning, I am checking pictures from my camera traps. Sometimes I see real action in a nice picture. Like here, a group of kittiwakes taking air.

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20160710 21:45: bear 4 and 5

Bear 4 and 5

10 July 2016

Watching the final of the European footbal championship, but than it is on the radio: polar bear in the harbour. It lands on Solvatnet, swims to the closest island and moves further into the fjord.
They were certainly playful. While the mother checked the island, the young was divig with two seals closeby.

These bears were the same as bear 2 and 3 and also the same as the bears last year, feeding on a dead walrus. I sincerely hope this young does not become a problem bear.

The whole town was looking to these bears as you can see on the pictures of Åsna Dolve Meyer.


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20160708 13:00: how to survive in town

How to survive in town

8 July 2016

KingsBay has made a guide to survival in this town.


Click here to get this pdf in full pageview.


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20160708 09:00: plastic in fulmars

Plastic in fulmars

8 July 2016

Geir Wing Gabrielsen of the Norwegian Polar Institute delivers a shocking story about plastics found in the sea and the effects on fish and birds. Kongsfjordhallen is filled with the audience. The story is depressing and acknowledges the important work done by Jan Andries van Franeker at IMARES Wageningen. New for me is that 70% of the plastics are sinking to the bottom of the ocean and that data show a steep increase of plastics on the seafloor in the FRAM strait.

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20160707 11:50: NL foreign affairs

NL foreign affairs

3 July 2016

Today, the Arctic ambassador of the Netherlands was in Ny-Ålesund to visit the Netherlands Arctic Station and to learn about this international research base. We had a warm welcome by KingsBay director Ole Øyseth, a walk through town, a balloon launch and a boat trip in the fjord, where we saw a calving glacier, a bearded seal and went for a swim testing our survivalsuits. Enough action for a day.

From left to right Marlies den Boer (MinBuZa), Kees Rade (Arctic ambassador, Maarten Loonen (University of Groningen), Arne O'Donoghue (NL embassy Oslo), Danny Hitchcock (PhD student University Oslo), Margje de Jong (PhD student University of Groningen) and Jesse Jorna (masterstudent biology University of Groningen).
Trip to the Blomstrandglacier, which has retreated and is still calving. We observe one big chunk falling off,
We did not meet a polar bear but had a lovely meeting with a bearded seal
At the end of our boat trip, we decided to test our survival suits.
Marlies and Kees launched a weather balloon at AWIPEV and followed in the foot steps of Ban Ki-Moon.
Thanks to all who helped with this visit.

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20160706 12:00: kittiwake studies

Kittiwake studies

6 July 2016

Kittiwakes are popular for Arctic bird research and several groups work with them within Kongsfjord. The field team of Delphin Ruché and Saga Svavarsdottir using an action cam to check the stage of incubation and number of nests.
To the left, Solveig is checking for the proper nest and below Solveig Nilsen and Ingrid Gabrielsen are still using a mirror to check the nest.
More on kittiwake research here.

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20160705 10:00: Arctic ambassador is coming

Arctic ambassador is coming

5 July 2016

Since April 2016, the Netherlands has appointed a special ambassador for arctic affairs. He will be visiting the Netherlands Arctic station on 7 July. Before his departure, he is interviewed on national radio.

To hear the interview click on the picture further down.


RTV Noord radio: 2 July 2016

Arctic ambassador visits Spitsbergen
More information about this person here

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20160703 16:01: climbing fox

Climbing fox

3 July 2016

A hungry fox shows how to predate. It climbs in the bird cliff to dazzing heights and predates on kittiwakes.

Picture by Bjørn Anders Nymoen

Picture by Svein Are Hanssen


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20160703 16:00: steinkobbe

Steinkobbe

3 July 2016

In Norwegian, this harbour seal is called Steinkobbe. And it shows a clear difference with Iskobbe, which is the ringed seal. The ringed seal lives on the ice, the harbour seal has its haul-out on a good ventage point, like this stone in Thiisbukta. A nice spot to warm in the sun at low tide.
Click on the picture above to start the video.

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20160702 20:02: jazz music

Jazz music

2 July 2016

It is getting a tradition. When the people for the fox census are in town, we have life music on a bar night. Today there is even a performance in Kongshallen. From left to right Fin Sletten, Svein Are Hanssen, Bjørn Anders Nymoen and Bugge Wesseltoft.
Music with a view from Kongshallen
A bar night with life music in Mellageret

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20160701 23:00: on regional tv

On regional television

1 July 2016

Steven Radersma works for RTV Noord, the regional television for the the province and city of Groningen. He is following us in the Arctic. His clips can be seen on the website of RTV Noord by clicking on the pictures on this page.
To the left the first video. Click on the picture to go to the website of RTV Noord.

Video 2
With loaded gun, looking for eggs

Video 3
Toeristen op Spitsbergen

Video 4
A day lasts for months

Video 5
Melting glaciers sound like thunder

Video 6
People as food

Video 8
Bird faeces for whalers


radio: 2 July 2016

Arctic ambassador visits Spitsbergen
web: 8 July 2016

Noordelijkste postkantoor
web: 10 July 2016

Polar bear visit

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20160701 20:00: goose families

Goose families

1 July 2016

Goose families are now a common sight in town. You find them everywhere. They move around escaping for people and foxes and feed on the grass.

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20160630 14:00: catching insects

Catching insects

30 June 2016

Jesse Jorna is studying insects as part of his master thesis at the University of Groningen. We have already collected a series since 2007. This year he is also introducing yellow glue-paper and soil temperature measurements. On the picture below, you can see the set-up. In the middle a net, where insects fly against and than they drop into a soap solution and drown. To the right, a blue tape sticks out, which holds a temperaturelogger at minus 8 cm depth and at the surface. With the yellow paper, we are monitoring the cruise height of the insects. Sofar not that much difference, but it has been very little windspeed.

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20160628 09:00: fog

Fog

28 June 2016

Today it is the second day of fog. Several people including Isolde Puts and Oscar Fransner should have left on Monday but are stuck here. The sun is not far. The first two pictures are taken at the airport webcams. The last picture is taken at the Zeppelin station on the top of mount Zeppelin. What a landscape. You can click here for the actual situation.

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20160625 21:00: midsummer party

Midsummer party

25 June 2016

The theme of the midsummer party is the olympics. There is a proper olympic fire and many people are dressed for the occassion. It starts with a good food and some games.

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20160622 22:00: crew

Crew

22 June 2016

Martine and Tinka are going home. We have a social drink. Isolde suggests a faces-picture. Below the result. From mid bottom clockwise: Paul Wenzel Geissler, Suzanne Lubbe, Marge de Jong, Jesse Jorna, Maarten Loonen, Martine van den Heuvel-Greve, Isolde Puts, Daniel Hitchcock and Tinka Murk. It has been a good start.

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20160622 17:30: playing goose

Playing goose

22 June 2016

While Wenzel and Jesse are burrying tea bags, Danny is playing for goose. He wants to collect a lot of grass and competes with the geese. He hopes to find some pollution, which accumulates in the geese

Pictures by Paul Wenzel Geissler


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20160622 17:00: global tea bag index

Global teabag index

22 June 2016

Today, we are botanists, studying breakdown of detritus. A group from Amsterdam has initiated a global teabag index project to compare decomposition of standardized plant material at different locations. They use Lipton green tea and Lipton Rooibosch tea as two different types of plant material. We are burrying over 800 teabags in experimental fields with and without grazing animals since 2006.

Pictures by Paul Wenzel Geissler and Maarten Loonen


Later in the weblog, there is a post about the first harvest of decomposed teabags.

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20160621 20:30: independent

Independent

21 June 2016

Today there was little wind and it was really important to check the goose nests for hatching. A unique day to test the independence of Margje and Suzanne. They went by zodiac together to Storholmen.
They leave in high spirit despite the large amount of water in the boat. On the island it is a fight with parents who protect their offspring.
A lot of eggs are hatching.
On their return, a red light on the engine starts to blink and the engine is not running smoothly. I have to explain them via the radio, how they have to fill the oil tank under the hood. And they manage. I am proud.

Upper photo from Maarten Loonen, all others by Suzanne Lubbe.


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20160620 10:00: plumbing

Plumbing

20 June 2016


The plumbers have been connecting London III and London IV to water and sewage. For the first time in 27 years, the Netherlands station has running water with a very nice shower. Thanks guys.

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20160619 16:00: goose catching

Goose catching

18 June 2016

We planned some goose catching but it did not work. We tried 8 nests each for at least one hour. Six females did not return to the nest. Two did but still we could not catch them. After a long day, Margje and Danny go home with Børge, Wenzel and Maarten go in the small zodiac.
Above: Danny is waiting to pull the rope, when the goose returns on her nest, In the background people are counting eider nests.
Below: Børge with his assistant, counting eider nests.
Below: Børge helps Margje in his boat.

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20160619 15:00: glacier calving

Glacier calving

19 June 2016

I am making an excursion with the IMARES team to see a calving glacier front. We go to Blomstrandbreen, the same glacier as is visited by our important other guests like John Kerry, minister Koenders and Ban Ki-Moon. Only we could stay a little bit longer at the site and witnessed an impressive calving.
On the video you hear the different reactions of the three women in the boat. Isolde stopped taking a video and zipped her survival suit. Martine made this video.

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20160618 21:00: bear 2 and 3

Bear two and three

18 June 2016

The whole day we have been carefully checking the neighbouring islands. In the evening we hear that there has been two bears on Observasjonsholmen. The common eider nest counting team with Geir Wing Gabrielsen discovered the bear during their count. They were a bit unprepared (rifle in the boat), but the bears kept laying down.
The next morning at nine o'clock, the mother bear and its 1 1/2 year old young passed town and walked out of the fjord.

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20160618 14:30: whales

Whales

18 June 2016

On our way to Storholmen, we saw two minky whales. One was even very close before it rose high out of the water for a deep dive. Unfortunately, I was not able to take better pictures. We were in a small zodiac and the moment I turned around I pulled the safety court of the engine and the engine stopped. It was already a special experience to start with a boat full of water, which would empty automatically during the trip.
Later during our work on the island, a pod of belugas came close. We could hear the blows clearly.

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20160617 15:00: at work

At work

17 June 2016

Margje is viewing pictures made by her wildlife-cameras. She is studying incubation behaviour in relation to flea in the nest density. The camera made this beautiful picture, which shows Wenzel and Dany during a nest check. The goose is green VTI, female belonging to nest 111, paired with orange FIJ. This nest has been in a micrtowave to kill fleas.

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20160617 11:00: walrus

Walrus

17 June 2016

The marine biologists from Wageningen were catching algae for food of their copepods on a boat near Brandalpunkten. Jesse was also on the boat and made these pictures of a walrus.

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20160617 00:20: first bear of the year

First bear of the year

17 June 2016

The first bear of the year, arrives fromn the inner fjord and walks behind town. No flares have been fired. But it is a good reminder to stay alert.

Picture above by Pierre Blévin
Picture below by Daniel Hitchcock


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20160616 10:30: safety measures

Safety measures

16 June 2016

There is a whole police force in town to look over the safety of john Kerry. Here you will have an impression. In the end he was mainly walking through town, but followed by a line of cars and a fire truck.
I tried to get a bit closer for a picture...And than he walked towards us and start talking to us. Are you local scientists? What are you studying? I suppose I will hear more about your research later.
His staff realised that he was not talking to the selected scientists and pointed him to the museum. Leaving us a bit flabbergasted.
By boat (Teisten on top of the picture) Kerry went to the Blomstrandbreen. Several boats followed with press but also with safety personel (armed and with hydrophones, trained for solving ferry boat hijacking).
A press moment at the quay, with a glacier in the background,
Kerry walks past the cars into the village. He skips the shop and continues to the Amundsen villa.
We are overseen by a sniper on the roof of the Norwegian station.
Jan Gunnar Winther director of the Norwegian Polar Institute is interviewed. The whole day we had a helicopter standing by, but Kerry came and left by plane.

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20160616 10:10: John Kerry

John Kerry

16 June 2016

John Kerry, minister of foreign affairs of the USA, has arrived in Ny-Ålesund. And while all invited Norwegian scientists were waiting for him in the museum, he stepped down to us and made a minute talk, asking about our research. What a lucky chance. It was also a good moment to renew the contact with Børge Brende, minister of foreign affairs in Norway. I met him during the visit of minister Bert Koenders to Ny-Ålesund in 2015.

Picture above by Danny Hitchcock

Picture above from an article in Aftenposten, the national Norwegian newspaper. The article can be read here.

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20160615 10:15: invited by Norway

Invited by Norway

15 June 2016

Today, among a group of visitors invited by the Norwegian government, two defence attaches are in town. They work at the Dutch embassy in Norway. Left Col. Rolf Springer and right Lt. Col. Arjen Zwaanswijk. A uniuque change to show them a bit of the Netherlands Arctic Station, our research and the international cooperation in this science village.

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20160614 16:30: reception

Reception

13 June 2016

Kings Bay is the company who runs the village. They have a front office with nice people who can help you with everything. To the left Hilde Jørgensen to the right Åshild Rye.

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20160614 12:00: marine laboratory

Marine laboratory

14 June 2016

The IMARES team is reporting on twitter about their progress. See https://twitter.com/heuvel_greve.

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20160613 19:30: brent geese

Brent geese

13 June 2016

Two brent geese visit the town. That does not happen often, but did happen last year too. Suzanne is the first to recognise that these are different subspecies. It is a dark-bellied brent and a white-bellied brent.

Pictures by Suzanne Lubbe, made with her new camera


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20160613 16:00: IMARES team arrived

IMARES team arrived

13 June 2016

A team of IMARES (Wageningen University and Research) has arrived in the Netherlands Arctic Station to do experiments in the marine laboratory. From left to right Tinka Murk, Martine van den Heuvel-Greve and Isolde Puts.
Tinka is professor in marine animal ecology, Martine is researcher. She has been here before and also joined the SEES.NL expedition last autumn. Isolde is a former biology student now living in Longyearbyen. They have sent a lot of boxes and are organising their logistics.

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20160613 14:00: nest moving

Nest moving

13 June 2016

A new tern nest was reported in the middle of the road. Probably a fox will eat the eggs soon, but we prefer to take action and try to safe the nest. We make a nest on a shuffle so it becomes moveable. Within 30 seconds one of the parents is sitting again. In the next days, we will move the nest slowly of the road.
In 2017 a picture of this nest became price wining. See this page

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20160613 13:45: typhoon testing

Typhoon testing

13 June 2016

A fire alarm excercise for the whole village. The typhoons are yelling and we all have to assemble in front of the restuarant. Åsne is calling our names. Safety is essential in a remote area. In the background the fire team is having a drill.

Below you can hear the siren, by pressing on the video to start.

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20160613 12:45: fox

Fox

13 June 2016

A fox during the lunch. The restaurant has a perfect view. And there might always something happening. That is why I always bring a camera. Today the fox is appearing from under the restaurant and gives a perfect show. There are at least 3 foxes in town and arctic tern nests are predated within days after laying.

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20160612 12:00: microwave

Microwave

12 June 2016

Above: This is Wenzel. He is antropology professor in Oslo studying the scientists in the village of Ny-Ålesund by joining the field work. Today he is field assistant and used as a mule.
Sometimes science is beautiful, sometimes you regret that you have taken on a heavy load. This day has been a long day, carrying a microwave and a generator over the tundra. What did we do? We wanted to remove all biting insects from a goose nest. Two years ago, we have used a chemical flea powder. That killed the larvae, but for the fleas the removal was not measurable. Now we wanted to do it more environmental friendly but also more effective. We have put goose nests in the microwave (after removing the eggs). A good plan, but carrying a generator, a large microwave and 20 liters of petrol over the tundra was quite some work. After the first hour is looked like we needed 15 hours to complete the task. Than we started to speed up. We skipped our luch and worked with four people. Than we were ready after 10 hours. Job done.
This goose did not like us working on his nest.
Microwave on the tundra. In the background a goose nesting.
Returning to the boat after a long day of work.

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20160609 11:14: sit while bitten

Sit while bitten

9 June 2016

This year again there are many fleas in the goose nests. We are studying incubation behaviour in relation to flea infestation. Today we have placed wildlife cameras next to the nests and temperature loggers in the nests. Our expectation is based on a study by Ross Wetherbee in 2014. Geese with heavy infested nests were more restless. The results were close to significance. Now, we are running once more the experiment. In a couple of days, we will kill the insects in half of the observed nests and document the change in incubation behaviour and egg survival. On this picture you can see some clutches full with blood stains, produced by the fleas.

In the background Danny Hichcock and Katrin Lang are working.

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20160609 11:03: floating eggs

Floating eggs

9 June 2016

Danny Hitchcock is a Ph.D. student from the University of Oslo. He will collect 60 barnacle goose eggs to study stable isotopes and pollution levels. He hopes to correlate migration pattern and timing of laying with pollution loads. Today he collected the first 12 eggs. He is estimating the incubation period by floatation technique. Later he can callibrate this.
Floatation technique: while the incubation progresses, the air chamber in the egg becomes bigger and the egg will float more upright in a water bowl.
Kathrin Lang was today his guard and field assistant and she made this picture.

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20160606 20:32: pin hole cameras

Pinhole cameras

6 June 2016

Today in the mail, a box full with pin hole cameras sent by Udo Prinsen. He joined the SEES.NL expedition last autumn and is making exhibitions in The Netherlands with his pinhole pictures. For more pictures see his webpage.

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20160606 13:27: Photography by Margje

Photography by Margje

6 June 2016

Margje is carrying a nice camera with her during field work. Time to challenge her to send in a picture. Here they are.

Above a picture after landing our boat on the island. We travel in the boat wearing survival suits. Landing is a special procedure, mooring the boat, loading a rifle and getting out of the survival suit.

To the left you see a goose being attacked by a great skua. The goose came to close near its nest.

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20160605 20:55: mapping goosenests

Mapping goose nests

5 June 2016

Our first job is mapping the location of barnacle goose nests on the two breeding islands Storholmen and Prins Heinrichsøya. We note rings of nest owners, the number of eggs and their behaviour to protect the nest against our approach. This is a protective pair, threathening Margje on her approach.

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20160605 18:00: new predator

New predator

5 June 2016

Today we found a new predator of common eider nests. It is a reindeer! On the island Storholmen, there has been reindeer in most summers. We have observed them arriving while swimming in summer, but normally they are arriving over the ice and locked after snow melt. This season there is one reindeer. And for the first time, we observed it eating eider eggs.
It was 30 meters away, when we saw him chasing a common eider female off the nest. It than ploughed with his front foot through the nest. One egg rolled far out of the nest as can be seen near the hindlegs of the reindeer. Two other eggs where right at the nest rim. Next it ate the two eggs.


The full sized picture with a detail to the left.
I knew reindeer can do this. Rocky Rockwell observed a herd of reindeer moving through a colony of snow geese. And they did exactly the same. Eating the eggs, but leaving the embryo out. On this picture right after the event, you can see two embryos of about 10 days old.
Later that day, we observed it once more from further distance. The effect is clear. There are this year very few eider nests on Storholmen. The geese are able to chase the reindeer away from their nests. We saw a male running after a reindeer, which speeded away. Later we saw a direct conflict with a goose jumping up into the reindeer face and the reindeer jumping to hindleggs in a reaction. So the number of goose nests is normal and high.

Reindeer pictures from Danny Hitchcock, nest picture from Maarten loonen


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20160605 14:17: steller's eider

Steller's eider

3 June 2016

During our first visit to the breeding island, we discover a male Steller's Eider and a male King Eider among the nesting female common eiders. Beautiful birds. Below a picture of the king eider made by Daniel Hitchcock, who has a bigger telelens than me.

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20160604 08:07: Beyond sleep

Beyond sleep

4 June 2016

Today, it is quite cold outside. While temperatures in The Netherlands reach summer heights and local heavy rain have flooded the streets, we have 1 degree Celsius and strong winds making the windchill factor below freezing. Nevertheless, I wake up with an urge to tell you this story. A well-known story, but I am shocked again. Climate change is not for the future. Climate change is happening now.

The daily update of http://www.nsidc.org on arctic sea ice for 2 June 2016. The + in the middle is the north pole. South of it in grey, Greenland. To the right in the blue, you can see Spitsbergen with a little dot. There is still ice between the main island and Edgeøya. I am sitting there, on the westcoast of Spitsbergen 78 degrees north. Feeling a bit cold. The entire Barentsz Sea has no ice. Nova Zemlya is a border which keeps ice to the east. If it continues like that, we will have another record low in ice extent. And even if we miss that, it will be a record low in ice volume.

I am not an expert in climate change. I study ecosystems and food webs by monitoring birds. But I have been lucky to go to the Arctic already for 30 years. And in the Arctic warming is more obvious than anywhere in the world. Twentyfive years ago, we were sceptical that Spitsbergen would be the best place to document climate change. It started in Siberia and Spitsbergen temperatures were buffered by the ocean around it. The year 2006 was a warm season. That did change the environment here. New fish species occurred, but also the barnacle geese started their breeding season much earlier and have continued on the early schedule ever since.

When giving presentation, I don't like to show models. Others now more than me about climate modelling. I just show data. Data which have been measured. And those data have kept me awake last night and urged me to write this story. Since January 2016 I have the following two graphs in my presentations. The first one shows a world map with the difference between the measured temperature and the average over the period 1951-1980. Look at the scale. Temperatures were from 4 to 12 degrees higher in January 2016.
This graph from the same month, January 2016, is even more clear. On the x-axis, you see the earth from south pole (-90) to the equator (0) to the north pole (90). Follow the temperature line. Antarctica was a bit colder than normal.But most of the world experienced a temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius. The Netherlands is around 53 degrees latitude. Still one degree. And than it happens. The temperature differences rises steep to 7 degrees in the Arctic. We thouht we had a mild month of January with this one degree, but here in the Arctic it was 7 degrees warmer. It is all the same story. Ice disappearing, temperatures rising. The story which kept me awake was shown on the website on which I checked the weather for the coming days. For 66 months in a row (5 1/2 year), every month the temperature on Spitsbergen has been above normal (see http://www.yr.no in Norwegian.

Than I look again to the graph above. What does this mean for a migratory bird migrating from my home town latitude to here. I have to go out. I have to measure. I have to document. Never sleep again.

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20160603 11:30: safety refresher course

Safety refresher course

3 June 2016


Look how happy they are. After a practice run on the shooting range, we are ready for a safe season. From left to right: Danny Hitchcock, Margje de Jong and Maarten Loonen. Picture made by our instructor Ole Øyseth.

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20160603 07:40: fanmail

Fanmail

3 June 2016

Always at the start of the season, our mailbox contains several letters of collectors of arctic mail. We stamp the letters and return them to the collectors. they will receive also a nice poststamp from the postoffice with a ringed seal picture and a date.

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20160602 13:10: little auk

Little Auk

2 June 2016

Near Isfjord, we hear calls of little auks from the slope. They breed among the stones. After a steep climb, we can clearly see them.

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20160602 11:56: whaler

Whaler

2 June 2016

In Longyearbyen, close to the airport there is an old grave of a whaler. There is still a bone visible between the stones. The buildings on the right picture on the horizon are the airport buildings. We visited the grave on our walk to Bjorndalen after we missed the plane to Ny-Ålesund.

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20160531 12:00: Snow condition

Snow condition

31 mei 2016


The season develops much earlier than last year. Above the picture from the Zeppelinmountain on 31 May 2016. Below you can see a time lapse of the summer 2015 made by the Norwegian Polar Institute. You can compare the same date.
The inhabitants have told be that the first barnacle goose arrived on 12 May, The arctic terns arrived in large numbers on 28 May.


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20160520 12:00: Expedition to Jan Mayen

Expedition to Jan Mayen with the Royal Dutch Navy

August 2014
There is a nice documentary made about an expedition in which I participated to Jan Mayen. We were hosted by the Royal Dutch Navy. In the clip below, I have put together my personal appearance in the documentary.
The full documentary can be seen here.

We made a nice book about the expedition. More information about the book can be found here. A chapter (in Dutch) written by Maarten Loonen entitled A decapitated food web can be found here
  Video over de expeditie naar Jan Mayen

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20160517 07:00: 17th May celebration


17th May celebration

17 May 2017

17th of May is a day in which Norwegians march through their home town to celebrate Norway. Also in the most northern village of the world, this is happening.

show program in new tab


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20160416 9:00: tourists encounter wildlife on Spitsbergen

Tourists encounter wildlife on Spitsbergen

16 April 2017

Easter morning, and via facebook and youtube I watch this 2-year old video made during a tourist trip to Spitsbergen. It nicely shows all the wildlife you can encounter during such a trip, but also the situation I work in every summer. Not difficult to imagine that I am looking forward to a new summer season on Spitsbergen.

Such expedition is offered by Oceanwide Expeditions. Very expensive but it makes a memory which will last a lifetime.

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20160401 12:00: research in svalbard


The database http://researchinsvalbard.no contains information on all research projects. Today I am updating the information of all my projects. These are the projects supported by the station.

RIS-idTitle

project owner

6359 - Barnacle Goose Ecology: interactions with a changing environment
10041 - The effect of goose grazing on vegetation composition and productivity
6361 - From historical data to a prediction of the future for geese on arctic tundra?
6642 - The influence of flea infestation on the reproductive success of barnacle geese
10042 - Insect abundance in the arctic summer
6360 - Arctic Tern Ecology: interactions with a changing environment

project participation

10386 - Pollutants in Arctic geese and their eggs
10040 - Global Dryas Project
10595 - Decomposition and the carbon cycle studied by the tea bag index
10570 - The Pinnularia borealis species complex in the Svalbard archipelago
10340 - Bird monitoring in connection with establishment of a new geodetic observatory

project supporter

10558 - Environmental effects of drilling in Svalbard
10258 - Assessing sensitivity of arctic algae and marine invertebrates to human activity
10208 - The microbial methane filter in the Arctic: resilience and response to climate change


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20160308 16:00: Fifty years Dutch polar research

Book about 50 years of polar research by people from The Netherlands

Written in Dutch, but with lots of nice pictures. The book can be ordered here.

You can view part of the content:
Het Arctisch onderzoek aan ganzen, steltlopers en zeevogels

Terrestrisch onderzoek tijdens het vierde internationale pooljaar

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20160103 17:00: Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr is a famous Dutch actor, writer and poet. A multi-talented person, who is inspired by the polar areas. He visited Ny-Ålesund three times and went with us on expedition to Edgeøya SEES.NL. In 2013, Dutch television made this video about his polar interest.

The following items are unfortunately in Dutch and not translated yet.

Before the expedition starts, Ramsey is explaining on national Dutch television about the expedition SEES.NL.

December 2015, the Dutch internet newssite De Correspondent publishes three stories from Ramsey about his experience during the expedition. The stories are read by himself and you can hear them by clicking on the three figures below.

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20160103 16:00: Largest Netherlands Arctic Expedition

The largest Netherlands Arctic Expedition: SEES.NL

Foto door Ben Bekooij


The SEES.NL Netherlands Scientific Expedition Edgeøa Spitsbergen took place 19-28 August 2015 and was a big success. Fiftyfive scientists boarded the vessel Ortelius and headed towards Edgeøya, a wilderness area on the east side of the Svalbard archipelago. Here they studied human induced changes in a remote ecosystem, normally without humans.

The project website is in Dutch www.sees.nl but shows the enormous public attention for this project.

On our return trip, 56 participants have given a first glimpse of their results during a symposium held in Longyearbyen upon our return. We celebrated with the symposium Norwegian-Dutch cooperation in science with presentations by Kim Holmen, Thor Larsen, Geir Wing Gabrielsen and Susanne Barr and the presence of the major of Longyearbyen, the Dutch ambassador to Norway and the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands Koenders.


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20151106 11:22: Spectacular bear picture

Spectacular bear picture

I am using automatic wildlife camareas to study presence and abundance of species at various sites. Every time something moves in front of the camera, a picture is taken. I have thousands of pictures and slowly I am checking them. Today a surprise.
The original picture

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20151102 14:00: Geese arrived in Scotland

Geese arrived in Scotland

2 November 2015

The barnacle geese have arrived in Scotland. Below a video made by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The entire population gathers ion one farm Caerlaverock. The arrival of the geese in autumn is a tourist attraction. You can approach the geese because of the many dikes, observation huts and towers. I hope they do a lot of ring reading there and I will go there this spring to exchange data. This summer most geese have been ringed by Jouke Prop and his team on Nordenskioldkysten.



Thanks guys

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20151005 00:15: dark season

Dark season

5 October 2016

Today, René Bürgi (station engineer at AWIPEV) gave me 733 pictures of birds and me which he has collected in the past year. A wonderful set to use, especially for the period when I am not in town. This is such a picture, with the northern lights. The northern light is seen in the south as we are that far north that we are inside the ring around the magnetic pole. You can also see the lidar of AWI. The lidar is used to make a vertical profile of 30 kilometer and measures aerosols. It works almost like a radar, but now it is not radio waves but a laser beam, which is refelected.

Picture René Bürgi


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20150724 15:00: Geese and foxes

Geese and foxes

24 July 2015

In the top picture you can see several geese ringed with individually engraved colourrings. By reading those rings trhough a telescope I am collecting data about the locations where the geese feed and the survival of their goslings. The arctic fox is killing a lot of goslings. Now average family size is 1 gosling per family, while it was 3 goslings per family a month ago.

The geese are restless and eating fast. To the left you can see them graze over the tundra in a video.
The fox must have been watching too. Suddenly the geese run towards the water and a fox sprints with double the speed from far. Two goslings are killed and the fox starts hiding them.

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20150724 10:30: Bear hunt

Bear hunt

24 July 2015

This is NOT a bear hunt. But when our kids where small, we went regularly in an evening to a campground where there was evening theatre. The major group song was titled: We go an a bear hunt, continuing with And we take along... After which every time a new item was added to the long inventory. And the kids needed to remember the inventory while singing.
Any time I go into the field with all safety equipment, the song comes in my head. Gun, signal pistol, radio, binoculars, satelite phone, emergency blanket. They have taken it all with them and have started a walk to the tip of Brøgerhalvøya. There they will stay overnight, baking pan cakes at Geopol.
But it is not just pleasure. The goal is to count geese and read rings. There are a couple of lakes. They will also make an inventory of a site where there was oil drilling 40 years ago. As part of SEES.NL, some scientists want to drill in lakes to disciover if they can pinpoint the period as pollution or disturbance in the sediment. So three out of four left the Netherlands Arctic Station on a trip. And the song Bear hunt was again in my head.

On the picture below, you can see them move through the landscape. The top of the mountain Schetelig on the left is 719 meter above sea level.

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20150721 21:15: Leisure trip

Leisure trip

21 July 2015 21:15

Janwillem is going for a boat trip with three ladies. At Brandal they will pick up two more. It is a good trip to practice boating skills in nice and calm weather.
From left to right: Ida Deichmann, Janwillem Loonen, Oloug Breivik and Laura Caiazzo. Lydia Messingfeld made this picture and the picture below.

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20150721 13:00: Nitrogen dynamics with Japanese team

Nitrogen dynamics with Japanese team

21 July 2015

Last year, I visited Blomstrand kittiwake clif with Kentaro, to discuss options for research. This year he has returned with two colleagues to quantify nitrification and denitrification along a gradient of fertilization by sea gulls. I join them today to the other side of the fjord as their boatsman and polar bear guard.
They sample headspace in a small chamber after an hour incubation and collect soil and plant material.
From left to right: Keisuke Ono, Kentaro Hayashi and Yukiko Tanabe, all from Japan.
It is a steep cliff, towering 150 meter above sea level.

Reindeer love the tall grasses. In the background some of the 400 pair of kittiwake nesting here and fertilizing the soil with faeces.
Kittiwakes, coloured for science.Sometimes a young falls out of the nest.
Kentaro and me, photo Yukiko Tanabe.

The results are published:
Hayashi, K., Y. Tanabe, K. Ono, M.J.J.E. Loonen, M. Asano, H. Fujitani, T. Tokida, M. Uchida & M. Hayatsu (2018)
Seabird-affected taluses are denitrification hotspots and potential N2O emitters in the High Arctic.
Nature Scientific Reports 8 (1): 17261.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35669-w

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20150721 08:00: Garbage sorting

Garbage sorting

21 July 2015

Message from KingsBay. Please keep sorting the garbage into well-defined categories. Otherwise it is not accepted by the processing plants on the mainland.

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20150719 22:00: Dead walrus

Dead walrus

19 July 2015 22:00

Two days, we have not been going west of town as there were reported two mother polar bears with thir cubs, feeding on a dead walrus. Today we are checkling the situation by boat, to know if we can count birds near Brandal tomorrow. At first it is difficult to find, but we discover the dead walrus on the beach as if it is sleeping. No polar bears and no sign of a food frenzy.

On the way back, Margje makes this picture of a puffin feeding on the border of the fresh redish coloured river water and the clear ocean water front.

Pictures Margje de Jong


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20150719 18:00: Swimming

Swimming

19 July 2015 18:00

Every year some brave people are going for a swim. The decision is usually made during the bar night. Water temperature is 7 degrees Celsius.
De touristboat is audience.Sports during a trip.

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20150719 16:30: On the roof

On the roof

19 July 2015 16:13

De sternen op het dak worden gecontroleerd door Janwillem. Geen predatie maar nieruwe gevaren op deze plek. Met harde wind is er al eens een jonge stern van het dak gewaaid.
De enige twee jonge sternen bij de hondenhokken worden geringd. Zelfde nest, maar verschillende kleur kuikens.
De speciale poepjas van Janwillem stinkt flink naar rotte vis door alle sternenpoep.

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20150717 15:30: Our farm

Our farm

17 July 2015 15:30

With the foxes around the village, the geese spend more time among the houses. This afternoon, a flock grazes right outside our window. We can do observations from our kitchen. It feels like living on a farm.

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20150717 15:00: Underwater camera

Underwater camera

17 July 2015

Philipp Fischer has been repairing the underwater rig to photograph passing animals in a depth range of 10 meters. The rig contains a three dimensional cameraset and moves up and down automatically as part of the ferrybox. Software calculates the distance and size of all observed animals.

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20150715 21:00: Rescued

Rescued

15 July 2015

Today, Margje and Maarten went to Storholmen for the final nest check, to read rings and to place temperature loggers in the nest cups to measure the environment in which the flea larvae develop or survive. It was beautiful weather, high tide. We left the boat on the calm side of the island, knowing that the water may fall still a meter, but also knowing that it would be possible to get the Zodiac into the water.
When we return 6 hours later, the weather has changed. A strong wind is blowing on the coast. the anchor to keep the boat in the water has been shifted and the waves are rolling inside the boat, filling it with water.....
We are able to empty the boat, but the swell is to much to get the boat to deeper water and start the engine. The wind is so strong, that we cannot hold the boat afloat....
We get everything out of the boat, get the boat high up on the beach and bring our gear to the lee-side of the island. There we radio Woijtek to pick us up. The trip back went fine though it was windy. Back home the wind changes again from direction and the gail is now blowing the other way.
The next day I see the weather on the infobord of AWIPEV. A picture is shown below.
The lower panel is the wind speed in blue and the wind direction in red. The black bar is the period, we were on Storholmen. You can see the sudden change in wind direction when the wind picks up. And nothing was mentioned beforehand on the weather prediction.

We were never in danger. Maybe it was lucky, that we could not start the boat as the home trip would certainly have been a wild trip. We made one mistake though. During the whole day, we had our AWIPEV radio off, while Janwillem was keeping radio watch. When we did not return in time and the weather changed, he got worried. He did the right thing and informed the AWIPEV station about the situation. Luckily he heard just in time that we had asked Woijtek to come with a Norwegian radio (we had taken both handhelds). But I should have informed him much earlier.

Now we have been given a sat phone as extra communication. Many thanks for all the help.

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20150714 14:00: Arctic tern chick ringing

Arctic tern chick ringing

14 July 2015

Today, we went to Gerøya. This island has usually many arctic terns nesting. After our trip, we estimated about 150 breeding pairs, spread over the entire island.
Though arctic tern adults have extremely short leggs, their chicks have almost adult size legs on their moment of birth. This means that a chick can be ringed with a metal ring quite early. So we brought our ringing equipment as we do become interested on return rates and survival.
The chicks stumbels over the tundra to avoid predation, until you are close. Than they press down and hold themselves as if dead.
A moment of birth. Janwillem discovers this hatching chick. It is in full action to leave the egg. This few seconds of video captures the moment.
Beautiful chick on the tundra.

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20150711 12:21: Catching on the roof

Catching on the roof

11 July 2015, 12:21

Today we are catching a tern with geolocator on the roof of Renseverket. Renseverket is the tallest building in town with a concrete roof, covered with decaying wood panelling. It is a dark industrial monument, with a somewhat creapy atmosphere. But it is also one of the two safe places in town for arctic terns to nest. We have tried to catch this logger bird yeaterday, but it escaped from the trap when the netting got stuck behind a nail. Today with another model trap we manage relatively fast. On the way in I made a picture of Janwillem, which catches the atmosphere of the building too.

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20150710 16:00: Catching terns again

Catching terns again

10 July 2015 15:00


On top of the roof of the tallest building in town, a little tern colony survives predation by the arctic fox. There is one geolocator among the 12 pairs and we try to catch it. Hell breaks loose when Janwillem enters the roof. The terns are picking on his head, dive-bomb with faeces and make loud schrieks.


The other surviving colony in town is near the oil drums. Here Janwillem is able to catch two pairs, which have not laid any eggs, but show territorial behaviour. We place an egg in the location where the birds are sitting, with a trap. It works. We retrieve in this way 3 geolocators and both pais are flying now with geolocators.
This bird sat for some time on his hand before taking off.

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20150710 11:00: More snowbuntings

More snowbuntings

10 July 2015 11:45

After seeing an unringed family of snowbuntings on the tundra, I decide not to take any risk. We are ringing the family in the boat house. Janwillem has small enough hands to grab the young.

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20150710 10:00: Grass measuring day

Grass-measuring-day

10 July 2015 10:00

Every week, I return to 104 ringed grass shoots in 13 paired plots (grazed and ungrazed) to measure leaf growth. On my knees.

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20150710 09:00: Digging around London

Digging around London houses

10 July 2015 9:00

The soil arounbd the houses London III and IV needed to be removed. Water was to easily trapped, which caused the floor and poles to rot. Now, there is no place left for the arctic fox den underneath these houses.

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20150709 15:00: Warm weather

Warm weather

9 July 2015 15:00

Today is a warm day 13 degrees Celsius. Margje is going to Storholmen to collect down of nests and I join here as a polar bear guard. After all the stories and pictures of bears in the fjord, we better be safe.

The last nests are hatching and at some old nests, the fleas jump in her bag.
After Storholmen, the sea is so calm, that we decide for a little trip to the closest glacier front.
Finally we go to Prins Heinrich for the last nest check. All geese have hatched, but the tern colony with more than 45 nests has disappeared. Eaten by glaucous gulls.

On the island, I placed a small exclosure in 1996, which shows how different the vegetation would look without herbivores. The exclosure is full with Cerastium arcticum and Saxifraga cernua. The geese love these plants.

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20150708 22:00: Polar bear on Gerdøya

Polar bear on Gerdøya

8 July 2015 22:06

While yesterday a polar bear mother and cub was seen on Observasjonsholmen, today Bjørn Anders Nymoen and Fin Sletten find a new polar bear on Gerdøya. It is a large male.
Pictures and copyright by Bjørn Andes Nymoen, taken from his facebook page.

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20150708 12:42: Ban Ki-Moon

Ban Ki-Moon

8 July 2015

The secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon is visiting Ny-Aalesund today to hear about the newest polar research. He has been here before and wanted to come back in preparation of the climate conference in Paris in December. The program is organised by the Norwegian ministery of Foreign Affairs. The minister is accompying him and the program is quite Norwegian.
Ny-Aalesund feels again as center of the world.
Preparations for a launch of a weather balloon. Behind the building, over the telescope, you can see the geese performing on the wrong side of the building.

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20150707 16:00: Looking for geolocators

Looking for geolocators

7 July 2015 16:00

The oil drums are fenced off. This is one of the two areas in town where arctic tern nests are save for predation. About 16 pairs are incubating here. We need to check if there are any geolocator-carrying-birds in this group. It is iompossible to come close without being attacked and shitted upon. Janwillem uses a small tent and the birds are surprisingly quiet. Mission accomplished.

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20150707 12:00: Polar bear on Observasjonsholmen

Polar bear on Observajsonsholmen

7 July 2015

This morning a full boat with three field parties left town to the breeding islands in the fjord. Svein Arne Hanssen and his team go eider duck catching on Storholmen. Margje checks hatching barnacle goose nests and Solveig goes with another student to Sigridholmen to look for wader nests. Just after everyone has started their work, a polar bear is spotted on Juttaholmen. Within 15 minutes it re-appears at Observasjonsholmen.

Time for action.

Eeverybody packs their equipment and gets in the boat. But first they go a bit closer to the bear to make these pictures. It appears to be a mother bear with a cub. The mother is wearing a collar with a satellite transmitter. These can only be attached to females as the males have a more ever widening neck.

To the left the first picture, below more taken with bigger lenses.
When the bear moves over the top of the island, i can easily see it with my telescope from town.

8 juli worden een beer met jong gezien die het fjord uit bewegen, al zwemmend over de lagune bij Brandal.

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20150706 22:06: Grazing in a polluted area

Grazing in a polluted area

6 July 2015 22:06

Last year, together with Isabella Scheiber and Nico van den Brink, I have been studying the effect of grazing in the mine area on captive goslings. We did find significant differences in the mercury level in the liver. I want to know which geese are grazing in the mine area and I place three wildlife cameras near rich grass spots. The left column are pictures in the direction the camera is pointing. The right column are pictures towards the camera. The cameras are small. Can you find it?

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20150706 21:07: Insect samples

Insect samples

6 July 2015 21:06

Janwillem is sampling insects again. He has been doing this several years. Small trays with soapy water and a netting to halt the insects. Every three days, we collect the drowned insects.

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20150706 16:01: Team change

Team change

6 July 2015

This morning Janwillem arrived, this afternoon Suzanne left.

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20150706 16:00: Breeding islands

Breeding islands

6 July 2015 16:00

While flying to Longyearbyen, Suzanne has a perfect view on the breeding islands in the fjord. From left to right: Storholmen, Juttaholmen, Sigridholmen, Observasjonsholmen, below Midtholmen, to the right Innerholmen and Leirholmen. Hieronder een topgrafische kaart van http://toposvalbard.npolar.no met alle plaatsnamen.

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20150704 14:30: Ringing snowbuntings

Ringing snowbuntings

4 July 2015 14:30

Above I take the selfie shown to the left
Today we are ringing 17 snowbunting chicks with metal and colour rings to study toundra survival. Soon they will leave the nestbox and follow their parents begging loudly. In this period many will be taken by the Arctic fox.
Climbing
Margje has worked several seasons with great tits in the Netherlands. She likes small birds.
For me they are too small, difficult to see.
Wildlifecameras near the nest register daily rhytms of activity. The birds sleep between 0:00 and 02:00 AM, despite the full daylight.

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20150703 19:53: Bird count

Evening count

3 July 2015 19:53

It is a sunny evening and Margje and Suzanne walk to Brandalpynkten to count birds. We were asked to monitor the birds during the construction activity (see also here). They look rather scary with their sunglasses.

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20150703 13:56: Prins Heinrich

Prins Heinrich

3 July 2015

Today Maarten operates a taxi service to the breeding islands and Suzanne and Margje check the nests of barnacle geese on hatch dates and nest parasites. The last island to visit is Prins Heinrich, just outside town. We arrive in survival suits, whci they leave on the beach and continue.

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20150630 23:00: Cachalot

Cachalot

30 June 2015

Herman Sips made it to Ny-Ålesund. He is a good friend from my scuba diving days with GBD Calamari in Groningen. The dream which started at a party has become reality. Herman sailed from The Netherlands to Spitsbergen and continues via Jan Mayen and Iceland home. In Ny-Ålesund Else Boekema and Chris Kuipers came on board and together they continued north. What a trip. You can follow his journey on http://www.sy-cachalot.nl.

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20150629 14:55: Feather plucking

Feather plucking

29 June 2015

Suzanne Lubbe is collecting a few down feathers of goslings to determine at which site the mother collected the food to make the egg: during spring staging in Norway, or earlier in Scotland or later on the Arctic tundra. By studying isotope profiles, we hope to link the origin of the nutrients to the migration strategy.

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20150628 14:00: Fox attacks geese

Fox attacks geese

28 June 2015 14:00

The whole day there is a fox active in town. The geese are constant on the run. West of town a fox has caught a group of families on a small pond. The fox does not want to go in the water, while the geese threaten and defend their goslings. No casualties this time.

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20150627 16:00: A bumpy ride

A bumpy ride

27 June 2015

The video to the left is made during a two hour boat ride to Prins Karls Forlandet. Do not get sea sick while watching this video. In real life it was no problem but on video it looks tough.
We left the fjord to pick up Delphin and Saga who have been counting seabirds on the cliffs.
Saga and Delphin are waiting for us at the beach. They have collected also quite some carbage from an old burned installation.
Fuglehuken in the fog, but still impressive. All our trip, we could not see the mountains in the fog.

Near Stuphallet, we see a floating boat with.....Nick Cox. He has landed a group of people and is awaiting their return.

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20150627 13:00: blue whale

Geir Wing Gabrielsen placed these pictures on facebook about a blue whale he encountered in Kongsfjorden today. It does not happen very often and is a good continuation of the news from 6 June when the Plancius discovered a pod of 85 (!) Greenland whales north of Spitsbergen. The most positive and not believed by many estimate of the population on this side of the world was just 100 after being exterminated by 17th century whaling.

The last blue whale seen in the fjord was in 2007. Most blue whales stay about 50 km off the west coast of Spitsbergen. Unfortunately, the people of the Netherlands Arctic Station missed the whale today.
The man who made the pictures

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20150627 09:15: Cargo arrives

Cargo arrives

27 June 2015 09:15

Our expedition material has arrived with the ship Ortelius. Thank you crew of the Ortelius and Oceanwide Expeditions for bringing the material close to Ny-Ålesund. Together with Wojtek Moskal, I have retrieved the cargo from the ship.

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20150626 14:00: Ringing grasses

Ringing grasses

26 June 2015

Paul Wenzel Geissler studies the local scientists by joining them in their fieldwork. When you want to do that with me, you have to measure grasses. Together with him, I have been setting up 13 plots with 4 grass shoots marked with a ring. Every week we will come back and measure leaf elongation and new leaves formed. It looks ridiculous, but it is a good measure for food availability for geese.

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20150625 19:00: Snowbunting

Snowbunting

I will try to follow the development of these snowbuntings by making daily pictures. Look at their eyes.
Mom checking what I am doing

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20150625 13:00: Interviewed by Chinese scientists

Interviewed by Chinese scientists

25 June 2015

Three Chinese scientists want to interview station leaders and scientists in Ny-Ålesund to understand the community and our science plans (RIS id 10236). They come and visit me in the Netherlands Arctic Station.
After the interview, we make a picture in front of the station.
From left to right: Maarten Loonen, Guo Peiqing, Haining Yu and Chen Xu.

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20150624 20:00: Brent geese

Brent geese

24 June 2015

In June we sometimes see flying brent geese, but rarely they are seen on the ground. Today, two white-bellied brent geese have landed near the lake Solvatnet and rest next to a pair of common eider, while barnacle geese fly over head.

Photo: Margje de Jong


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20150624 14:00: Oiled bird

Oiled bird

24 June 2015

While travelling between islands, counting geese and eider nests in the fjord, Margje encounters a kittiwake which is an oil victem

Photo: Margje de Jong


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20150623 14:21: Gotcha

Gotcha

23 June 2015

Today I was checking 299 barnacle goose nests on the island Storholmen. Walking overthe island, finding the nests and measuring the nest defence of the breeding pair. Margje has placed wildlife cameras on some of the nests to study the effect of fleas on incubation behaviour.
I was caught by one of these cameras.

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20150621 00:05: Polarsyssel

Polarsyssel

21 June 2015

The Governor of Svalbard, called Sysselmannen, has a new modern ship. The shape is quite unconventional, but the emergency preparedness is greatly enhanced. The ship is rented and owned by an Islandic company. In winter it is used for offshore industry. More information on the ship can be found here.

The ship has come to Ny-Ålesund to bring the field inspectors and their equipment for the summer. The visit is timed together with the midsummer party. At 2 o'clock on 21 June, the ship continues its trip.

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20150620 19:15: Midsummer party

Midsummer party

20 June 2015

The theme of the party is CIRCUS. A lot of inspiration and fun.
The girls from the Netherlands Arctic Station.

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20150620 17:00: New telescope village

New telescope village

20 June 2015

above: looking north
left: from the airplane
In the turn towards the airstrip, I could see the new village at Brandalpunkten from the air. New buildings and a road in the wilderness. A scar in the landscape, but important for the future of Ny-Ålesund as a green science village. The mapping authority is the third station with yearround several people in town. And we have fast internet because it is essential for the radio telescope. The whole village is cabled, not using wifi and blue tooth to allow optimal reception from quasars at the rim of our galaxy. And geodesie creates a fixed frame for positioning on earth and of earth in space. This telescope can measure any deviation in the earth axis and is therefore very important for understanding earth climate.
From the north. The whole building site is a gated community, to minimize disturbance and destruction of tundra.
Above as seen from the airport. The new village is very conspicuopus. I wonder what will be left after the construction period.
Left: a gate around the constrution site
Right: but also some damage outside the fence.

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20150619 11:37: solargraphy by udo prinsen

Solargraphy by Udo Prinsen

19 June 2015


On top of Renseverket N78.92821 E11.91735
Udo Prinsen is an artist joining the SEES.NL expedition. He has sent pinhole cameras to Ny-Ålesund to follow the sun path over the summer. The technique is called solargraphy I have found four locations for the cameras. The all-sky set is placed on top of Renseverket, the tallest building in Ny-Ålesund, built to clean the coal. On the roof is a small platform. The picture above is taken from the roof towards town. The picture on the left is taken from the dogyard. From this distance you can see the instrument on top of the building.
Other locations are in the front and back of the Netherlands Arctic Station and on the old pier extending into the fjord. Now we hope for clear skies and good suntracks. An example from internet is given to the right.
In de polar sun, the sunline will still be visible at midnight at its lowest point.
in front of the Netherlands Arctic Station N78.92542 E11.93352
the back of the Netherlands Arctic Station N78.92608 E11.93432
the old pier at Hollanderhaugen N 78.93004 E11.91866

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20150617 13:00: nesting barnacle geese

Barnacle goose nest check on Storholmen

17 June 2015 13:00

Margje checks and photographs the nests, maarten made these pictures. Note the typical cloud ceiling.
On the background the island Juttaholmen, the glacier and the typical cloud cover.
Zoomed in, I can read the codes on the colour rings en I describe the intensity of the defence by the geese.
This nest had most fleas. the eggs are full of sucked blood. And the female returns, sits down and is bitten even more.
Beautiful blue glacier ice
Human-animal interaction

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20150615 15:34: first geolocator of the season retrieved

First geolocator of the season retrieved

16 June 2015 15:34

Today we retrieved the first geolocator which has travelled from the arctic to the antarctic on a tern leg.
Margje de Jong made this pictures with her brand new camera.
we catch the tern with a simple cage, a stick and a rope
the rope is 30 meter long
de tern is checking ther nest, while hovering
caught
Suzanne retrieves the tern
the old geolocator is attached to a blue ring
the metal ring is read with the tern on its back
than we measure the size and mass of the bird
total tarsus
headbill
bill length
bill height
wing (but with the end of the ruler better on the front of the wing)
tailfork right
tailfork left
the new geolocator is attached on an engraved colour ring
difficult to get around the leg
readable with a telsescope as black LF
a bit of fast glue
in the bag on the scale fr body mass
one last portrait
and there she goes....

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20150614 16:00: On our way to Spitsbergen

On our way to Spitsbergen

14 June 2015 16:00

While travelling to Spitsbergen we have to wait for 6 hours at Oslo airport. From right to left: Maarten Loonen, Margje de Jong, Suzanne Lubbe and travel companion Anton Luijtink.

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20150613 12:00: Bears on island close to village

Polar bear on Prins Heinrich

13 June 2015

One day before our arrival, a polar bear female with cub shows up on Prins Heinrichsøya. I wonder how many nests were eaten.
Cooling in the snow.
Passing the camp ground next to the Italean monument for Nobile.
Observed in safety on the roof terras of the restaurant.

First picture taken by Kjetil Sagerup, others by Hasse Carlsson


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20150605 12:00: Dutch ambassador in Norway visits station

Dutch ambassador to Norway visits station
5 June 2015



Before we arrive, the Netherlands Arctic Station is visited by Mrs. Bea ten Tusscher, ambassador of the Netherlands in Oslo. She has studied at the University of Groningen and even followed lectures at the Arctic Centre. Now she is of great help in organising a post expedition event in Longyearbyen after the SEES.NL expedition.
Left she is standing in front of the newly renovated house. Below other pictures of the interior and exterior.

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20150604 12:00: Groningers with AWIPEV

Groningen researchers at AWIPEV

4 June 2015

Already there are two marine researchers working in Ny-Aalesund and staying in AWIPEV facilities. Gemma Kulk and Willem van der Pol are studying fytoplankton diversity with molecular techniques for Anita Buma of Ocean Ecosystems. I have taken some pictures from their blog on facebook.

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20150525 16:55: renovated home

renovated home

Many years, the Netherlands Arctic Station was housed in London II, the oldest but most original of the four London houses. Traditionally, in the coal mining days, these houses were the homes for families with small children.

The house has been renovated by skillfull carpenters trained in the renovation of protected cultural heritage. One of them, Martin Herrmann, has sent me these pictures today. He wrote: "Had a small inspection today in Ny-Ålesund. London2 has become so beautiful, enjoy it!"

I cannot wait. I will arrive on 15 June 2015 for a new field season. I am looking forward to meeting old friends.
Earlier posts in the weblog
20130628
renovation
20130710
moving home

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20150523 10:00: Schipment of luggage


Loading the Ortelius
23 May 2015

From Hansweert, the ship Ortelius of Oceanwide-Expeditions is heading for Spitsbergen. Loaded with equipment for the Netherlands Arctic Station and the SEES.NL expedition..
A lot of activity in the harbour.
My car loaded with stuff
A large crane lifts the pallets.
All luggage is stored in the helicopter deck. On the left my pallet for Ny-Ålesund, wrapped in plastic.
A video from the local news(click on the picture)

Thanks to Natasja of Oceanwide Expeditions, Frits Steenhuizen and Annete Scheepstra for coordination and Martine and Bart van den Heuvel and Margje de Jong and her father for assistance.


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20150509 14:00: tern management

tern management9 mei 2015
In 2015, the management of the nesting tern population in the Eemshaven started and was monitored by a research team of the University of Groningen, Bureau Altenburg en Wymenga, SOVONr and bird ringer Derick Hiemstra. The national news made the next clip.
Later in the season, 3 July, local television (RTV-Noord) also payed attention to the issue.


More on this arctic tern project here.

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20150504 15:00: Re-location of whalers

In 1958, Prof. Ir. Piet Velzeboer arranged some funds to re-locate the whaler graves at Hollnderhaugen. The building of Renseverket made this necessary. His son has sent me some old pictures. More old pictures from Velzeboer here.
The ceremony with the new stone. The inscription reads: Herinnering aan de hier begraven vijftig Nederlandse walvisvaarders verre van het vaderland gestorven in de 17de eeuw (In memory of the 50 Dutch whalers burried here, who died far away from their homes in the 17th century).
Sofar I have not found any confirmation that these whalers were Dutch. The type of graves was characterized as Dutch graves and maybe even the name Hollnderhaugen is based on a misconception. There are no ship logs about Dutch whalers in Kongsfjord. There have been British whalers though.
In the Netherlands an ocean burial was not preferred. The bodies needed to be burried in the soil to wait for the resurrection. People who died during the trip were kept on the boat until arrival at Spitsbergen. Many people died on scurvy. In the Dutch winter there was already a buildup of vitamin C deficiancy. A trip to the north would continue that and especially during a second trip scurvy became a cause of mortality.
The site where the bones were re-burried. Lilly Kristensen worked in Ny-Aalesund that year. She told me that local people were a bit afraid and the transport of bones through town happened normally in the middle of the night. One person was employed to do the project and well paid. When I discovered a new grave, see told me about her experience.

clcik here to open the Svalbardposten article in a new window


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20150504 14:00: Dutch mining professor as advisor

In 1957 and 1958, a Dutch mining professor from Delft University in the Netherlands visited Ny-Aalesund several times and advised Kings Bay Kull Comp. A/S on their operations. His name was Prof. Ir. Piet Velzeboer. His son has sent me some old pictures.
Prof. Ir. Piet Velzeboer with the director of KBKC Einar Grimsmo
Mine entrance
The board of KBKC with their wives together in Ny-Aalesund
Kongsbreen and Kongsvegen seen from the Loveyane in 1958.
Coal ship departing the quai. The quai had a whole construction, so the train stay high on the track and load the boat.

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20150428 10:00: geolocation explained

geolocation explained

28 April 2015 10:00

I am using a technique to follow migratory birds, which is called geolocation. On youtube I found this video explaining beautifully how geolocation works. For some time, I could not find it, so the best location to store the link is by putting it on the weblog.

click on the photo to start the video



The medieval story of the barnacle goose, who disappeared in summer and returned in winter, was about a tree in Scotland, where part of the fruits fell into the sea and devoloped into barnacles. In winter, the barnacles changed into geese. This picture shows how medieval scientists had disvovered featherlike structuresand even a small goose in the shells.
When Willem Barentsz discovered Spitsbergen, the landed crew returnbed to the ship with a brent goose and eggs. The goose had been incubating but was killed by a stone and taken aboard. Gerrit van der Veer recognized the goose and knew the story. He wrote in his logbook that they now had falsified the story. Nevertheless it took many years for the story to change. Catholics where not allowed to eat proper meat on Friday. If geese were coming from the sea, they were not proper meat.

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20141116 13:00: polar bear research

polar bear research

summer 2014, nordenskildkysten

At a remote wilderness on the east side of Spitsbergen, Jouke prop and Eva Wolters have made two new videos about their polar bear and goose research. You can subscribe to their channel http://www.youtube.com/joukeprop, which keeps you updated on new videos.

A young polar bear finds a goose egg, but does not know how to break it (yet).

How to work safely in an evironment with polar bears?


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20140801 14:15: first moult catch

first moult catch

1 Aug 2014 14:15

The first catch of moulting barnacle geese takes place in Thiisbukta. Janwillem and Ramsey in canoos and Maarten and Margje in a zodiac. Hannah, Gigi, Kirsten and Inga are helping along the coast.
ringing, weighing measuring......and blood sampling.
Pictures from Ramsey Nasr

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20140801 07:00: bear around our house

bear around our house

1 Aug 2014 7:00

This morning a polar bear (small female) was seen walking from the yellow house outwards towards the zeppelin tower and than swimming away to Storholmen. Later we find tracks on the road near our house. Hannah is pointing to one of the tracks. We can reconstruct that the bear has been circling us. I was awake sitting behind the computer. I must have missed it within 40 meters.
Later we find even more impressive footprints and a garnage bag which has been opened by the polar bear.
And finally an picture with the polar bear spotted at 7:00 in the morning. She must have been everywhere in the village.

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20140731 21:30: the effect of grazing

the effect of grazing

31 July 2014 21:30

Mette Svenning, Kirsten Krause and Ingeborg Jonnsdottir are starting a new study on the effect of grazing on the bacterial diversity and molecular activity in plants. They are planning to use the exclosures which I have set-up and maintained over many years. While it is snowing, as a prelude to autumn, we make a tour to decide for the best study plots.

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20140731 10:00: path formation

path formation

31 July 2014 10:00

Together with Dagmar Hagen, we are studying vegetation change as a result of human activity around Ny-Ålesund. Five years ago, Dagmar has measured path formation on a path from town towards the Zeppelin tower. Today we have found back the exact location of her measurements and looked at the present situation. There is surprising little difference.
The locations of the measurements are marked with a nail. With a metal detector we canfind them back. Linde van Bets is our assistant.

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20140730 18:30: Kjaersvika

Kjaersvika

30 July 2014 18:30

We have send Ramsey on a mission to the end of our world. He will visit Kjaersvika, an old hut at the southwest side of Brøgerhalvøya. Long live solitude. And now we have to wwait pstiently what will grow in the mind of this poet.

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20140726 15:00: hunting fox

hunting fox

26 July 2014 15:00

While counting birds, we meet an arctic fox which has just killed an adult goose. Ramsey Nasr made these pictures.
Green SPF can be removed from the list of living birds.

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20140725 14:00: son at the helm

son at the helm

25 July 2014 14:00



klik op de foto hierboven om de video te starten


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20140724 15:30: departure Willemijn

departure Willemijn

24 July 2014 15:30

Willemijn Loonen and Anna Braun are going home. They fly together to Longyearbyen. All other station members wave them a good trip.

click on the picture above to start the video


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20140724 11:00: a bird song

a bird song

24 July 2014 11:00

Berit Meland and Anna Braun do a performance in the open air for Nick Cox, who missed the performance yesterday.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140723 21:45: mini-concert

mini-concert

23 July 2014 21:45

Berit Meland is opera singer and works this summer in Ny-Ålesund as nurse and in the kitchen. She invited our Anna Braun to play the accordeon with her. They give a mini-symposium in the local pub.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140723 20:30: flowers that catch insects

flowers that catch insects

23 July 2014 20:30

Ramsey and Maarten are collecting the artificial flowers that catch insects.

click on the picture to start the video

Earlier posts about the global dryas project
1. circumpolar experiment
2. dryas experiment
3. flowers that catch insects

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20140722 16:00: poop collecting

poop collection

22 July 2014 16:00

From left to right: Isabella Scheiber, Margje de Jong and Eva Braun. In the front, 16 goslings, two experimental groups of 8 goslings. One raised in the mine area, one in a clean area behind the airport.
The last experimental day with the goslings. They are left in isolation for 20 minutes. After that stress, all faeces is collected for stress hormone determination (corticosteron). The faeces collection is easiest when the goslings rest and produce droppings while resting.

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20140722 11:30: high school research project

high school research project

22 July 2014 11:30

Willemijn has to start her own research project as part of her science class in high school. She has invented her own research project. She will study where the geese go, if there are many tourists in town. We already made counts twice during the day. Willemijn is specifically counting geese and people when large tourist boats have found their way to Ny-Ålesund.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140721 20:00: chinese children

chinese children

21 July 2014 20:00

A group of Chinese children is traveling in the Arctic and has asked to meet me. We make a lot of pictures. They give us special pins and we give them plastic tulips.

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20140720 22:00: dryas experiment

dryas experiment

20 July 2014 22:00

We are catching pollinating insects on Dryas by putting artificial flowers with a glue top on the tundra.The insects will stick on the glue and later analysed. For the start of the experiment see this page.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140716 16:00: penthouse nesting

penthouse nesting

16 July 2014 16:00

Arctic foxes have eaten many eggs of the arctic terns, but some have escaped predation. Two pairs are breeding on the roof of the largest building in Ny-Ålesund: Renseverket. Janwillem has been catching the adults and Maarten runs up the stairs when Janwillem reports a successful catch via the radio. Working on the high roof is one thing, but being under attack of the arctic terns is certainly a frightening experience.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 23:45: ground penetrating radar

ground penetrating radar

15 July 2014 23:45

Frigga took Benjamin Koster and his ground penetrating radar to the marble quarry at Ny-London. With this ground penetrating radar, they can study faults and weak points in below surface marble.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 23:00: surface archeology

surface archeology

15 July 2014 23:00

Frigga Kruse is studying the old marble mining town Ny-London. She brought a metal detector and does find some iron objects.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 14:00: summit marble island

summit marble island

15 July 2014 14:00

Frigga and Benjamin have made a walk to the summit of Marble Island. They cross rivers and snow fields and the view on the top is spectacular.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 09:30: water taxi

water taxi

15 July 2014 09:30

The archeologists or maybe better, the geologists as they are both multidisciplinary scientists, Frigga and Benjamin are leaving for Marble Island or as the Norwegians say: Blomstrand. Thomas brings them with his boat.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 09:15: bathing

bathing

15 July 2014 09:15

No better moment as when your bath is ready. Margje invites her goslings to take a plunge. See them play and dive.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140715 09:00: to the feeding grounds

to the feeding grounds

15 July 2014 09:30

In our experiment, we have to goose teams. One goes and feed in the polluted mine area, the other feeds in a clean control area. Nico is studying contamination, Isabella behaviour and hormones and Margje and me the immune systems. Today is a beautiful day and the teams head out to their areas. Isabella and Anna go to the mine area and Margje and Willemijn to the clean area behind the airport. I taped the departure of town for both teams.

click on the picture to start the video


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20140714 20:00: circumpolar experiment

circumpolar experiment

14 July 2014 23:30

Interact is a European program of collaborating terrestrial stations in the Arctic. Together, we are doing an experiment studying the pollinator community on Dryas heath: the global dryas project. In this video I explain the experiment. We have just set up five plots and have put netting over some buds to exclude insect pollinators.

click on the image to start the video


plotdetailenvironmentinfo

blue
78.92541N
11.90326E

red
78.92548N
11.90363E

green
78.92562N
11.90330E

white
78.92580N
11.90256E

yellow
78.92557
11.90212E


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20140714 10:30: departure

.

departure

14 July 2014

It is always strange when people leave in the middle of the season. Today 3 people disappear from London IV. From left to right Ross Wetherbee, Nico van den Brink and Malenthe Teunis. Ross will move to UNIS in Longyearbyen to extract fleas from the last samples. Nico will return to Wageningen University. His blog can be found here. Malenthe will join the tourist boat Quest for becoming a tourist guide on board and than meet her parents and boyfriend for a short holiday in Longyearbyen.

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20140713 21:00: world championship football

world championship football

13 July 2014

> We have enjoyed the world championship football overhere. Many countries have their representatives upphere. If your country won, you got congratulated. If they lossed you were given sympathy. We did our best to support the Dutch team and watched all matches in bright orange. Above, the picture was taken during the final. To the left it was after the loss of the Netherlands in the semi final.

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20140713 15:00: blomstrand bird cliff

Blomstrand bird cliff

13 July 2014
Kentaro Hayashi is a colleague from Japan. We have published a paper together on reindeer droppings. Next year we plan to study denitrification at sites affected by bird faeces. I want to show him a rich bird cliff at Blomstrand Island, the kittiwake colony where students of Claus Bech are working. The bird cliff is a steep climb over lush tundra vegetation. On the photo on the left, it is the green area on top enclosed by three steep cliff walls.
This is how the steep cliff looks when you are at the top.Kittiwakes everywhere and a few fulmars.
Tired from the climb........but the view is spectacular.
An Arctic fox puppy passes.......and starts to feed on a reindeer carcass.
The steep descent
And just outside the influence of the bird cliff, there is hardly any vegetation.I did take a picture of the both of us when returned home. All other pictures by Kentaro.

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20140711 23:45: polar bear

The crew of the Noorderlicht discovered the polar bear on Leirholmen (9J July 2014). This afternoon we could see it walk on Sorholmen (10/7 15:00). This evening it walked on the road from the mine area towards the village and was chased away by the watchmen at 23:45.
Svein Arne Hanssen took these pictures from a boat close to Storholmen.

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20140711 12:00: predated by polar bear

The day after we have seen the polar bear on Storholmen, we are checking the last nests and assessing the damage. About 30 eider nests and one goose nest had been taken by the bear. Below you see the goose nest number 93, with a dead wet gosling still near it.
Above, two pictures of predated eider nests (greenish egg shells, no droppings around the nest).
Eggs seem not the easiest food for a polar bear to digest. We discover four patches with a kind of diarhea. The polar bear is used to a very fatty diet. Eggs are full of protein. No wonder he did not take more. He must have had some stomach ache.
We have sampled the faeces for anlysis of the diet and maybe even recognition of the bear via DNA.

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20140710 23:30: polar bear behind town

polar bear behind town

10 July 2014 23:30

During the day, the polar bear was 7 kilometer away and had been eating eider eggs on Storholmen. In the night it came close to town. The Indian station filmed the bear before it was chased away with one flare. Sajeevan Thavarool made his movie available for this website.

click on the image to start the video


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20140701 16:00: start of gosling experiment

start of gosling experiment

1 July 2014 16:00

Yesterday, I have collected 16 goslings from 8 nests for our new gosling experiment. We will have two groups. One will feed in the polluted old mine area and the other on clean tundra. Isabella Scheiber and Nico van den Brink have designed the experiment. Nico will look at the uptake of contaminants and Isabelle will study the effect of stress on hormone levels, specifically corticosteron. But in this video, the goose raisers feature. Margje de Jong and Anna Braun have both a group to care for. The goslings are already a bit imprinted after one day.

klik op de plaat hierboven om de video te starten


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20140629 14:00: humpback

humpback

29 juni 2014 14:00

The last years, humpback whales become a regular visitor in the fjord. Today, we see every three minutes its tail risong above the water surface. What a beautiful animals.

click on the picture above to start the video.


Photo taken by Elise Biersma, who has returned here for a week after being my student earlier.

And also my colleague Sveinn Arne Hanssen posted pictures on facebook.


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20140628 12:30: nest defence


Some male geese defend their nest vigourously. Green XDH from nest 151 is such goose. He is very aggressive. I am asked to collect the temperature logger from the nest. The goose hits me with its wings and lands on my back.

Photo taken by Paul Wenzel Geissler


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20140625 08:15: ringed plover

ringed plover

25 June 2014 21:30

A ringed plover is nesting right in front of my doorstep on a snow cleared piece of land. The bird whistles at me every morning when I open the door. Just to let me know that I should keep distance. Unfortunately after 5 days of incubation the Arctic Fox found the nest.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140621 21:30: mid-summer party

mid-summer party

21 June 2014 21:30

The mid-summer party in Ny-Ålesund is famous. Under the warm and constant arctic sun, we dress up. Theme this year is Pirates. Good food, music and fun. Malenthe and Ross win a prize as π-rats.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140620 14:00: field work

field work

20 June 2014 14:00

Doing field work is not always simple. Extreme weather, cold, wind en dirty nests.
Ross is retrieving geolocators from goose nests which are infested by fleas. This nest is particularly infested. The eggs are full of fea faeces which is actually goose blood. When the logger is out of the nest, the data are retrieved with a computer.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140620 12:30: happy

happy

20 June 2014 12:30

We take a break on an open spot away from all nests. Time for some fun. Students can fly.

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20140620 11:00: whale

minky whale

20 June 2014 11:00

Every day outhere is special. Today, while taking a boat to Storholmen, we come across a minky whale. At the second blow, I start the camera. Then it comes for a third blow and dives deep under. You can judge that from the raised back. And we lost it. But the first surfacing was right in front of our boat. Lovely.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140619 2245: Tern named Tim

Caught: arctic tern named Tim

19 June 2014 23:30

Terns have started their incubation close to roads while most opf the tundra is still covered with snow. Also an arctic fox is observed closeby every other day. I cannot wait any longer and have to retrieve the data logger. On two nests I am able to catch the males. This is Tim. Tim is named by a sponsor. I have a preliminary analysis of the data on the logger. Er zijn al sternen begonnen met broeden. Op twee nesten hebben beide ouders een geolocator. Maar er is ook een vos gesignaleerd en ik durf niet meer te wachten. Ik moet deze vogels vangen voordat het nest is opgegeten door de poolvos. Uiteindelijk lukt het me om op ieder nest één stern te vangen. Dit is Tim. En van Tim heb ik ook de vluchtroute ruw uitgewerkt. Ook Tim heeft een nieuwe geolocator gekregen dankzij een sponsor.

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20140619 21:45: Tern named Henk de Groot

Caught again: arctic tern Henk de Groot

19 June 2014 21:30

The first tern caught this year has already a name of a sponsor. The bird is called Henk de Groot. This bird has received a geolocator thanks to the crowd funding campaign organized by the Ubbo Emmius Fund. The crowd funding was such a success, that we can attach new geolocators on the same bird to study annual variation in individuals. The geolocator attached to the yellow ring was used last year. The geolocator on the white ring is the new one. We have downloaded the data and retrieved good positions of this bird while flying from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

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20140618 19:00: Ross programming temperature loggers

Ross programs temerature loggers

18 June 2014 19:00

We have collected four temperature loggers from nests of barnacle geese and have to re-program them to put them out in new nests. By studying the temperature profile in the nest we can determine when the goose was incubating. To work with the computer, we found shelter in the hut on Storholmen.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140616 10:00: student research: arctic tern

student research on the breeding biology of arctic terns

16 June 2014 10:00

Malenthe Teunis is a student biology at the University of Groningen. She is doing her masters on breeding biology of arctic terns. Today she has found the first two nests, still located too close to the road as only there, there are the only snow free spots. The nest on the video has two parents who received a geolocator last year. When we retrieve the geolocator, we will be able to calculate daily positions over a full year. These birds have been to Antarctica during our winter and are world record holders on annual migration distance (upto 90.000 km).

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140615 23:00: king eider

king eider

15 June 2014 23:00

On Storholmen, eider ducks are in their laying phase, so male eiders are still present. I come across a king eider, checking out females. Spectacular bird.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140615 19:30: student research: fleas

student research on fleas in nests of barnacle geese

15 June 2014 19:30

Ross Wetherbee is an American master student at the University in Oslo, who is studying fleas infestations in barnacle goose nests. He is planning to relate the infestation intensity to the fitness of the birds.
Today we are on Storholmen, a breeding island and sanctuary, to map the nests and to record the flea intensity. Fleas take blood from the geese and defaecate the ingested blood on the eggs. Poor incubating female geese.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140613 15:30: second snow scooter trip

My second snow scooter trip

13 June 2014 15:30

The first snow scooter ride of my life. We were going to the shooting range for a safety rehearsal. Twice we got lost and twice the scooter fell over on a hill slope. But we managed. During our second trip driving home, we felt confident enough to make this video.

click on the picture above to start the youtube video


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20140220 23:10: tern migration

tern migration update


Last year, we re-caught 8 arctic terns, which we had equipped with geolocators in 2012. Tim van Oosten has written a master student report on the results. This figure shows the main result from the report. Panel A is the south-bound migration, panel B is the north-bound migration. Between 3 and 25 Novembrm the terns arrived at their wintering grounds near Antarctica, Departure north happened between 3 and 24 April. On their way north the birds follow the trade winds: easterly winds on the southern hemisphere and westerly winds on the northern hemisphere.
Thomas Zaw is a new student continuing to analyse the data, while Maarten is going to a Kongsfjorden workshop between 10 and 17 March to learn more about food availability during the summer season.

Recent articles about arctic tern studies with geolocators can be found here:
Egevang et al. (2010) Tracking of arctic terns Sterna paradisaea reveals longest animal migration. PNAS 107: 2078-2081 [download]
Fijn et al. (2013) Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea from The Netherlands migrate record distances across three oceans to Wilkes Land,East Antarctica. ARDEA 101: 3-12 [download]
McKnight et al. (2013) Stepping stone pattern in Pacific Arctic tern migration reveals the importance of upwelling areas. Marine Ecology Progress Series 491: 253-264 [download]

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20140220 23:05: mother goose

The American photographer Randall Hyman has also made a posting on the golsing experiment of Margje de Jong
on his website arcticoracles.randallhyman.com.

The story can be found here. If you click on the photo, you can see some of his wonderful pictures.
His next posting has a video , which you can reach with a click on the photo or directly via this link.


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20140220 23:00: return of the terns

Randall Hyman is an American photographer/journalist who has made some nice postings about our arctic tern project
on his website arcticoracles.randallhyman.com.

The story can be found here. If you click on the photo, you can see some of his wonderful pictures.
His next posting has a video , which you can reach with a click on the photo or directly via this link.


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20140218 14:00: expedition Jan Mayen

Expedition to Jan Mayen

The Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen and the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute prepare an expedition to Jan Mayen in August 2014. Jan Mayen is a Norwegian remote island near the cold uninhabitated side of Greenland. Four hundred years ago the island was discovered by a Dutch whaler. On the island there is yearround a small team of Norwegians manning a weather station. There are also some archeological remains of a Dutch whaler station from the 17th century and some graves of people who tried to winter.
We are invited by the Royal Dutch Navy on this expedition and will join with a team of archeologists and biologists.
On 18 februari 2014 we had a meeting at the naval base, where this picture is taken.. From left to right: Louwrens Hacquebord (RuG-AC), Michael Stech (National herbarium), Annette Scheepstra (WBPI), Henk Ottens (KNAG), Eric Verheul (initiator, marine), Maarten Loonen (RuG-AC), Robert Lobbes (navy), Eelko Postma (KNAG) en Gerritjan van den Dam (head of operation, navy). Niet op de foto: Peter Jordan (RuG-AC), Adri van Vliet (NIMH), Kees Camphuysen (NIOZ) and Paul Middelberg (navy).
We will embark on the Zr.Ms. Zeeland, a new ocean patrol vessel of the Holland class. We make a tour on a similar ship Friesland, because Zeeland is on patrol in the Caribean. From the bridge, I made a picture of Groningen with on its side a FRISC.

For the University of Groningen, this expedition is special as Jan Mayen is 400 years ago discovered by a Dutch whaler. This year our university celebrates its 400 year anniversary. The expedition is also a good excersise for the large scientific expedition to Edgeøya in August 2015 (see http://www.sees.nl). Since 1983, Jan Mayen has been visited by Louwrens Hacquebord and Kees Camphuijsen several times. With this expedition, we can extend a long time series of change,make a scientific publication and plan research for the coming years.
A painting from 1639 from Cornelis de Man showing a Dutch whale factory on Jan Mayen. In the background the Beerenberg, a large vulcano 2200 meters high. This painting is hanging in our national gallery (Rijksmuseum), right above a display with woolen hats of 17th century whalers burried on Spitsbergen.

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20130913 09:00: documentary trailer

Documentary trailer

filmed 7 July 2013, produced 15 September 2013
A documentary about research of the University of Groningen, Arctic Centre, on Spitsbergen. Geopolitics and geese: Labyrint (VPRO/NTR)


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20130813 21:50: surprise

I am spending all evening on checking pictures of automatic wildlife cameras. I can read quite some goose rings. But the camera at Brandal laguna had a surprise. Three pictures of an arctic tern with logger. Above you see the most beautiful one where the tern with the geolocator and the yellow ring takes off.

Below some other nice pictures of this camera.

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20130810 22:00: funny hat party

funny hat party

10 August 2013 22:00
  Saturday evening, bar evening. The scientist staying in Corbell, 5 km east of town, are serving tonight. They celebrate 50 years Corbell and have asked for a funny hat party. We have made some funny hats, with the logo of the Netherlands Arctic Program and some goose feathers.
From left to right: Isabella Weiss, Margje de Jong, Maarten Loonen, Marieke Krikke, Isabella Scheiber and Liesbeth Noor.

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20130810 13:30: tadpole shrimp

  Back to my youth. Collecting strange animals from fresh water. Ben Frederiks found the first one. Steve Coulson made me remember their name, and this morning I went on a hunt. I caught within 15 minutes 17 Lepidurus arcticus, the tadpole shrimp. Looks like a miniature horseshoe crab. As food I added Daphnia, another of my favourite creatures. I give lectures about this creature about their ability to develop spines when fish are present, sexual and asexual reproduction, the ability to produce haemoglobin in oxygen low waters, their abilty to travel on bird legs, their winter eggs and thier role in cleaning turbid waters from fytoplankton.
Earlier about this species in the weblog

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20130809 11:30: student support


student support

9 August 2013 11:30
Students of the University in Svalbard UNIS join me in a goose catch as part of their field excursion. They have arrived with their own boat. Thursday is a rainy day so they are sampling transects near Solvatnet and at the front of a retreating glacier. Friday the weather improves. After a lecture on the boat, we are going out to catch geese. We are with enough people to walk the geese towards the net.

Below a picture of the group near the lake Solvatnet making a transect of vegetation and goose droppings.

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20130808 12:30: fresh fruits

fresh fruits

8 August 2013 12:30
We have many extraordinary meals up here. But especially in the first days after arrival of the monthly supply vessel Nordbjrn, the dishes are full with fresh fruits and salad. This luch I had cherries and grapes. Yesterday we had desert with strawberries, ice and wipped cream.

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20130808 09:45: US congressmen

US congressmen

8 August 2013 9:45
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington has invited people working in the US congress for a visit to Ny-Ålesund. Two Democratic congressmen are in this group: Jim McDermoth and Gerry Connolly. In front of the Netherlands Arctic Station I explain to them about the ecology of barnacle geese and arctic tern migration. Hope that this will bring my data closer to the table were decisions are made.
I have done this before. Important visitors like Royalty (very special day), EU politicians, French ambassador, Thai ambassador, World Wildlife Fund or civil servants from The Netherlands from Ministery of Foreign Affairs 2010 and 2013, or the Ministery of Education and Science 2011

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20130807 11:00: seminar on migration


The Netherlands Arctic Station is closing and offers the people working in Ny-Ålesund a first peak at new results on bird migration. About world champions and adaptation to global warming.

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20130806 19:02: tern food

tern food

6 August 2013
  What is the food of an arctic tern chick. At least this time, we know in detail.

The food was delivered in flight.
Photo by Birgitte Weiss feathersinthesky.com

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20130802 7:01: bear close

bear close

2 August 2013 7:00
This morning just before 700 a bear showed up on the banks of Solvatnet observing 131 moulting geese. One flare was fired to chase it off back into the sea. There it tried to sneak upon a resting seal on the bank attached to prins heinrichsøya. The seal left just in time.
The bear continues to the shore east of town with three seal heads popping up around him. The weather is a bit hazy.

This is the 6th time already since we have been here this summer. Three times a mother with cub, so 9 times a bear encounter.
Picture by Knut Erik Hanssen

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20130802 11:00: colour ringing

colour ringing

2 August 2013

The Norwegian Animal Experimentation Committee (NARA) has rejected my application to mark geese with colour rings and take a small blood sample.

Svalbardposten 5 July 2013

Svalbardposten 2 August 2013


The law has not changed but the interpretation of the law, by the animal experimentation committee has. So they have asked me to send in an application for colour ringing and blood sampling. Than they rejected this application. Their reasoning: NARA finds that the hypothesis and obtained results are not sufficiently described. The project has been going on for many years, many birds have been marked, and from the application the remaining questions to be answered are not clear. It is not sufficient to refer to long data series. Also, the justification for the number of birds planned to be used, is not sufficiently provided. Finally, the procedures are not sufficiently described, including handling time of the birds and how the procedures have been refined over the years.

In a revised application NARA would like to have information and documentation on whether the use of new technology, ie. loggers, radiotransmitters etc. can be applied and how the use of such technology may reduce the number birds needed to answer the questions asked. The next NARA meeting will be August 20 2013, and the deadline for sending a (revised) application is July 30 2013. Pleas note that according to the regulation on animal experimentation, it is not possible for NARA to approve on any field experiment for more than two years at a time.

Also, NARA requests to have a report on what has been the result so far after so many years of marking birds and which information is still lacking from a scientific and/or management related perspective This report should be send to NARA within July 30 2013.


Next meeting of NARA is after the field season. So I will miss an annual datapoint in a continuous time series since 1991. We have about ten different studies based on this sampling, but how to describe bird ringing in general which would be appropriate to the comments of NARA.

At first I just accepted, but than I found out that I am the only one of the local ornithologists who has asked permission and who has been instructed to ask permission. All my Norwegian colleagues have interpreted the situation differently. Even Geir Wing Gabrielsen who has been several years member of NARA. There is a lot of colour marking and also blood sampling by Norwegians. I seem to be the first who is entangled in this adminstrative web. Stavanger Museum is convinced that a ringing license (which I have) is enough for colour marking and taking a small blood sample.

So I have asked Sysselmannen if this is not a violation of the Salbard Treaty. They simply stated in their answer that it is something between NARA and me. They have correspondence that I should know that permission was needed from 2010 and that they will not approve unless NARA has approved.

So I have now permission from the Governor to ring 350 barnacle geese with metal rings only.

Everybody is on holiday and nothing can be done. The local newspaper follows all correspondence with Sysselmannen (which is always public). So far, they have written two articles about this issue, simply stating the situation. This autumn, I will seek further clarification.

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20130731 21:08: race for the pole

race for the pole

31 August 2013 21:08

The Britsish NerC base has organised a competition for their first time arctic researchers. It is a Race for the pole. Wojtek is the only Polish person from Polish and he must be chased. Two teams run with a cart and a womon on top. The savages win from the oranges.
To the left the Polish man who played the bait.

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20130731 19:00: poop collection

poop collection

30-31 July 2013
Isabella and Gigi want to determine the daily changes in corticosterone hormone in the droppings. In temperate areas there is a peak just before dawn. What happens under constant light?
So we all have to collect goose faeces in several shifts. Everybody helps. Five goslings are followed for 24 hours and every poop (in total more than 500 samples) is collected and stored. A long but rewarding day and a special card as thanks made by Gigi. It is good to work like a team.

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20130728 19:30: 100 year old warehouse

100 year old warehouse at Ny-London

28 July 2013 19:00

Source: Some particulars (1914) Northern Exploration Company (N.E.C.), Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø.

Frigga Kruse is a PhD Student Industrial Archeology and finishes her thesis this autumn at the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen (the home institution for the Netherlands Arctic Station). She has sent two pictures to commemorate the 100th anniversay of the foundation of the former warehouse. The first houses of the former settlement of the Northern Exploration Co. on Marble Island (locally known as Ny-London on Blomstrandhalvøya) were built in 1911, but the former warehouse was one of the last structures to be put up in 1913. You can still see its foundation beneath the large machinery on site.

Source: pol02998, Polar Museum, Tromsø.

Friga Kruse has gathered all information on British industrial activity on Spitsbergen. If you are interested in her thesis contact: frigga_kruse@yahoo.co.uk

Earlier items in the weblog about Frigga:
old marble quarry re-discovered
mining history on spitsbergen



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20130727 19:30: shop assistant

shop assistant

27 July 2013 19:30
Willemijn wanted to help in the shop. She has been given her owmn shop with coffee and cookies. This is the last large touristboat with over 3000 passengers coming ashore for 4 hours.

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20130727 13:00: jumping tundra streams

jumping tundra streams

27 July 2013 13:00
My son Janwillem is helping me during field work. He is enjoying it.
Counting birds on Spitsbergen, we make long tundra walks. When you are walking on rubber boots, it is no problem to pass a stream. When you are walking on hiking shoes you have to jump. The difference is clear on this gopro video.

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20130725 12:00: goslings on tundra

Willemijn explains about the project
Janwillem is polar bear guard
Margje is goose mother
And we can use the AWIPEV ice cream car for logistics

goslings on tundra

Video storyboard to the left.25 July 2013 12:00

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20130722 15:30: photography


Randall Hyman is a professional photographer from St. Louis (USA). For the second summer he is collecting stories on arctioc research, people and change. In 2008, he stayed her with his wife and daughter and my goslings had an instant goose mother (see weblog). Now he has made two stories on our projects. The first on the Arctic Tern migration study, the second on our new goose mother Margje. His pictures are wonderful and his lines are written in a colourful visual phrasing.

Have a look at his website: http://arcticoracles.randallhyman.com.

Direct links to: the story on arctic terns or pictures on our arctic tern research or the story on our goose mother or pictures of the goose mother.

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20130720 23:00: naming terns

Naming arctic terns

20 july 2013
With crowdfunding, peoiple have supported my research on arctic tern migration. 39 people have chosen to name a tern. We have been lucky, because we have been able to ring exactly 39 terns this summer. Here you see them all with their new names.
Beauty
Karmijn
Jacobird
NoorDrenthe
Mystic
Lubbe
Stirns
BenJeanette
Berna
Henk de Groot
Federico Segundo
Krukel 1
Anke
Flo
Riisser-Larsen
Ruth
Imiqutailaq
Annelies
Angelo
Joanne
Marjolein
Arctic Jewel
Hidde
Benji
Maarten
Gerie
Guusje
Herman
Maamke
Viti
Tim
Meliora
Jan Pier
Jonathan
Suzanne
SolarAcces
Gerrit de Veer
Inky
Ellen

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20130720 21:21: goose father

goose father

20 July 2013 21:21
Margje has some hours off. Maarten has to walk with the geese. Within one hour all are very wet. But still we all enjoy the moment.
Pictures by Brigitte Weiss.

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20130720 08:00: wildlifecamera

wildlifecamera

We are using automatic cameras to gather more information on predators. Under our station there has been a fox den for many years. These pictures are made to see if a fox is still accessing the den. That did not happen, but we have a wide variety of visitors.

Sometimes we can even read rings of geese. And suddenly you can see that London 2 is gone (see also http://www.arcticstation.nl/weblog.php?nr=895)
The bird on the left picture is green XXX and is carrying a second ring with a geolocator attached: white A20

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20130719 22:54: gosling hotel

gosling hotel

19 July 2013 22:54
We keep the goslings in two seperate groups with different feeding conditions. One group has a luxureous life, always be given best first choice. The other group has only second choice grass. During the night we park the geese and give them some pellets and a heat lamp.

The wild geese are grazing the vicinity so heavily that there is not much grass left for the goslings in our experiment. So we are moving them around a lot.
Picture by Brigitte Weiss

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20130719 12:00: blue ice

blue ice

19 July 2013
This morning, I went with Gigi to collect Tim from Ny-London. He had stayed in the hut Gorilla for the night, experiencing arctic loneliness. He survived well.

On the way home, we pass an ice berg which has just fallen over. Nice blue of compressed ice now floating on top.

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20130719 11:45: kingsbay@work

kingsbay@work

19 July 2013
This posting is dedicated to the many people working for KingsBay. KingsBay is the owner of the town. They make it possible for all of us to do science. While walking outside on this beautiful day, it is obvious how much work is done during the summer.

Above, they are building a new bridge over the Bayelva river, to connect the planned new telescope to town.
Below, they are renovating my former station hut.
London 2 is renovatedBlocked sewage pipes are repaired
The hotel gets a new outer wall as the old one was absorbing to much water
And in the harbour a ship is unloaded for a new deck of the airport runway.

These are the man working outside. But also inside, we have the office, the reception, the kitchen. Even in the laundry room new washing machines were installed today. It is an impressive work force.

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20130717 15:38: reindeer mum

Reindeer mum

17 July 2013 15:38
Close to the campground there are two mother reindeer with their calves. Usually we only have males close to town and the females stay near the bird cliff on rich vegetation. Note the relative small antlers. Female reindeer have invested most of their calcium stores in the young. After birth they develop poor antlers which is one of the major costs of parenthood as it makes winter survival more difficult.

Do you see the eartag?
Picture taken by Brigitte Weiss. Brigitte and Isabella make a tour to the mining area every day to read rings. So far they have encountered geese, reindeer and a polar bear.

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20130716 09:30: I will be back

I will be back

16 July 2013 09:30
I will be back. That is what the mother bear must have been thinking. She was chased out of the village July but returns with her cub. Again they are chased with flares. Now to Prins Heinrichsøya. There it still is in the evening.
The bears get rid of the water by shaking and by rubbing their back on the tundra.

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20130715 03:00: youngest polar bear

Youngest polar bear visits town

15 July 2013 03:00

Last night, it was a record. The youngest wild polar bear ever observed inside town. Mother and child moved in the direction of the Netherlands Arctic Station as they were diverted by the car of the Kings Bay watchman. No flares were fired. The bears moved to the sea side, had a break with some nursing and suckling and moved on. All that time I was working behind the computer. The bear must have been visble to me if I would have watched to the right out of the window. I did notice the silence and the emtiness of birds when I went for the toilet outside at 05:00 but did not see any unusual activity either by people or birds.
Three pictures taken by the airportmanager Hasse Carlson.

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20130714 13:00: swimming pool

Gigi and Isabella created a swqimming pool for the goslings. The tundra is becoming drier and there is not much water close to our house. The pool is a great success. The goslings dive and preen.
Click on the picture to start the video.

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20130713 21:00: tern release

tern release

13 July 2013 21:00

After attachment of a geolocator, I let the arctic tern fly off. First back to the nest and later a long migration to Antarctica. I will try to catch this tern back next year and the geolocator will reveal the migration route and timing.

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20130713 20:30: tern catching

tern catching

13 July 2013 20:30



Tim is catching arctic terns. Here you see a sequence of pictures of a catch.

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20130713 17:00: naming terns

Suzanne has named together with her family three terns. The last three years, she has been great help and today she can name her own arctic terns and release them. They have now a geolocator and next year, we hope to retrieve the data.
Click on the picture to the left to start the video.

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20130712 20:00: goose mother

Goose mother

12 July 2013 20:00

See how well they do together. Pictures taken by Gigi Weiss.

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20130712 11:15: crowdfunding ended

Crowdfunding project for the arctic tern migration successful.

Thanks to a large group of sponsors and the Ubbo Emmius Fund of the University of Groningen, I have been able to continue a geolocator project on Spitsbergen. Birds will be named after their sponsors and sponsors will receive tracking data of this wonderful bird linking arctic with antarctic. In this video, I am announcing the end of the fund raising and thank all sponsors. I enjoyed all the heart warming reactions and will deliver tracking data and stories to the people who have sponsored this research.

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20130712 01:15: bear with cub

Polar bear with cub visits town and is chased away

Last night, a polar bear wanted to walk into town. It was wearing a satellite transmitter. The tracking office of the Norwegian Polar Institute had already noted that this bear was entering Kongsfjorden. But nobody expected it to show up in town.
A flare is fired to chase the bear. It now goes in the water and swims to prins Heinrichsøya.
Later that night, the bear pass Ny-Ålesund and walk towards the glacier.

Solveig Nilsen gave me this nice pictures. Unfortunately I missed the bears because I was sleeping.

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20130711 23:00: ladies night

Ladies night

11 July 2013 23:00


The girls have planned a night stay in Brandalhytta. They bake sausages and pancakes. I see also beer, wine and tea on the pictures made by Gigi.


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20130710 20:00: goose mother

Goose mother

10 July 2013 20:00

Margje is taking care of the goslings. She leads them to a small pond and observes their feeding behaviour. Pictures taken by Gigi Weiss.

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20130710 19:00: dissection

Dissection

10 July 2013 19:00

I have found a fresh dead goose on the beach of Thiisbukta. No cause of death visible. I am preparing a biopsy and sample some organs of this individual to have them analyzed for parasites and pollutants.


Pictures taken by Gigi Weiss.

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20130710 13:30: moving home

The hut London 2 is being renovated. I lived there for 10 years. The foundation is rotten and has to be replaced. They lift the whole hut for repairs.

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20130707 20:15: swim certificate

Ingri has made swim certificates for those who join her sunday evening. Several people from the Netherlanmds Arctic Station go for a swim.

This video is made by Maarten Loonen
This is the version by Sander Nieuwenhuijsen.

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20130707 07:35: bear visits town

I woke up at 07:35 hearing a bang closeby. A polar bear has approached the station at less than 100 meter, but has been discovered and is now chased by the kings Bay watchman and his helper.
The first two pictures are made by Brigitte.
This picture is made by Margje
I made the next three pictures through my bed room window. The polar bear walks along the coast, but does not want to swim off despite the flares.
The watchman and his helper position themselves between the bear and the village.
The poar bear passes the grave yard and leaves via Tvillingvatnet the village.

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20130706 15:00: feeling alive

Feeling alive

filmed 6 July 2013, produced 15 September 2013
Former national poet and writer Ramsey Nasr is working as a field assistant with the researchers in the Netherlands Arctic Station. He describes his motivation and love for the Arctic.


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20130705 17:40: glacier waves

We drift with our boat in front of the glacier. Ramsey catches the falling ice.
The long slow waves are passing our boat.

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20130703 17:00: landing

  During the filming at Ny-London, a Norwegian excursion lands near Ny-London. It feels like being raided.

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20130703 16:10: arctic fox visit

  During the filming at Ny-London, we are visited by an arctic fox.

The location where we are sitting was two hours earlier a site where ornithologists were catching a long-tailed skua. They had to lure the bird close by throwing small pieces of meat and were successful. Now the Arctic Fox is eating all left-overs. So this bird is not fed by us.

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20130703 16:00: Louwrens in Labyrint

  Today, the national television makes a documentary with Louwrens Hacquebord about geopolitics and exploitation of the Arctic. They are filming in Ny-London, a deserted mining town on the other side of the fjord.

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20130703 15:30: camp mansfield

  On the other side of the fjord is Camp Mansfield. I give a small guided tour into the hut.

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20130703 09:20: Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

3 July 2013


Director European Cooperation at the Ministery of Foreign Affairs visits Spistbergen on invitation of the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Ministery of Foreign Affairs. It is a trip to learn about the European Arctic and the debates on climate change, conservation and exploitation. Louwrens and Maarten meet Robert de Groot in the street. We organize a small excursion and show him the Netherlands Arctic Station.


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20130701 15:00: ben & ariadna


Ben and Ariadna worked for IMARES of Wageningen University. Ariadna develops bio indicators for pollution and Ben studies the effect of biocide on arctic ballast water. The first week they have been collecting worms from marine sediments. Cold work.

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20130701 10:00: moments of wonder

moments of wonder

There are moments in which I can show something to people, which see this the first time in their life. Special moments!

Ramsey holds his first pipping egg. The gosling has made a hole and makes noise.
Margje is meeting her first barnacle goose gosling.
Tim holds an arctic tern after removing a geolocator.

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20130630 21:30: swimming in icy water

In the previous video about Martine, you can see it happen in the bottom left corner. The weekly swim on Sunday evening. Ingri has gathered a few brave people to dip into the fjord together with her.

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20130630 21:20: Martine about her project

  Martine van den Heuvel-Greve has been collecting sediment from an area close to the harbour (which should be contaminated) and an area far away (which should be clean). The video to the left starts after clicking on the picture. She will explain her project from the balcony of the marine laboratory.

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20130630 20:00: group picture

group picture

30 June 2013 20:00

All members of the Netherlands Arctic Station on a group picture. From left to right on the top row: Tim, Martine, Suzanne, Gigi, Isabella and Ariadne. On the middle row: Ruben, Bas, Ben, Margje, Ramsey and Maarten. Bottom row: our goslings. Tomorrow Bas, Ruben and Martine will return to the Netherlands.

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20130630 13:00: wageningen the movie

Ruben and Bas are making a movie about the research of Wageningen University in the Arctic. Today we went to the Blomstrand glacier and discussed in front of the glacier arctic research and climate change. This is the group in the boat with Martine and Ramnsey. Wojtek took the picture.

Bas Bolman keeps a blog about his week on Spitsbergen at: http://arctic-imares.blogspot.nl.

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20130629 20:00: goose walking

First time walking with geese on the tundra.

Click on the picture to the left to start the video.
Margje and Maarten while making the video.

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20130629 16:00: imprinting

Margje has become goose mother. You can watch the video by clicking on the left picture. The video will learn you about the details.

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20130628 21:00: humpback

We encountered a humpback whale on the way home. Incredible impressive to see this creature at close distance from a zodiac. He (or she) was feeding. Surfacing, the body bounced on the surface with a long blow. Than there were 4 breathing moments and the whale made a steep dive to the bottom of the fjord again, rising high with its humback and showing the impressive fluke. Now wind, no waves and this magical sound of breathing, breath taking. We stopped the engine and drifted along. Returning home we encountered a puffin. What a day.
Ramsey Nasr took the video on the left. The sounds tell the story two. Massive breathing by the whale, a ratling camera at the right moment and a deep sigh by Ramsey Nasr while he lives the moment.
This text is surrounded by my own pictures, taken with a small camera.

These two pictures are made by Gigi.

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20130628 18:00: fishing geese

fishing for geese
28 June 2013

Some geese are carrying geolocators which reveal their migration route and timing. But I need to retrieve the geolocators to collect the data.
During the nest checks, I discover a male goose with geolocator, which is very protective about the newly hatched goslings. I will try to catch this male, with my fishing rod.
I managed to get the rope around the neck. Next a quick pull and the geese is caught.
I quickly remove the string from the neck.
I turn the goose on its back
And remove the logger which is attached to the white ring with red inscription
Not everybody is happy to see me. Geese were used in ancient Rome to guard the city.

Pictures by Gigi.


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20130628 15:00: renovation

More than 10 years, every summer I have lived in London II. Now the house is renovated. Two carpenters will be busy all summer. Because the huts are historical monuments, they have to change as little as possible and re-use as much as possible. Unfortunately the logs at the base are rotten and need replacement. So the carpenters will lift the whole hut and place it somewhere else to change the logs. Here they lift the front portal out of the hut. It leaves a big scar for now, but I am sure it will be perfect in the end.

Pictures from Suzanne Lubbe.


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20130627 16:00: ringing grass

We ring grass shoots and measure the size of the elaves every six days as a measure of food availability for the geese. Today my assistant is Ramsey Nasr, writer and former national poet of the Netherlands. The layout of the plots is paired. One will be exclosed, so the geese cannot get to it. That will show production. The other is open and from the grazed leaves we can calculate consumption.

An earlier video on grass ringing can be found here
Ramsey is putting a red ring around a grass shoot.

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20130627 11:00: counting eggs


We are collecting data on clutch size and read rings from geese on Prins Heinrichsøya. Margje is walking ten meters behind me with a telescope to read rings, while I collect GPS coordinates, clutchsize and rate the nest defense of the geese. Luckily Margje also had her camera with her.
This clif is every year occupied by the same pair and they want to fight me. Nevertheless, 4 eggs. Not bad for this year.


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20130622 18:00: midsummer party

Midsummer party: Rock n roll at havnelagret. Al people dress up and there is dinner and a party. This afternoon, the Netherlands team has been making clothes. Petticoats and pony tails and trousers with wide anckels.
Our Tim wins a price running over a floating bridge to collect three bear cans.

After the game, the local band BEVER SPRIT is playing for us. Lots of fun.

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20130621 13:30: invitation to antarctica

We are receiving invitations from Antarctica (Neumayer at 70°40.5'S) for their midwinter party. We have to respond quickly with an invitation for our midsummer partty. Rudolf Denkmann takes the lead.
The making of....
Manish was boating and appears magically in the picture.

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20130620 20:00: first tundra walk

The first time walking on the tundra looking for birds and prepared for a polar bear encounter is always special. We leave town passing the airport and go and check three cabins and the area around Brandalpunkten. On top of Knudsenheia there are some shallow lakes which I call the fox lakes. Not because of an Arctic Fox but because of Tony Fox, a famous Danish goose researcher and good friend, who pointed these lakes with geese to me in 1990.
Pictures taken by Margje de Jong during her first tundra trip.

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20130620 17:30: WWF on doorstep


One of the touristboats has a camera team together with Gert Polet and Femke Koopmans of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on board. They make a short stopover in Ny-Ålesund and take some shots. They ask us about our approach towards polar bear encounters. After having heard our story, they want to tape it.
On the doorstep of the Netherlands Arctic Station I discuss with Femke Koopmans how to reduce danger for the polar bear and humans. WWF will use the clip on their websites for the campaign arctichome, which they have initiated with Coca Cola. Hopefully their campaign will also generate some funds for polar bear researchers from the Netherlands.


And the final result is the video below, with this station at 2:20 minute.
This video is part of a WWF webpage about reducing human-bear conflict.

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20130619 19:15: attack

With a fox in the village, we have started marking tern nests to follow their success. This is work for the brave as you are under constant attack of picking, screaming and shitting terns.

Tim feels brave enough.

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20130619 15:00: cages

During winter, I have stored some cages in the coal cleaning building. This building is the biggest in town, but rather dark and spooky.

Today Margje and Maarten are collecting these cages from the second floor, lowering them on a long line.

More information about this building and all other buildings in the village can be found here.

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20130619 13:30: starter team


The team of the Netherlands Arctic Station presents themselves in front of the station with their new jackets from the Netherlands Organisatioon for Scientific Research (NWO) and their new bicycles and some wooden shoes.
The pictures are taken by Karoline Baelum for the website of Svalbard Science Forum
From left to right Brigitte Weiss, Margje de Jong, Suzanne Lubbe, Tim van Oosten, Isabella Scheiber and Maarten Loonen.


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20130618 14:00: safety training

New arrivals in Ny-Ålesund have to follow a safety training before they can go into the field independently. The safety training is focussing most on polar bear encounters. It includes a lecture about polar bear behaviour, a lecture about gun safety and a practical rifle training. The latter part is most spectacular and this video shows part of that, starring Margje and Tim.
The rifle is the final action after having tried all kind of other deterrents and tricks to get away from the polar bear. More on safety in the Netherlands Arctic Station here.

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20130618 07:10: arctic fox

Our first morning Isabella and Brigitte observe two arctic foxes close to our station. One of them has a arctic tern egg in his/her beak.

Picture taken by Brigitte Weiss


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20130617 17:00: geolocators observed

Within 2 hours after opening the Netherlands arctic Station, we have located already two Arctic Terns with geolocators, containing migration paths over the last year from Arctic to Antarctic. They were not nesting yet, so we have to wait a bit. But the first signs are very good.

Pictures taken by Brigitte Weiss


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20130617 11:00: clothes from whalers

During the Smeerenburg expeditions (1980-1983), grave yards of 17th century whalers have been excavated. These graves were well preserved in the permafrost. Bones, clothing and hair were part of the finds. 17th century whalers were wearing normal Dutch winter clothes on Spitsbergen. At the start of the expedition, it was decided that half of the collection would return to Norway. Most was returned several years ago when the Governor of Svalbard sent his vessel to Amsterdam. Some material was on display in the Zuiderzee Museum. Those finds are returned today. Margje and Maarten shipped the material with the tourist boat Ortelius. As soon as the material arrives at the depot, photograhs are taken and the finds are cataloged.

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20130606 20:00: world champions

I am joining Derick Hiemstra and Klaas van Dijk in the Eeemshaven to observe and ring Arctic Terns. In this industrial area, activity is low and Arctic Terns have started breeding. On this location the world champions migration distance were equipped with a geolocator two years ago and recaught one year ago. Today Derick and Klaas are doing their normal checks. They read colour rings but also metal rings from terns. Than we continue catching and ringing some breeding pairs. All this is part of my preparation for this summer field season on Spitsbergen.

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20130605 13:00: transport of equipment

Our equipment is transported to Spitsbergen on the Ortelius of Oceanwide Expeditions. This boat is making cruises with tourists and a regular visitor to Ny-Ålesund. It will depart 8 June from Hansweert in The Netherlands and arrive in Ny-Ålesund on 20 June. I brought 24 boxes and 4 bikes to the boat and got great help from Natacha Wisse. Thank you crew.

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20130604 14:00: visiting tern research in Germany

  I have been visiting Peter Becker and Sandra Bouwhuis in Wilhelmshafen, Germany to learn about their research on common terns. Peter has a long-term project and a visit to their field site is an inspiration for our own research questions on the arctic tern. They monitor individuals with transponders and have a automated registration of presence and body mass. New for me is there method of blood sampling. They use tropical tics and hide them in fake tern eggs. They can sample blood without the bird noticing. Ideal for studying hormone levels.

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20130603 11:02: snowfree nesting islands

Snowfree nesting islands

3 June 2013 11:02

Today, Geir Wing Gabrielsen sent me some pictures taken on his flight in to Ny-Ålesund. With his iphone, he caught the islands in Kongsfjord. There is not much snow, so geese and eider ducks can start nesting.
Jouke Prop has also arrived in Nordenskiøldkysten and on June 17 we are opening the Netherlands Arctic Station. Geir wrote, he had not seen any barnacle geese yet. Einar Johanssen reported geese last Thursday. It is exciting what the season will bring.
From left to right: Juttaholmen, Observasjonsholmen, Midtholmen, Sigridholmen, Innerholmen en Leirholmen.
From left to right: Storholmen, Juttaholmen, Observasjonsholmen, Sigridholmen, Midtholmen en Innerholmen.
Storholmen is the main breeding island in the fjord with over 200 barnacle goose nests. Juttaholmen has around 50 barnie nests.
This is the island Prins Heinrichsøya, close to Ny-Ålesund. Normally with 22 barnie nests.

Below a map with all islands in Kongsfjord (from http://toposvalbard.npolar.no/).

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20130602 13:00: shooting practice

  I have been shooting clay pigeons as a rifle training. There is a shooting range close to our home and I went with my family to schooting range Vulpes vulpes in Nieuwe Pekela. We had a private instructor and were allowed to shoot 25 times in five different positions.
Janwillem and Marion joined in the practice and Willemijn was learning about gun safety too.
Good practice for nasty bear encounters.

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20130329 12:00: adopt a tern

Adopt a tern

The Ubbo Emmius Fund of the University of Groningen has started a crowd-funding activity. In 2012 I have started to deploy geolocators on the legrings of Arctic Terns. These small birds breed in the Arctic and winter in the Antarctic. The geolocators will reveal the migration route and timing. But most interesting is that we will monitor several years of migration by the same bird and hope to study shifts and changes in the flight plan of the bird. This should help us to study adaptations to global change.

Go to the special website: http://www.rugsteuntstern.nl

Below, you can read an arcticle in the magazine for former university students.


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20130128 20:00: Netherlands on Edgeøya

Netherlands on Edgeøya

At the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen, we are searching the archives for old material on polar research. We have found two documentaries from expeditions to east-Svalbard. From 1968 until 1988, the Netherlands Arctic Station was located on Edgeøya. Here you can find impressions of their field work, including some polar bear encounters.


Polar bear research 1968-69 (more...) Reindeer research 1977 (more...)

In 1968-1969, four Dutch students wintered on the island Edgeøya hoping to collect important data to safe the polar bear. During their stay, this documentary is made by Paul van de Bosch and Hans Zoet. In 1969, it has been shown on Dutch television.

Sip van Wieren filmed during the REES77 expedition. He made a documentary without sound, but we have added a background sound from a lecture, he gave at the Arctic Centre (28 Jan 2013). We acknowledge Sip and his helpers for making this movie available.


This project is part of the preparations for a new expedition called SEES.NL in 2014.

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20130103 12:00: polar bears eating goose eggs

Polar bears chasing goose eggs

Jouke Prop is associated member of the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen and has been studying the interaction between polar bears and geese. Here you can see some spectacular movies from his study in 2012.
This video shows successive visits by polar bears to a barnacle goose colony, west coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Bears walk from nest to nest to eat the eggs, leaving behind the upset nest owners. Other bird species that are predated on this video are eider and glaucous gull. The video summarizes 20 hours of polar bears feeding in the colony throughout the 2012 breeding season. The video speed is 5x normal. The field work was by Jouke Prop, Eva Wolters, Tom van Spanje, Oebele Dijk and Thomas Oudman.

Polar bears detect pink-footed goose nests

Geese nest on places were they feel safe for predators. Many years, the Arctic Fox was the main predator for goose nests. Barnacle geese could not defend their nest against foxes and had to breed on islands. Pink-footed goose were able to defend their nests on rocky outcrops on the tundra. In recent years, Polar Bears have arrived as new predators during nesting. They are very well able to visit the breeding islands and even locate nests on the tundra. We are still not sure, if the increasing number of polar bears in our study area is an effect of an increasing bear population due to a hunting ban since 1968, or if this is the effect of disappearing hunting grounds on ice due to global warming.
In our study area Pink-footed geese make their nest on rocky outcrops. Safe places that they can well defend against Arctic foxes. When a polar bear comes the geese can just hide and hope for the best. In vain, as this video shows. Video by Jouke Prop, Tom van Spanje, Eva Wolters.

These videos are taken from youtube.com channel joukeprop.


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20120824 18:45: children news

24 August 2012 18:45

children tv news

The sea ice at the North Pole is approaching the record low of 2007. The Dutch children news on TV is interviewing Willemijn about her experience. Her contribution was broadcasted 24 August station Nederland 3 at 18:45. You can see the news on http://www.npo.nl/nos-jeugdjournaal/24-08-2012/POW_00422031?start_at=385


24 August 2012 14:00

The making of.....children news

A small impression of Willemijn, filmed and being interviewed. She explains perfectly, but still she has to say similar sentences with the camera in various positions. One minute broadcasted is one-and-a-half hour interview with 20 minutes taped.

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20120816 21:15: homeward bound

16 August 2012 21:15

homeward bound

The whole day, all flights have been delayed. In the evening, the situation improves but the pilots only want to fly after working hours, after intervention by the management of Kings Bay. Suddenly we can fly at 20:30, leaving Hielke and Casper behind. But they arrive 2 hours later too.
After a short night on the campground, we enter at 05:00 the airplane to Oslo.
Longyearbyen camping is a good place to stay when you have a short night in between flights. tents, sleeping bags and matrasses are for hire and it is a cosy atmosphere. And the campground is right next to the airport. Thank you Michelle and Sara.

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20120816 17:10: gelly pudding

16 August 2012 17:10  jelly pudding

Our plane is delayed due to bad weather and we have dinner in Ny-Ålesund. I have told Willemijn about the jelly pudding and today it is our desert. Beautiful yellow yelly with cream; a real treat. We love it.

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20120815 23:30: bar evening

15 August 2012 23:30  bar evening

Above from left to right: Anette Grner, Casper van der Kooi, Willemijn Loonen and Maarten Loonen. Below Willemijn en Maarten Loonen.

The day before our departure is the second evening this season when I visit the local bar at Mellageret. Willemijn longed for a hotdog. We both enjoy it.

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20120815 17:00: ferrybox

ferrybox

The new ferrybox of the Alfred Wegener Institute, monitors abiotic and biotic parameters at 12 meter depth inside the fjord.
To the left a page from the local newspaper NySCIENCE 2012 number 3, made by station personal of AWIPEV. In this article, the background for these measurements are explained.


On line data are published on the internet: http://www.hzg.de/institute/coastal_research/
cosyna/033397/index_0033397.html

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20120815 14:00: effects of grazing

15 August 2012 14:00

effects of grazing

In this video, I demonstrate the effect of exclosures, which exclude the herbivores from a small vegetataion plot. By comparing paired plots, one exclosed, one grazed, I can study the effect of the herbivores on the vegetation. These exclosures are 10 years old. Inside a big variety of species with flowering grasses, Cardamine and Equisetum. On teh grazed plot, only mass can be found.

Within the grazed plots of 2 x 2 m2 I have made new exclosures of 1 x 1 m2, to continue this study in 2013.
Below a comparison betwwen exclosed and grazed plots, by pictures taken from above.

exclosed

grazed


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20120813 19:00: water bed

13 August 2012 19:00

waterbed

Survival suits are an essential safety dress when we go into the fjord. You should not swim with them but float and wait for rescue. This evening we are excersising the use of survival suits by floating.

Afterwards, Willemijn considers this the best part of her stay. She would have liked to do this much more.

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20120813 1700: collapsing glacier

13 August 2012 17:00

collapsing glacier

The glaciers in the fjord make a noisy spectacle when ice breaks off into the fjord. Today,w e are passing the Blomstrand glacier at a special moment. Within a few minutes, we see five huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. We are on a safe distance several hundreds of meters away, but the video is still spectacular.
Below, we pose in front of the glacier.

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20120813 16:00: willemijn meets bearded seal

13 August 2012 16:00

Willemijn meets bearded seal

  In June, we usually obserrve lots of bearded seals resting on ice flows while they are moulting their fur. Today, we still find one who is reluctant to go into the water. We pass slowly closeby and leave the beautiful animal at peace.

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20120813 14:00: storholmen hut

13 August 2012 14:00

storholmen hut

The hut on the island Storholmen is being refurbished. It is taking several years as the island is closed for visitors until 15 August, to protect breeding birds. I have license to visit to count geese and read rings. Willemijn is assisting me and together we go and check the status of the hut.
Below a video from the weblog of 2011 en to the left below a picture from 2009.

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20120811 12:00: angel and butterfly

11 August 2012 12:00

angel and butterfly

  Angels change to devils and buterflies go to heaven in the aquarium of Jaap van der Meer. Jaap studies pterapods and explain in this video in Dutch his project plan.

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20120809 09:30: marion leaves

9 August 2012 09:30

marion leaves

Marion is joining the ship Plancius as a guide for two trips. The first trip they will round Kvitøya and the entire Spitsbergen archipelago. The second trip is a polar bear special north of Spitsbergen.
24 hours later, she is back, but has to hurry to get her boat training ----->

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20120808 19:50: descent through canyon

8 August 2012 19:50

descent through the canyon

  The last part of our walk is a descent through the canyon. Water is flowing below the stones.

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20120808 18:50: ice cap

8 August 2012 18:50

ice cap

  After having lunch at the bird cliff, we cross several hills to get to the ice cap. For Willemijn all this climbing is a bit to much. Still she explains in this video what we have doneand where we are.
Willemijn rests, while we are discussing if that stone can be a polar bear.
Below we are having lunch at the bird cliff.

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20120808 14:50: survival suit

8 August 2012 14:50

survival suit

We are on excursion to Ossian Sars with the whole team and two boats. Eveybody wears survival suits in boats. Willemijn has the smallest suit available in town and still it is to big to be comfortable. She cals it a bag.
In the video on the left side, Willemijn is dressed by Marion to return to the boat.

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20120807 22:25: catch with students

7 August 2012 22:25

goose catch with students

Students of the course AB201 terrestrial ecology from UNIS, the university centre on Svalbard, are assisting today with catching geese.

We start with a lecture on gooseology.
During the catch all students are holding a gosling and guide it through the proces of ringing, measuring, blood sampling and weighing.
Part of the geese are placed in a bag with insecticides to remove the ectoparasites from the plumage.
Willemijn has developed a method to dry the weighing boxes and starts a dance with some of the students.

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20120807 20:00: sledge dog riding

7 August 2012 20:00

sledge dog riding

Willemijn is invited to join Sébastien Barrault during his sledge dog training. The dog team is SAVA VIT.

Willemijn is a bit afraid of all the enthusiasm she encounters from the dogs. But after the run the dogs are calm and she can pet them.

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20120807 14:14: marine laboratory

7 August 2012 14:14

tour through the marine laboratory

Dieter Hanelt is professor at the University of Hamburg and measures photosynthesis of macro algae.

Kerstin Hbner is assistant in the macro algae team. She studies plants and animals growing on the sea weeds.

Cornelia Buchholz is also studying macro algae. Her husband Fritz Buchholz is investigating krill in the fjord.

Jaap van der Meer of the Netherlands Institute of Sea Research NIOZ is staying in the Netherlands Arctic Station to develop a new project. We are visiting the scientists in the marine laboratory and they are lindly presenting their research projects. Marion is also joining as she has worked with fytoplankton for many years too at the University of Groningen.

Christoph Walcher is leader of the scuba dive team. He is normally based on Helgoland. There are divinbg facilities on the ground floor of the building.

Sina Petrowski and Kathrin Schachtl are testing food web structure in aquaria with crabs and various other sea creatures.


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20120805 08:00: feather and coal

Willemijn is selling goose feathers and coal from Ny-Ålesund to the tourists. It is a good lesson to learn to speak english.

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20120804 13:00: sale

4 August 2012

sale

There are many tourists coming to this village and Willemijn will try to sell coal pieces and goose feathers. Before the sale, she has to collect and prepare her merchandise. In this video she explains her plan in Dutch.

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20120803 23:00: bag ruffle

3 August 2012

bag ruffle during goose catching

We want to collect insects from the plumage of the geese to study the potential of insects carried between Scotland and Spitsbergen. Geese are placed in a bag with insecticide and we ruffle to get the insects in the bag.

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20120803 22:00: young polar researcher

3 August 2012

Willemijn is polar researcher

Willemijn cannot wait until we start goose catching. She wants to help and become a polar researcher. These pictures show her graduation. She did a marvelous job, carrying goslings around and weighing them.

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20120803 14:00: marion's rifle training

3 August 2012

marion gets rifle training


Certified
You can only leave the village accompagnied by someone who can carry a gun. Marion gets her safety training. She is taught about polar bear behaviour, safety and rifles. Than there is shooting practice on the rifle range.

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20120803 11:00: svalbardkurset

3 augustus 2012

Svalbardkurset

Svalbardkurset is a special course for governmental people from Norway who will work with issues related to Svalbard. tey learn about history, nature and cultural heritage. Today I tell them about the research in the Netherlands Arctic Station.

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20120802 18:00: signing mail

2 August 2012

signing mail

Several letters and post cards are waiting to be signed by the new members of the expedition team. These will be collector ites.

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20120802 16:00: family arrived

2 August 2012, 16:00

My wife Marion and daughter Willemijn have arrived. Willemijn will be the youngest polar researcher and help catching geese. She will stay two weeks. Marion will only stay a week and than continue as a guide on a tourist boat.

I think I was so happy to see them, that Ingri made a picture of us, right when we arrived at the reception.

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20120802 14:00: help coming

2 August 2012

My daughter and wife arrive on Spitsbergen

Marion and Willemijn are coming to Spitsbergen to assist during goose catching. They arrived in Longyearbyen and continued to Ny-Ålesund within 2 hours. They had just enough time for some pictures outside the airport.

At 16:00 there are several people walking on wooden shoes in the village.

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20120801 00:31: puffs

We have just finished a goose catch and we see Belugas entering the fjord. It is midnight sun. We look straight towards the north. But this shows the blows nicely.

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20120801 00:30: seals

Two seals have placed themselves on top of a stone, where they will stay during low tide.

In recent years, harbour seals have become common residents. Earlier I only noticed ringed seal (which only rests on ice). But this year we have 14 harbour seals laying near Prins Heinrich, east of town, and also this stone on the west side of town is often used.

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20120801 00:29: release

We have ringed 60 geese and let them free again into the fjord, where the families can re-unite.

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20120731 18:00: herding geese

We are catching geese during moult for the second time this year. I have herded the geese from the lake into the fjord and three kayaks and a boat are bringing them to the site where the catch nests are placed.

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20120728 19:00: beluga closeby

  We have been cruising all coasts inside the fjord and now we meet a pod of belugas. These white whales forage in the shallows and come very close to our boat. How lucky we are.

Another close observation in 2010:
  20100807 14:00
white whales

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20120728 14:00: floating ice

  We are traveling the entire fjord to count the number of geese. There is a lot of ice floating in the fjord. Ice is breaking off the glaciers. When ice has been compressed in the glacier, it gets blue colours. An impression about an extraordinary trip.

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20120728 13:10: juvenile arctic fox

  At Krikjefjellet there is a fox den with three puppies at the start of the season. The scientists working there have only seen one fox recently. We also see one at a time, but there was a big size difference.

In previous years, arctic foxes have been living under our station. Although the predation on the goslings was enormous, it was a joy to see the puppies play each day. You will find several joyful videos on this website if you search for arctic fox.

It was very nice to see these puppies.

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20120728 13:00: fertilizer

  We are traveling the entire fjord to count the number of geese and stop for a moment near Krikjefjellet. This cliff is relatively accessible and several researchers work from here. I show to Hielke and Casper the vegetation under the cliff and the thick layer of guano, which has formed over the years. The plants are doing well with all the extra nutrients.

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20120726 14:30: metabolic rate

  Hugh Ellis of the University of San Diego USA is measuring metabolic rate in kittiwakes. When the chicks are 15 days old, he measures over a period of two days field metabolic rate using doubly labelled water. Than the bird is placed for 4 hours in a respiratory chamber to measure basal metabolic rate. The metabolic rates will be related to hormone and pollution levels.

In the background, the pump of the measurement unit is working constantly. Sorry for the noise.

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20120726 11:04: departure Suzanne

Suzanne is returning home. Departure at the reception.
From left to right:Jaap van Rijckevorsel, Johanna van Hove and Suzanne Lubbe. Jaap and Johanna arrived by boat and return by plane. Flights are only possible after approval of a station leader. Suzanne is hugging good bye to Woitjek

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20120725 22:12: first moult catch

On the last day of Suzannes stay, we are making the first non-breeder catch to practice the procedures. We catch 30 geese. Halfway it did not look good when Hielke turned over in his kayak. Luckily he is a good swimmer and was wearing a dry suit. Suzanne and me had to go chest deep into the water while wearing survival suits. ganzen te vangen.
Preparing cages for holding geese Part of the caught geese. Only two ringed individuals among thirty geese at the start of ringing Casper with his material to take blood samples. To the left Suzanne, being cold while writing numbers.

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20120724 19:45: tame bear

  Jon Aage Ødegaard is back in Ny-Ålesund as a veteran and shows a series of beautiful pictures and tells about this town many years ago. He has spend part of his childhood here in town, living with his parents in the hut London II.

In 1967, his father still worked as an engineer in Ny-Ålesund and shot a polar bear mother at Kings Karl Forlandet. He brought a polar bear cub home. In those days upto 40 polar bears were killed here annually.

The polar bear was raised in the village and trained with a bull ring in its nose. When it came close to independence it was released in the fjord.

This film is taken in the winter of 1968/69, when Jon was visiting his father and they both went to see their polar bear at Juttaholmen.

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20120723 15:58: arctic skuas

Casper van der Kooi has arrived as a student for his master project. We went reading rings immedeately. On the tundra he meets a pair of arctic skuas. They do all to distract him from their chick. If you look carefully, you can see that also both of these skuas are carrying geolocators.

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20120722 15:01: red legs

The arctic terns which we have given geolocators are doing well. This one had a watch over its chick and this gave a good photo opportunity.
More about this project in earlier blogs:
20120707 11:30
geolocation
20120708 22:00
catching terns
20120713 13:00
checking terns
A detail picture taken through the telescope shows the magnificent red legs of the tern. On the left leg it is wearing a standard bird migration metal ring of Stavanger Museum. Numbers showing are 738. On the right leg, the bird has a yellow plastic ring with two holes and a tie rap attaching the geolocator.

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20120721 23:43: purple sandpiper

Young birds are all over the village. A purple sandpiper is walking with four chicks close to the station. The chicks forage independently and at regular intervals the mother warms them. It takes some time before all four chicks have found a position under mothers wings.
Time for a short sleep.

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20120721 19:04: French delegation

There is a small international delegation visiting Ny-Ålesund with the former prime minister of France, Michel Rocard. They have a five day program with visits to stations and scientists. We start with a smal reception in the Amundsen villa. From left to right: Nick Cox (NERC station, UK), Riccardo Zanini (Italian station), Christian Wiencke (chief scientist AWI, Germany/France), Elaine Schemilt (delegation member, artist, professor at Dundee, South Georgia Heritage Trust), Fang Zang (Chinese station), Frederik Paulsen (delegation sponsor, South Georgia Heritage Trust), Pascal Lecamp (delegation member, Frech Embassy Oslo, private company support UBIFRANCE), Sébastien Barrault (AWIPEV station, Germany/France), Michel Rocard (delegation, ambassador for France for the Arctic and Antarctic, former prime minister of France 1988-1991), Rudolf Denkmann (AWIPEV, Germany/France) Laurent Mayet (delegation member, founding member of Le Cercle Polair and special advisor to Michel Rocard) station leader (Indian station), Bjørn Basberg (delegation member, South Georgia Heritage Trust, professor in history, Bergen)

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20120720 18:12: fog

18:12 There is a deep fog entering the fjord. While I was observing tourists returning to the Sea Spirit, she disappears in the fog within 4 minutes, while the zodiacs are crossing the fjord.
18:14 While the mountains in the background have disappeared, the ship is also taken in the fog. The last two zodiacs are returning to the boat.
18:16 Before the last zodiac reaches the boat, the boat is hardly visible. A few seconds later everything is invisible.

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20120720 14:00: road maintenance

  The road is prayed with water to reduce dust. It is a spectacular sight when our Thunderbird 4/2 is approaching, while spraying the water. A tank of 6500 liter is emptied in 90 seconds.

Next Monday, Casper van der Kooi will come to assist with goose catching. He has been a parttime fire men during his study biology. Here he can observe some collegagues.

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20120720 09:30: attacked

Glaucous gull white AAL is seen already three times in the tern colony near the dogyard. He seems hunting for arctic tern chicks and walks for 20-30 minutes while being attacked by numerous terns. Life is not easy for this predator. Each time he is bleeding from his head. The terns draw blood. Still, the glaucous gull takes his time.

pictures taken through a telescope


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20120719 20:30: birthday

19 July 2012

Today, Dag Lennart Anderson has become 40 years old. He celebrates his birthday with a party in the bus garage. Congratulations!


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20120718 17:00: little auks

Suzanne is helping Saga with her field work on little auks. There is a nice colony at the north side of the fjord. The top right picture is showing their catching device, a tapestry full with nylon strings which entangles the bird.

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20120717 15:30: tourist guides

Ronald Visser and Annette Scheepstra are touristy guides on Polar Quest, a couple and visiting Ny-Ålesund. They are colleagues at the University of Groningen. Annette is working at the Arctic Centre and Ronald at Ocean Ecosystems.

Many members of the Arctic Centre are regularly guiding on tourist boats. It is a nice way of reaching remote destinantions in the Arctic. Our most important partner is Ocean Wide Expeditions, but we are also joining other organisations.

My trips as a tourist guide:

Antarctica
3-29 January 2009

Climate expedition
22-28 June 2010


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20120716 14:15: ambassador

Today, the ambassador of the Royal Thai Embassy in Oslo, His Excellency Theerakun Niyom, is visiting Ny-Ålesund. There is a large Thai community on Spitsbergen, especially in Longyearbyen. Some coal miners have married a Thai wife and over the years, some of their family moved to Spitsbergen too.
According to local rumours, he is preparing a visit of a Thai princess next March 2013. This community is proud to welcome this Royal interest.

From left to right: the Thai ambassador, Bodil Myklevoll of Kings Bay and me.

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20120715 21:30: tern chicks

The terns are having chicks and parents fly in and out to provide them with food. Luckily it is good weather. Stormy days can cause mass starvation, but this year seems a perfect summer. Many parents have two mouths to feed and the young need to be alert. First come first served.

Pictures taken by Phillip Blaen, NERC station


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20120714 21:00: rifle training

  Last week, there were several bear sightings in the fjord. We all have followed special courses in polar bear behaviour and safe rifle use. And we are always carrying a rifle but also other bear deterrants like a signal pistol, fire works and a loud horn. Today we have decided for an extra training. We discuss various scenarios and check eachother on safe rifle use (kaliber 308). The first time, we shoot two bullets as fast as possible. The second time I try to add some stress. We end with testing the alarm pistol and the fire works. Now we feel a bit extra prepared.

We hope never to use the rifle for real.

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20120714 17:00: snow fence

  There is a British team doing construction work on the tundra. Paula Roberts of the University of Bangor UK, is building six snow fences to study the implications of increase freeze thaw processes on soil carbons.

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20120713 22:00: climbing zeppelin

  From left to right: Hielke, Suzanne, Mette and Anton.
While I went to the LARS in the harbour, they climed the Zeppelin mountain. That is not an easy climb, they return with more respect for this mountain, but the view is exceptional and I see them taking a brake on a high clif. The top picture is taken through my telesciope with 60 times magnification.
  This is the normal picture taken from the village. Can you see their location? The middle picture is the enlargement of their location, taken from the lowest picture.

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20120713 20:30: Lars

Today, there is a special type of yacht in the harbour. She is a Dutch towboat, with an ice-class. Her name is LARS the little polar bear, and her home is in Vlissingen. The owner calls her a boys boat. I can see that. On board a family, who planned for several years to make this trip into the ice of the North Pole. They hope to see more of this wonderful world. An exceptional plan. My dream is an expedition to Edgeøya in 2014 (see http://www.sees.nl). Here I see such a dream materialize. Ten year old Tom is celebrating is birthday day after tomorrow on Spitsbergen.

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20120713 13:00: checking terns

  Here you see some pictures of two terns with geolocators.
Every day, I am checking the terns which are carrying geolocators. Are they still here? Are they behaving normal? Most of them are regularly seen.

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20120712 22:30: cod

Returning from Storholmen, we meet Wojtek Moskal and Leif Arild Håhjem in the harbour, back from a fishing trip. Steinar had discovered the presence of a lot of cod west of Blomstranden ona depth of 20-40 meter. Within an hour they have caught 40 fishes.
Cod is a special fish. It is economically very important. In relative warm seasons they can move north. This year seems to be such a year. The water temperature in the top layer is 6.8 degrees Celsius. The stomachs were full of shrimps. When there is a low food availability for cods they can become predators of their own kin.
The presence of this cod is not simply good news. The fast ice is far away. This must be seen as a sign of global warming. At this moment, we are still heading to a new record low in ice coverage http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/, beating the previous record of 2007.

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20120711 21:30: traces of bears

Some days ago, we had several polar bear sightings in the fjord. Now we find traces of these visitors. To the left a foot print on the beach near Gåsebu (head of Hielke for size) and to the left polar bear faeces found on Storholmen. There is clearly a disturbed digestion after eating bird eggs.

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20120711 13:05: kings bay crew

The summer crew of Kings Bay has made a group picture.

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20120710 14:00: glaucous gull chicks

Tore Nordstad needs some help today with ringing of glaucous gull chicks. Suzanne is accopanyiong him and has made these pictures. Tore is ringing, measuring and takes a blood sample.
They encountered a swimming reindeer between Blomstrand and Gerdøya

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20120709 13:52: bear passing

Most bears pass behind Blomstranden and are observed by the people working at the bird cliff. Dagfinn Breivik Skomsø is one of the lucky students, who observes a polar bear from a safe distance during his first days. He made these pictures.
More about this bird cliff:
moss cliff bird cliff
Earlier, I showed polar bear faeces. Here is proof.

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20120708 22:00: catching terns

 

8 July 2012

We have deployed 17 of the 20 geolocators. The rings fitted perfectly. Plastic ring and logger weight is 0.93 gram, the metal ring weight is 0.60 gram, the arctic tern's weight is between 93 and 128 gram. Some of the birds took flight immedeately, some took a minute on the ground, but at this moment all of them are taking part in reproduction again, either feeding their young or incubating the eggs. We will monitor their behaviour in the next few days.

Catching went easy. A wire cage was enough for incubating terns. It always took less than 5 minutes before the birds returned to the nest and were caught. After pulling the rope, the cage closed and some birds did not show any reaction before we started to move towards the cage. For terns with (moving) chicks, we used a mist net. Arctic terns defend their nest vigorously by picking in your head or dive bombing with shit. We are usually wearing all kinds of head protection when approaching a nest. These protections need to be soft, so the tern is not damaged when it attacks.

More on making rings, geolocator technology, project BIRDMAP or the Greenland project.

Thanks to Børge Moe, Suzanne Lubbe, James Fox and Svein Arne Hansson for their assistance. Now the biggest challenge is to find the same birds back next year and to retrieve the loggers. Only than, we will know the migration route of the Arctic Tern between Spitsbergen and the South Pole.

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20120707 11:30: geolocation

7 July 2012

I have prepared the geolocators to study a record long migration from the High Arctic on Spitsbergen to the Antarctic. Our Arctic Terns are making this long journey. A similar study has been performed in Greenland and more details can be found at http://www.arctictern.info

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20120706 11:00: local newspaper

The newest issue of the local newspaper NyScience has been published. This version is a production from the Netherlands Arctic Station. The newspaper is distributed at the reception of Kings Bay. We hope that other stations will make their issues too. Download Nyscience201 (2012) or NyScience101 (2011).


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20120705 13:45: sleeping snowwhite


Is it a stone or is it a rock. Polar bears are not easy to detect. Even when they are sleeping in the open country, they do resemble a rock. Today we discovered a polar bear on Midtholmen. None of the birds were alarming. We had just finished a nest check on Storholmen and joint the Sysselmannen boat who were drifting.


Below a short video so you can judge the distance better.

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20120704 18:30: Hollendarhaugen

In 1958, Lilly Kristensen worked in Ny-Ålesund. In this year, an old graveyard with 74 300-year-old whalers was re-located to allow for expansion of the coal storage. In those days, a Dutch professor, Ir. Velzeboer, was working as advisor for Kings Bay Kull Compagnie. He assisted in the re-location and arranged funding from the Netherlands. Lilly has an old picture of one of the graves, which she took herself. The deceased was wearing a kind of jacket. She also tells about one grave with two persons, one with a broken skull. These were seen as a murderer and his victim burried together. Graves were oriented eats-west.

Nick Cox, Geir Wing Gabrielsen, Suzanne Lubbe and me show great interest in this information. I show the others a site where it seems that an old coffin is coming to the surface. Indeed, the wood has an east-west orientation.

In Svalbardposten, an article appeared about this discovery in Norwegian language. See here.
looking at old documentationa 17th century whaler

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20120630 16:30: drawing break

Hielke starts making a drawing when we wait for Riitta and Manoj to finish their work..

Hielke has his own blog in Dutch at: http://hielkealsemgeest.waarbenjij.nu.

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20120630 16:00: symbiosis in plant roots

  Riitta Nissinen is isolating endophytic bacteria: those who live in symbiosis in the plant roots. Manoj helps here.

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20120629 18:45: bearded seal

  Today, we went to the glacier after checking hatching nests on Storholmen. It is beautifully calm weather and we are not the only one enjoying the sun. We observe several bearded seals. They let us approach so stunning close. And they were still on their ice flow when we left.
Which makes me wonder, how easy catchable they are when a polar bear would come around. Luckily there was none.

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20120629 11:52: my head

A nice picture taken by David Cappellotti. You can imagine the sound of the shreeking terns. They are not only attacking but they also bombard you with their shit.
I walk without fear, but I can tell you I do have a towel in my head as extra buffer.

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20120628 18:15: veterans

Four veterans from the coal mining days are staying in town. They have opened there small exhibit next to the shop. They sell cakes and nitting wear.
From left to right: Jon Skjevdal (engineer), William Albrigtsen (miner), his wife Anny Marie Albrigtsen (lived in Longyearbyen) and the veteran who has been spending many recent summers in Ny-Ålesund: Lilly Kristensen

Item in the weblog from their visit in 2009 here.

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20120628 14:56: station catalogue

EU-program INTERACT has produced a magnificent catalogue about Arctic stations. The Netherlands Arctic Station became observer to this program, just in time to be mentioned too. I am very proud on the beautiful pages. I hope the full catalogue will appear soon on internet too.


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20120628 14:10: extreme cycling

Andreas Thinius is a fanatic cyclist and is traveling the world with his bike. He is collecting experiences for a book by cycling in extreme places. In 2011 he has been cycling on Greenland, this summer he has already been cycling on Jan Mayen and three towns on Spitsbergen: Longyearbyen, Barentsburg and Pyramiden. Ny-Ålesund is the last town (and set of roads) on his wish list. But it is difficult to get permission to come with the airplane to Ny-Ålesund. Most stations don't want to take responsibility for the safety of this person.
I have decided to make this possible. He is arriving with the airplan 11:30. After cycling all available roads and having met arctic terns who have shitted on his jacket, he returns with the afternoon plane at 15:30 as a happy man.

His website: www.cycleguide.de

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20120626 14:55: hitch hikers

  Nathalia Lebedeva explains why she is ruffling geese in a bag with insecticide. She wants to prove that geese transport soil insects to Spitsbergen, attached to their plumage.

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20120626 00:00: 24 hours daylight

  Hallvar Gisnaas has produced several time lapse videos during his stay in Ny-Ålesund. He has been working as research advisor, contact between scientists and the company that runs this village. These are his last days and we all feel a bit strange.

Look at all his videos on youtube .

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20120625 14:15: polar stamp collectors

On arrival in the station, I found a lot of mail with requests to return letters with stamps. I enjoy doing that. So today I went to the reception desk where Ingri helped me completing this task.
See also arctic collector items 4 aug. 2012.

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20120623 12:12: fishing for geese

Project AVIFAUNA studies the presence of insects on Spitsbergen which have arrived here by hitch hiking on migratory birds. I am involved to sample barnacle geese. I catch incubating females from their nest with a long fishing rod and a small lasso at the end. In this movie you see two successful and one unsuccessful attempt.

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20120619 20:00: arctic tern nests

  Two gnomes are seen in the village. The birds dance around their heads. What are they doing? These are my research assistants checking nests of arctic terns. We are comparing the nesting pattern in years with and without arctic foxes. This year the arctic foxes are absent.

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20120617 16:00: sampling amphipods

  Katja Broeg from AWI at Bremerhafen accompagnies us on our walk to Stuphallet. She needs to sample amphipods at a pristine location. In the video she explains her story.

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20120616 19:00: soilsampling

  Nico van den Brink of Wageningen University is taking soil samples from poluted and pristine soils. He is an expert in the translation of polution levels to ecosystem effects. Martine has been taking a lot of pictures while he was sampling. We have instructed him to smile. On this video, you can see that this worked. He explains about his plan.

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20120616 1800: stuphallet

Today we walk to the bird clif Stuphallet, west of town. It is a beautiful but difficult walk with swollen rivers and soft snow. We observe a minky whale, puffinsand a seal. From left to right: Maarten Loonen, Nico van den Brink, Katje Broeg en Martine van den Heuvel-Greve.
  To the left a video with some highlights of our 8-hour-walk. A bird cliff, a minky whale, a harbour seal, a reindeer, meltwater and ice pegs. What a beautiful environment!

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20120615 15:30: vegetation experiment

 

vegetation experiment

15 June 2012

This year, we have a small change in our vegetation experiment compared with last year. We are manipulating small plots by warming them with a little greenhouse (early warm spring) or covering them for one week with snow (cold delayed spring). Later in the season, we want to study the difference in plant biomass and plant quality. And we want to offer manipulated turfs to the geese to see if they can recognize any difference.

The project is also special, because it is a close cooperation with Prof. Qi Zhao from China. I met her in 2009 and last year we started trying to get a collaborative project. We did not succeed last year, but this year, she got a grant. Now we are working hard to combine our knowledge.

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20120615 12:00: minature tourists

miniature tourists

 

15 July 2012

Every day, tourist boats bring people to Ny-Ålesund. In three summer months a total of 30.000 people are visiting this town. From the mountain south of town, they made pictures which are combined into a short video, where you can observe the people moving through the streets.

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20120614 21:00: first team

first team

14 July 2012

Today I arrived at the station and this evening we made a first walk in the environment. Since Monday, Nico van den Brink and Martine van den Heuvel were already here. They are eco-toxicologists from IMARES Wageningen University and have research experience in Antarctica. They have done their first sampling with a boat, but needed to stay inside the village as they are not yet trained in our safety procedures. But now we could make a nice walk to the mining area. A part of Ny-Alesund where the history of coal mining has resulted in a special atmosphere where the disaster of the closure still can be re-lived. On this picture from left to right: Martine, Nico and Maarten. Martine keeps a blog in Dutch on: http://www.imares.wur.nl.

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20120613 19:00: outreach

outreach

 

15 June 2012

I am trying to organize a national expedition to Edgeøya, Svalbard. It is a bold idea, which requires a lot of planning and finances. With this plan, we have entered an outreach game for scientist. The group which makes the best communication plan and presentation will get the first prize with media attention and € 100.000
Today, we heard that we are among the last three finalists. The final will be in October.
In the meanwhile you can see here two videos which have been made to support the plan. They have English subtitles. The project website can be found on http://www.sees.nl. It is in Dutch but there is a direct button to translate the pages.

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20120612 23:30: Alice in Arctic Wonderland

I received a nice email, that someone read about me in a travel book. Suddenly, I remembered Sara Weeler, with whom I spent a day in the field in 2007.
Below you find an excerpt from Sara Wheeler's book: The Magnetic North. Travels in the Arctic.

(page 203).....Installed in my room, I watched a family of Arctic foxes outside the window. A vixen and six kits rolled in a single furry ball. The tall Dutch scientists going in and out of the hut above the foxes stooped to vanish through the tiny door like characters in Alice in Arctic Wonderland, abandoning yellow clogs to the fox kits. Beyond the Dutch hut, the fjord narrowed towards a glacier blockade: Kongsbreen and Kongsvegen, with the distinctive Tre Kroner peaks, named after Norway, Denmark and Sweden, rising behind.  .....

(page 207).....Our neighbour Maarten Loonen was a familiar figure in Ny-Ålesund. One of the tall inhabitants of the Dutch house, and the chief Dutch scientist on station, he was based at the University of Groningen and had been studying the fluctuating populations of barnacle geese in Kongsfjord since 1990. In 1943 fewer than 300 roosted on the archipelago; at the time of my visit, the population had swelled to 25,000. Extreme weather stresses Arctic ecosystems (and they are relatively young: ten or twenty thousand years, following the retreat of the ice sheets, compared with millions in the tropics). An unseasonal snowstorm or big freeze can destroy a whole generation, in turn jeopardizing species higher up the food chain. Maarten's geese showed what a changing climate can do if PCB's don't do it first.
    Like many Dutchmen, Maarten spoke better English than me, and with his spiky hair, round belly and smooth skin, I could imagine him turning into a barnacle goose when my back was turned. He invited me to go out observing with him for an afternoon, and so with rifles loaded, we started off past the Japanese station, past the airstrip, past the rocket launch pad and over a bridge fording a river bloodied with sandstone deposits. There we reached a pond, and Maarten put up his tripod and telescope. At a distance of 200 metres, he read out information from rings he had put on geese feet three years previously. I did not believe it, so I looked through the lens myself. 'If the sun is behind me', Maarten boasted, 'I can read them at 300 metres.' We walked on to Brandal Point. The rain had began to pound down again. All around, goslings had hatched. Only the female incubates: to facilitate heat transmission, she has a pair of breast patches without feathers. For the first three days, goslings live off absorbed yolk. Then they learn to feed. A strong young goose pecks 120 times a minute when it finds food. But the Arctic fox population had kept time with the geese. 'The average barnacle couple', said Maarten, 'produce fifty eggs, out of which 2.2 chicks reach adulthood.' I had watched the dog-fox opposite my window ferrying goslings to his vixen and kits.
    We walked on. 'This grass is too long for them,' Maarten remarked after we had reached stands of wet green at the lakeside. 'In this state, it's like spaghetti for geese, and they cannot eat it.' The sun vanished behind a cloud. When it went, the colours went too. 'I see the grass here with my goose mind,' Maarten concluded before stopping to scrutinize a white blob against a patch of scree on the lower slope of the nearest mountain. But it was a boulder, not a bear. After all his years in the field, Maarten had plenty of experience with a rifle, but, like me, he was uncomfortable with the idea of a gun in his hand. 'It's a cultural thing,' he said. 'In Holland you are perceived virtually as a criminal if you hunt. But here in Norway you're almost a homosexual if you don't.'.....

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20120609 12:00: wedding

9 June 2012

A special moment for Ny-Aalesund. A wedding party. Congratulations.

video by Halvar Gisnas, photo by Linda Bakken


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20120606 05:00: venus transiti 2012

Spitsbergen is one of the best places to observe the Venus transition as the sun is above the horizon for 24 hours a day. Scientist and others have travelled to Longyearbyen to see the transition. It was a bit cloudy, but here you can see their recordings.

6 June 201205:00

esa blog of their expedition


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20120306 13:30: mining history on spitsbergen

Mining history on Spitsbergen

6 March 2012


At the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen, Ph.D. students have studied mining history on Spitsbergen in the IPY-project LASHIPA. They will present their research at a conference in Montreal in April and the conference organisation stimulated them to produce short video's to introduce their presentations. All video's for this conference can be seen here.
To the left the video of Frigga Kruse about Britisch mining history on Spitsbergen.
More stories in the weblog linked to Frigga's study:
click on the picture for more details 20090703   20110724 click on the picture for more details
bore holes marble quarry
re-discovered

This is the video of Hidde de Haas about Dutch coal mining history on Spitsbergen.

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20120124 23:30: northern lights

Northern lights

24 January 2012

All over Norway spectacular Northern lights are visible. On this page some higlights shot by friends.
To the left a time lapse video made by Hallvar Gisnås in Ny-Ålesund. The green line in the movie is the German LIDAR. The yellow house at 1:36 is the Netherlands Arctic Station. Most of the Northern lights are visible in southward direction. Ny-Ålesund is so far north. The particles from the sun enter the atmosphere in a circle around the magnetic north pole. As Ny-Ålesund is normally right under the circle, this night the highest intensities are seen in mainland Norway.
In mainland Norway, the lights were even more spectacular. This picture is made by Bjørn Anders Nymoen in mainland Norway and shows the great dipper through a small hole in the aurora borealis. More about his pictures on http://www.nymoenphotography.com
The video to the left is special, because it is not a time lapse video but a realtime video. This one shows beautifully the movement in the sky. I have seen it once in Tromsø like that. It makes you gaze and shout in admiration.

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20110824 15:00: dagmar leaves by boat

Dagmar leaves by boat

24 August 2011

Today the Norbjørn arrived. This supply-ship comes every month (except for the winter months) to supply Ny-Aalesund with fresh food and goods. For Dagmar, this arrival also means a goodbye; she will sail with the Norbjørn back to Tromsø and from there travel back to The Netherlands. Around three oclock in the afternoon the time has really come: bags are packed and on board, and the ship can leave. Hope to see you again!


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Ida Beate, Andrea, Dag and Jelte wave goodbye


Off we go! (photo below: Christophe Briere de la Hosseraye)

Text and two photo's by Dagmar Egelkraut


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20110822 12:00: last crew

Last crew

22 August 2011

Today, the last visitors of the Netherlands Arctic station arrive. Jelte and Jouke Rozema and Bert Buys will stay for 4 days to take samples and clean up the open top chambers that were placed in spring. Next to that, Jouke will take freshwater and ice samples from different locations.

Text and photo by Dagmar Egelkraut


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20110816 1200: autumn

Autumn

16 August 2011

It is really autumn now in Ny-Alesund. The polar willow turns orange under the low evening sun.
a few days ago we had the first snowfall and also the geese start to fly way. The village itself starts to become more quiet as well; with every flight, more researchers leave and less arrive. The people that will winter here make up for a long period of quiet, white rest. Soon comes the winter!
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Geese start to fly (photo: Andrea Gross)
The first snow resulting in a beautiful view Sverdrup stasjonen with Zeppelinfjellet

Text and three photo's by Dagmar Egelkraut


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20110808 15:00: girl power

Girlpower

8 August 2011 15:00

The last two weeks, three women were in charge of the station. Suzanne, Dagmar en Elspeth have become real birdwatchers.
Today Elspeth and Suzanne fly to Longyearbyen. Dagmar stays behind to finish her experiment.
Photo by Suzanne taken from the departing plane.

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20110804 18:00: parasite of the day

Parasite of the day

4 August 2011 18:00

Earlier this week, I was mentioned in a book chapter. Today Olga Dolnik sends me a message. On August 4 2011, we are parasite of the day. On a thematic website about parasites, they focus on our article in Parasitology. Very nice.

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20110801 00:31: fox visits den

Fox visits den

1 August 2011 00:31

This year, we hardly see the fox. It is Randi, born in the village in 2006 and raising young under our station in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Today, she is visiting her old den.
Randi is most often seen far to the east of the village. A few visits she was only eating tern chicks and did not kill any goslings. To the left you can see her ear tags, left green right yellow.

Pictures: Linda Bakken


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20110725 12:16: sea ice in isfjord

Sea ice in Isfjord

25 July 2011 12:16

Maarten is returning home, Dagmar, Elspeth and Suzanne stay behind in Ny-Ålesund. Just before the plane lands in Longyearbyen, there appears a massive amount of ice in Isfjord, blocking access of boats to Longyearbyen. It is sea ice, originating from Storfjorden and drifting since break-up around the southern tip of Spitsbergen to the north. The ice is more than a meter thick. Top: picture from the plane. Bottom: view from the depparture hall on the airport.

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20110724 20:00: marble quarry re-discovered

Old marble quarry re-discovered

24 July 2011 20:00

On Spitsbergen, history is frozen and discoveries can be made. Today, we re-discovered an old marble quarry at Blomstranden. The story starts at the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, where Ph.D. student Frigga Kruse is studying British prospecting and mining on Spitsbergen as part of the LASHIPA project. In the archives of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, she discovered a report by Herbert W. Leech of the Northern Exploration Company LTD from 1920 entitled: Report on various marble properties in Spitsbergen. In this report there is a map, showing Blomstranden in Kongsfjorden. On this maps there are bore holes, buildings and quarries. Frigga compared all marks with her findings during an earlier field survey and discovered one little Q (for quarry) on an unexpected spot. She asked the crew of the Netherlands Arctic Station for a survey. It took us two visits to find the place. The first visit on 9 July, we missed it by a few hundred meters. After comparing our GPS data with modern maps, we decided on a second try.
The map shown above has several Q's numbered, but on the far left a little Q is without numbering, (see below left).
Frigga is still doing research on details. Her thesis is expected May 2012 with many new details on Mansfield. The quarry must have been made between 1906 and 1919. There is no infrastructure like roads because the quarry is close to sea and the marble could easily be loaded on a boat at a steep cliff. The boats could be moored between two rocky outcrops. On the top of the cliff there are still two steel pins protruding from the marble as a kind of anchor for a crane or something like that.
Close to the quarry there are still traces of human activity. Some wood, parts of iron and in the back the remnants of a heap of coal, which must have been brought from Ny-Ålesund. The coordinates of the quarry are 78.97356 N 11.98779 E. In the middle of the picture on the background you can see a small hut which is part of a communication infrastructure.
Above:The north-east facade of the pit has marks of the drill. Person (1.89 m) added for size (move your pointer over the picture to see more).
Right:A video to show the spatial layout of the site
For more information or reactions contact Frigga Kruse: f.kruse@rug.nl

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20110724 16:00: ossian sars

Ossian Sars

24 July 2011 16:00

Tomorrow, Maarten and Nicole return home to the Netherlands. A last opportunity to show the whole team one of the nicest places in the fjord: Ossian Sars. The crowded birdcliff has also a wonderfull inland with a steep gradient from rich, moist vegetation to poor arctic desert, ending in a spectacular view over the ice cap. Below two videos are shown about our visit. To the left, we have descended from the top to the sea side to a height where we are close and next to the nesting birds. To the right, we are on our way back through a canyon.
Earlier items in our weblog about this site (click on a picture to view the page):
 20100804
mossen
20100804
paddenstoelen
20100729
vogelklif
 20090722
ossian sars
20080731
vogelklif
20060713
vogelklif en afkalvende gletsjers

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20110722 19:00: counting geese in the fjord

Counting geese in the fjord

22 July 2011 19:00

Today, we are counting all geese in the fjord from a small boat, following the coastline and circling all islands. In front of the Blomstrandglacier, Nicole made portraits of all of us. Unfortunately Dagmar had to stay in the village to measure the grasses in her experiment.
We landed to eat our lunch on a spot where we had a good view to detect any polar bears
  During the lunch, we make the video to the left, which can be started by clicking on the picture (after accepting the required plugin).
There was quite some ice in the middle of the fjord. Here a fulmar takes off.
This black guillemot has something to deliver at its nest.

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20110722 11:00: fire drill

Fire drill

22 July 2011 11:00

  This morning, the fire men in Ny-Ålesund have a reality training. The scooter garage was a recent storage for material of AWIPEV. Last month, all material was moved to the new storage building in the harbour and today there is a fire drill. There is a lot of smoke and all actions are evaluated. The fire men rescue two stuffed survival suits. I assume these are stand-ins for victems.

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20110720 16:00: catching geese

Catching geese

20 July 2011 16:00

We have put up the nests between the London houses in such way, that we can catch geese from the front and the back side. We are aiming for small family groups which come into the village. When we catch a few families at one time, processing is fast and the young goslings can be released quickly. From left to right: 1. the adults are left in the catch pen, while 2. the goslings are put together. Nicole makes sure they are well. 3. Maarten is ringing a gosling.
To te left and below: release.

Photos: Nicole Miedema


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20110720 10:00: i am a chapter

I am a chapter

20 July 2011 10:00

In my mailbox (P.O.Box 1, Ny-Ålesund, I am proud on the number, feels like Santa, North Pole) I received today a book. A big surprise. After having talked to a journalist in 2008 and 2009, she has written a chapter with me as an example of present day international research in Ny-Ålesund. The wooden shoes (tresko in Norwegian) must have made some impression. I feel proud and honoured. It is a pity that the book is only avaliable in Norwegian.
Fortellinger om folk på tundraen
by Åse Kristine Tveit
Tapir Akademisk Forlag, Trondheim 2011
ISBN 978-82-519-2731-4
ISBN 978-82-519-2792-5 (epub)
ISBN 978-82-519-2791-8 (pdf)

Adresse Ny-Ålesund

Fortellinger om folk på tundraen
by Åse Kristine Tveit
Tapir Akademisk Forlag, Trondheim 2011

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20110719 14:00: team

Team

19 July 2011 14:00

Time for a team picture. In front of our station, from left to right, Dagmar, Elspeth, Suzanne and Maarten and in the front Nicole.

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20110719 12:08: lecturing about geese

Lecturing about geese

19 July 2011 12:08

A tourist group travelling on the Quest is guided by good old friends, Ditte Hendriksen, with whom I was guiding in the Antarctic and Thor Larssen, the famous Norwegian polar bear researcher. I am entering data so I do have some time to explian my research to the tourists. I enjoy my interested audience.

Photos: Nicole Miedema


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20110719 04:00: bear in the village

Polar bear in the village

19 July 2011 04:00

At breakfast there is a note about a polar bear sighting. During the day we can see the pictures taken by the Chinese team. They were the only one who observed the bear. the rest of the village was sleeping.

It seems that there are two different bears in the fjord. In the evening many people go on trips and hope to meet a bear. We stay in the village. But where will be the next encounter?

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20110718 14:00: swimming reindeer

Swimming reindeer

18 July 2011 14:00

From the top of Storholmen we see three animals swimming in the fjord. These appear to be reindeer. I have seen a reindeer swim in earlier years, but these sightings are rare.

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20110718 13:30: polar bear tracks

Polar bear tracks

18 July 2011 13:30

Suzanne and Maarten visit the island Storholmen to read rings of moulting geese. On the beach we discover tracks of a polar bear.
Last week people talked about polar bear tracks on Storholmen. But these seem relatively recent but not very recent. We walk carefully to the highest point of the island. No birds alarming, no bear on the island. We count 75 geese.

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20110718 08:20: radio interview

Radio interview

18 July 2011 08:52

This morning I had an interview for the Dutch radio 1 about the trend in sea ice. To the left, you can listen to it, bit unfortunately it is in Dutch. I explain the current record low for the present date in the year, the warm day we had on 16 July with max temperature of 10.8 and the averagte temperature increase over the past halfyear being more than 2 degrees Celsius (data from http://www.yr.no). An increase of 2 degrees Celcius is given for Europe as the limit we should allow for antropogenic causes of climate warming. The mechanisms for the downward spiral: 1. white snow surface is reflecting sun rays but turns into black water surface absorbing sun rays, 2. open water allows more water vapour uptake and warm air holds more water vapour, and water vapour is an important green house gass. 3. thickness of the ise is less, the volume of multi year ice being more than 3 m thich is decreasing, which makes surface decline more rapid. What do I experience myself except the warm weather? Hatching date of barnacle geese is since 2007 a week earlier. On a summer of nine weeks, this is a big change.

Click on the picture above to start the recording of the radio interview


Examine the evidence yourself. To the left the ice chart, to the right the graph of ice extent. The year 2007 has been the record low year sofar, though all years since 2007 have been close to the 2007 values of ice extent. Both these graphs are from: NSIDC arctic sea ice news and analysis
The graph to the left and below are taken from yr.no. The past month, average temperature was more than two degrees warmer than normal. Below you can see that we have had already several of such periods this year.
To the left the map of sea ice thickness as measured by CRYOSAT.

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20110717 16:13: count at stuphallet

Count at Stuphallet

17 July 2011 16:13

Today, we walk 6 kilometer to the west to the bird cliff Stuphallet where puffins and fulmars nest. We are counting geese on our way and reading rings. At Stuphallet there is a small cabin where we take our lunch.

Photos: Nicole Miedema


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20110716 00:58: girls party

Girls party

16 July 2011 00:58

There is a special party for all women in Ny-Ålesund. They all go to the Brandalhytta for an evening with music, wine and singing. They have a barbecue and compose a Ny-Ålesund blues.
They make a group picture.
Dagmar, Suzanne and Nicole join the party too.
This picture a polar bear is peeping around the corner.... Luckily it is only a sledge dog. By the way, the roof is a good place to go when a bear shows up.

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20110715 16:00: dagmar measures grass

Dagmar measures grass

15 July 2011 16:00

The experiment below the oil tanks is 4 weeks running. Today Dagmar and Suzanne sit in the middle of the field. They measure grass leaves and count shoots. Time to pay them a visit (see video to the left, text in Dutch).

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20110715 15:00: amundsen villa

Amundsen villa

15 July 2011 15:00

The Amundsen villa is fully restored in its old glory and is now the official meeting place for important visitors to Kings Bay and the village. During restoration some details were renwed, but also some were left in their original state to see the effect of time on the historical features. One of the murals still has holes of the nails, others are a mosaic of new and old wood. The special furniture makes the impression complete. Very special.

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20110714 09:30: next generation veterans

next generation veterans

14 July 2011 09:30

The Veteran club of Ny-Ålesund consists of miners and former emloyees of Kings Bay and their children. Every summer, they run a small shop and sell coffee and waffles. They are very nice friendly people. This year Geir Wing Gabrielsen, Nick Cox and Maarten Loonen got a beautiful self-made woolen hat from Lilly Kristensen. We made this picture to thank her. the veteran shop
To the right a picture from the weblog 2009, with the ladies from the veteran club. The original weblog page can be seen here.

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20110711 21:48: nicole reports on facebook

Student Nicole reports on facebook

11 Juli 2011 21:48

Nicole Miedema reports about her trip on her facebook account. She has written a nice impression, which I copy in my weblog.

Off to Spitsbergen!

door Nicole Miedema, maandag 11 juli 2011 21:48

Sooo, many of you are still wondering about what I am doing up here in the cold: 2 months ago I talked to my uncle, who is a biologist and spent his last 22 summers up in Ny-Alesund on Spitsbergen, about how I needed to find a project to write my bachelor thesis on. It soon turned out there was a need for research on tourism in Ny-Alesund. 1 month later my projectplan was written and approved and now I'm up here! Ny-Alesund is a small village on 79 degrees north, which makes it the northernmost village of the world. The village used to be a mining village, but after it was abandoned scientist found out it would be a great place for research on several subjects such as Arctic flora and fauna, the climatechange and so on.. In the winter this place is covered in snow and darkness for 4 months, when the sun comes back you can spot the polarlights and in the summertime this sun doesn't go down for 4 months. In the summertime there are about 30 people still living here but now that it's light the scientists come out here and there are about 120 people staying in town right now. 11 different countries have an arctic station here. Kingsbay is a Norwegian company that runs the town. There is a schedule for breakfast, lunch and dinnertime; everyone comes together to eat at the Messe. You can even go there for a midnightsnack :) Every year about 30.000 tourists visits this small town. There are even boats that land 3000 tourists at 1 time! The place is packed then and the tourists are like grasshoppers all over the place. Stepping on the tundra, disturbing animals, getting in the way of scientific research instruments. Still everyone would rather have the tourists here then out in the wild because there they will destroy even more, also the tourisit bring money to the place which then can be used for science again. My task is to find a way to minimize the tourist impact.

Rock Werchter weekend was amazing, many great artists and interesting poeple! About 4 hours after I came home I had to leave to Amsterdam to start my trip to the Arctic. My uncle dropped me off way early in the morning and at 11 I was already at my hostel in the heart of Copenhagen city. Met some guys on the flight so met up with them in town and had an awesome sunny summerday. On my b-day I got to wake up at 4.30, yay! Copenhagen-Oslo-Tromso-Longyearbyen; 3 flights later I was on Spitsbergen. Decided that I should do a festival weekend before my flights because I slept through all of them :) Acutally pretty cool to land several times because I got to see some really cool scenery on the way like the huge forests around Oslo and the Fjord at Tromso. Longyearbyen is not really interesting unless you take an excursion from there probably. Had a walk around but spent the evening at the hostel. Had a great time with my roommate, a tour guide from prague - met his rifle before I met him so was hoping i'd get along with him ;) His rifle is actually from WWII and still has nazi-symbols imprinted in it. Anywayss next day I got to get up early again, time for my local flight from Longyearbyen to Ny-Alesund. Had to be at the airport at 10 am, my uncle explained to me how I had to enter a few doors with absolutely no signs on them before I came into the area where I had make notice that I had arrived. What I found was a huge garage with an small airplane in it and a cocky pilot saying my flight was cancelled and then running off. Okay. After I found someone who was kind enough to borrow me her phone I called Kingsbay and they told me they hadn't cancelled anything yet, I should just wait. Back at the weird-boarding-place I just tried some doors and eventually found some people. None of them seemed to be flying anywhere though. The flight ended up getting cancelled due to bad weather conditions. I soon fell asleep on the couch in the waiting area and was still the only one there. Turned out I would have been the only person on that flight anyway. 4 hours later people showed up, they had the afternoon flight which I had also been booked on by now. Two of them were Dutch and heading to Ny-Alesund to visit the Dutch Arctic Station. Our bags were weighed and loaded on to the airplane. We just got to wait right there in the garage were it all happened. No security check, passport or whatever, I guess it wouldn't really be interesting for terrorists up here anyway. Outside the building we got on the plane which fit 12 persons. Too low to stand up straight and just enough room to squeeze yourself in between the chairs on either side of the plane. Sat in front and had a great look into the cockpit all flight long. I thought the flight was gonna be quite a bumpy ride because of the cloudes but it was so steady and chill! I might actually like flying after that trip! :) The weather was really cloudy but every now and then I got to spot some glacier ice beneath us, it's already beautiful! 45 min. later we landed in Ny-Alesund and I soon met my uncle. Got to drop off my bag at the house and meet my roommates; 3 dutch girls that all do research on Barnacle geese. Our house is called London 3; on the island across the fjord there used to be a mining site and after it was abandoned they took these houses from there and placed them here in the town. There are 4 of these 'London' houses standing next to each other and it's the base of Netherlands Arctic Station here in Ny-Alesund. When you come into the front door it's like you go from the freezer to the fridge and when you pass the next door it's warm enough. There are 2 rooms and a kitchen downstrairs (however we don't have running water) and a small ladder leads upstairs to where the bedrooms are. Both just high enough in the middle to stand up straigt. We use the showers in another station and brush my teeth at the museum, haha. It's like camping. The house is so cute!

Spitsbergen trips

13 juli 2011 14:08

After I dropped my backpack at the house it was time for dinner. When I entered the Messe I was really surprised, it's so modern and new, could be anywhere in the world really. Only difference is that we look out on some glaciers, birds, reindeer, big chucks of ice floating by on the river during meals :) Anyway all meals are like a small buffet and the food is goood! Later that night me and the other 2 guests (Ministry of Education) got a tour around the village. Got some insight on various scientific projects done here. Most of the researches now are based on climate change but there's a huge range of variety on subjects: atmospherical, troposphere, ozone, glaciology, permafrost, sea ice, birds, plants, sharks, reindeer, sea weed, plankton, fish, seals, satellite, outerspace, contamination, history, archeology and.....tourism, haha. There are still quite a few buildings that go back to the mining time. For example, the old barn where they used to stock thedry products like flower etc. is now our bar. It's open on wednesdays and saturdays for people living in the village only. Tourists tend to get quite jealous of that at times but then again there are usually no touristboats when the bar is open. The windows are covered so it's a bit dark inside the bar and it's the strangest feeling to come out the bar in the middle of the night, see the bright light and be reminded that the sun doesn't set. Same goes for when I wake up, instead on turning on the light, I just open the curtains and get blinded by the light, haha. Oh yeah, back to the buildings, there used to be a hospital here but it's used as storage now, they found many instruments there after the miners had left, most of them were amputation instruments. The villa that Amundsen stayed in is being renovated and the owner of Kings Bay lives there now. Some long term villagers that live here in wintertime as well have sledge dogs. They are fed once a day with burned seal, which the owners catch and kill themselves. Now that there is no snow the dogs are trained by lining them up in front of a truck and having them pull the truck on to a hill. It's an amazing way of transport. Once a week on tuesday one of the scientists have a lecture on whatever they are doing here or just anything interesting, yesterday a man did a lecture on dog sledging. It was an amazing story about how he traveled the antarctic by dog slegde, facing temperatures of -48 degrees. At these temperatures they could only stop for 5 minutes every hour and the dogs would lie down on their back with their paws in the air because their paws got so cold. The seals that they caught for feeding the dogs were frozen and they had to chop them up with a chain saw. It took the dogs 2 days to chew the big chucks of seal down because it was so frozen. He's a great storyteller and really funny, definitely one of the best lectures I've ever seen. Okay back to the tour through the village, we also entered the building that used to house the coal-stone seperation factory but is now an abandoned ghost house with holes in the floor and covered in darkness because the windows are covered. Later during the walk we got acquainted with the arctic terns (birds) which are quite serious about protecting their nest at this time of the year. If you come too close they start to attack or airbomb you while they make a noise similar to that of a mitrailleur. Some people hold their hand in the air to keep them off, they end up having quite some wounds on their hands. Love those birds already, quite funny to see the tourists struggle with it. You can acutally spot some animals if you just follow the attacking terns; the other nights we spotted a polar fox that way. The fox used to nest under our house for the last 3 years but hadn't returned this year until we spotted it having some fastfood (there are many chicks right now) in town. The next day the first tourists boat arrived early in the morning and I had a go with my survey and observation skills. Straight away found some points that could use some work, so that's good. In the afternoon, Maarten took us (the 2 guests) for a walk through the tundra to the mining site where it kinda looks like a bomb exploded really but it's historical so noone touches it. Can still see the old traintrack going through town. I can't just go on a walk outside town by myself because you are not allowed to go anywhere without a loaded gun to defend yourself from polar bears. Everyone that stays in the village for a longer periode of time gets a shooting course though. I've already gotten used to the fact that many people walk around with a gun (which by the way isn't loaded when they're in the village). On saturday the weather was great! Blue skies and sun, it makes this place even more beautiful. We went on a trip to the island across from the village. First of all we needed to pack food and tea in case the weather would change and noone would be able to pick us up again. Then we got a small lecture on safety, how to use the portofoon, the rifle, the pop gun thingy etc. On the boat we were gonna have to wear drysuits, had alot of fun with those, it kind of looks like a person and you have to carry it by putting it over your shoulders so it would look like we all carried a corpse or something. On the harbour we had to get them on, which was quite a task cause the boots are attached to the suits and when you've managed to get it on and close it you just feel like a huge clumsy robot :) Wojtek took us out there on the sort of speedboat, it was a beautfiful ride and halfway down the river we had to pass through a stream of bigh chunks of ice, which was just awesome! On the island you enter a mining site, you can see the fundament of our houses with only a stove with teapots on it, a bit rusty and covered in bulletholes but other than that completely intact. Machines still standing there as if the miners left in the middle of a working day, it's a pretty strange sight. We started walking towards the west, where we evenentually stumbeled upon really beautifull beachy spots that you could find in the mediterrean, only there you wouldn't have to wear a jacket and carry a gun. Had a sip from the fresh melting water coming from the mountains. Just before the boat arrived we put on our drysuit again to have a swim in them, or a float is probably a better way to put it. In these suits you can float and therefore survive for 24 hours (okay that is if there is no hungry polar bear fishing for floating people). Back on the boat we went around the island and visited some caves, which was really cool. The ride continued in the direction of the Blomstrandbreen (glacier) with on the way beautiful big mountains of bright blue ice in all kinds of shapes drifting by and a curious seal following us. As we went on I started to realize how big this very glacier was, it look quite low and flat from a distance but turned out to be about 40 m. high and really pointy pieces of ice. The cool thing is that is was actually growing so the ice was leaning towards the water instead of backwards as it would do if it was decreasing. Really impressive and one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen! Sunday we all had an off day and went on a hike to the southeast in the direction of Kongsbreen (kingsglacier) that you can see everyday as if it was really close to the village but in reality it's 12 km. from Ny-Alesund. The girls with whom I share the house also came along, so we had a great time. Weather was quite bad, on the way we had to pass several rivers of melting ice which was quite a challenge at times but brought out the child in all of us as we were jumping over the icecold water en were trying to find the best spots to cross it :) Was fun! At some point 2 people didn't manage to cross but luckily Maarten had boots on and eventually maneged to get them across by carrying them, that was really funny! Maarten with a grown man on his back making his was across.. We were so busy crossing the rivers that we didn't notice it had started raining pretty hard and that's how we got to test out equipment and some of us including myself found out their outfit wasn't very arctic-storm-proof. 4 km on the way there was a hut standing in the middle of nowhere. Apparently they have this all over Norway, it's a hut that everyone can use if they pass by and want to take a break or have to hide from the weather etc. It was really cosy and really like a home. Had ourselfs a nice and warm break in there and we fried the gloves on the fireplace we went out into the drizzle again. The walk continued and we had to pass a small ravine and all and a few hours later got the place that we were apparently heading for. There was a cliff in which hundreds of birds were nesting (kittiwakes). Under the cliff it's supergreen because of all the birdshit. We walked up the cliff over all kinds of bird rubbish, I don't even know what it was. Passing eggshells and dead pieces of bird until we were right next to the lowest nests and got to watch the birdlife from up close. All the time birds were flying over, making all sorts of weird noises. I'm not even a birdlover in particular but this was so special! Back down the beach was covered in icechunks which looked really beautiful. We climbed up the hill and started making our way back to town over kilometers of moraines that the glaciers had brought there, creating a hilly, outerspace kindof landscape. Every now and then we had to pass a river, at times via a big piece of snow. In that case on of us had to go and try wether the snow wouldn't break if we walked over because often the river had made it's way under the pile of snow creating sort of a snowbrigde. Unwittingly I thought we should hurry because we wouldn't want to be out here when it got dark but then I remembered it doesn't get dark at all so we didn't have to take that into account at all. On the way back the rain had made the river rise just a bit which made us have to walk past the river quite a bit before we found a way where we could cross and continue our journey. 9 hours later we arrived back in the village after yet an awesome day on Spitsbergen!

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20110709 20:30: nick cox about dogsledging

Nick Cox about dogsledging

9 July 2011 20:30

Every week, there is a seminar about science or polar experiences. This week Nick Cox, stationleader of the British base, will give a lecture on dogsledging. He has wintered several winters in the Antarctic when the Brits were still using sledge dogs. Many years he went straight from the Antarctic to the Arctic and he has trained dog teams in the Arctic too. Not man people have travelled with dogteams at minus 48 degrees Celsius far from the coast.
Nick can tell a great narrative. The room is packed and we enjoy his story.

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20110709 18:00: testing survival suits

Testing survival suits

9 July 2011 18:00

Every boattrip, we have to wear survival suits. The water in the fjord is only 2 degrees Celsius, so you will feel paralyzed soon when dropped in the water. To get customized to the suit, I organise a swim. It is also a good check for leakage.

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20110709 14:57: on her head

On her head

9 July 2011 14:57

Photo: Dick van der Kroef

Arctic skuas are acrobats in the air, which defend their nest fiercely. Luckily Nicole's hat is thick enough.

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20110708 15:00: accident

Accident

8 July 2011 15:00

As station manager, I am responsible for the safety of people who visit the north pole for the first time. Many have no experience with guns and survival. Safety is important for me and I try to keep a good supervision on safety of my pupils.
Today my pride has gone down as I, a Dutch man, had a bicycle accident right in fron of my doorstep. I was carrying a package on my bike, taking a fast turn and lost balance. I was not biking too fast, but the road is full of sharp stones engraving my skin.
What a luck to have Nick Cox He immedeately dropped his business and took care of my wounds, washing them with a TCP solution. And he came to check on me an hour later, making sure that I was well. What a professional!
My glasses miss a leg and there is a wound just 4 mm away from my eye ball but all is well and gets better.

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20110708 13:06: netherlands arctic programme

Netherlands Arctic Programme

8 July 2011 13:06

left: Jos Rokx, right: Dick van de Kroef

The Netherlands Polar Programma is funded by four ministeries and the Netherlands science foundation ALW-NWO manages it. Jos Rokx (Ministery of Education, Culture and Science) en Dick van der Kroef (ALW-NWO) visit Ny-Ålesund to study the possibilities for international science cooperation. They are hosted by the Netherlands Arctic Station and an intensive schedule. The picture on the left shows them while they release the daily weather balloon.

The programme contained the following activities:

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Longyearbyen: Visit to Svalbard Science Forum. Host: Christiaane Hbner

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Longyearbyen: Visit to UNIS and introduction to SIOS. Host: Ragnhild Rnneberg

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Introduction to the Netherlands Arctic Station

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Walk to field site with Open Top Chambers Jelte Rozema Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Visit to NERC/BAS Harland huset (UK). A summer station of the Britisch Antarctic Survey and the National Environmental Council. Host: station leader Nick Cox

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Visit to AWIPEV facilities (joint base Germany and France), starting with a launch of a balloon with ozone sonde and a tour through the atmospheric research laboratory. Host: engineer Andrea Gross and station leader Rudolf Denkmann.

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Visit Kings Bay (Norway), the company owns and runs Ny-Alesund with the purpose to accommodate science, Host: director Ole Øiseth

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Visit to the Norwegian Polar Institute (Norway) the biggest station, many cooperative projects also providing technical and logistic support to many. Host: station leader Max Knig.

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Visit Kongsfjorden Marine Laboratory a general facility for research projects, accommodation and facilities for rent. Host: Elisabeth Råstad

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Boattrip to Ny-London and Blomstranden, archeological fieldwork, boattour around Blomstranden with Maarten Loonen, boat driven by Wojtek Moskal (NPI)

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Walk over tundra to Krikjefjellet via Corbell Station and Gåsebu with Maarten Loonen

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Visit to the newly restored Amundsen Villa with murals

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Visit to diving facilities Marine Laboratory. Host: Max Schwanitz (AWIPEV)

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Conversation with the science advisor of Kings Bay Hallvar Gisnås

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Longyearbyen: Visit to Svalbard Museum


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20110707 11:05: washing windows

Washing windows

7 juli 2011 11:05

Photo: Suzanne Lubbe

The windows were covered with dust, so I decided it was time for cleaning. The integrity of the windows is weak. The building is a cultural heritage and officially protected. I am not allowed to improve anything and as a matter of fact also Kings Bay is restricted in their opportunities. So I am very careful and mainly apply some light soap and pour some water over the windows. Even in this way, some of the water appears on the inside of the window.

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20110707 09:55: tourists

Tourists

6 July 2011 09:55

Visits of tourists make it quite complicated to walk the streets. We start a project on how the tourists have used all information in town. Nicole Miedema will take questionnaires.

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20110706 17:00: impressions from storholmen

Impressions from Storholmen

6 Juli 2011 17:00

In the middle of Kings Bay, there are several breeding areas which are special nature reserves for geese and ducks. I am extremely lucky that I am allowed to visit these islands to check nests of barnacle geese. Today all nests have hatched and I have some time to make two short impressions on video.
The hut on the island Storholmen was falling apart. It is a cultural heritage and this year they have started to renovate the hut. It is used for teaching young carpenters to renovate cultural heritage. They had to stop because of the breeding season and this is a good moment for an update. After four hours wandering over the island, I am waiting for the boat to bring me home. On the beach I made this video.

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20110706 15:00: bird attack

Bird attack

6 July 2011 15:00

The great skua and the glaucous gull are big birds of nearly 2 kilogram. When approaching their nest,they know how to generate fear. Below you have two short video's. I did not dare to stay close any longer.
The great skua can kill full adult eider ducks and geese by drowning. The skua has no claws, just webbed feet, but when hunting as a pair, together they are very well able of keeping an adult moulting bird below surface.
In this video, I am to close to their nest, while checking goose nests. With impressive flights they come very close and make me scared. You can hear the wind in their wings when they change direction just before impact.
The glaucous gull is a tall bird similar but bigger than a herring gull. They make more noice during their attack. I am less scared though once I have been hit by these birds.

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20110706 09:45: balloon launch

Ballon launch

6 July 2011 09:45

Italian scientists have a large balloon on a cable which lifts their instruments 1 to 2 kilometers in the air. In this video they explain their project. Click on the picture above.

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20110702 18:00: sweet lips

Sweet lips

2 July 2011 18:00

While waiting for a goose to return to the nest, a reindeer comes close. The grazing can be observed from close. Look at this video and see the lips move.

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20110702 12:30: minky whale

Minky whale

2 July 2011 12:30

On our way to the island Storholmen, this creature crosses literally our path. A minky whale dives up in front of our boat. It is a day without wind and we keep floating for almost an hour with the whale closeby. To the left you can see a video and hear the whale breathing.

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20110702 10:00: walk to breakfast

Walk to breakfast

2 July 2011 10:00

I am also blogging on a Dutch website dedicated to the international polar year. Today, I thought to make a video about my morning walk to breakfast and post it on this site www.pooljaar.nl. Unfortunately this time the video is completely Dutch spoken.

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20110701 07:00: ring sighting

Ring sighting

1 July 2011 07:00

I received today an email from Sebastien Descamps. On 29 June 2011, his field assistant had observed a ringed barnacle goose in the guillemot colony near Diabas in Isfjord. A nice observation. Can you read the ring?

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20110630 11:00: hitch-hiking insects

Hitch-hiking insects

30 June 2011 11:00

Natalia Lebedeva and Hanne Pilskog are studying the possibility that geese are a vector for small non-parasitic insects. Every goose caught is brushed and examined carefully, The weather is not always helpful and we have forgotten our tent pegs. After a full day in the field, it is good to be back in town and have a warm shower.
To the left Hanne and Natalia explain their project.

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20110629 15:00: local newspaper

Local newspaper

29 June 2011 15:00

Today, we have launched a new newspaper about the science in this artic community. Hopefully many will follow. Download as pdf.

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20110628 18:00: migration logged

Migration logged

26 June 2011 18:00

Photo Øystein Varpe

Today, I am mapping nests of Barnacle Geese on Storholmen and I am looking for birds with GLS-loggers. Øystein Varpe had spotted a pair with these on Juttaholmen 22 June 2011 and sent me this picture. A GLS-logger registers every 10 minutes light intensity for several years. If I retrieve the logger, I can download the information and determine on every date daylength and start of the day. The daylength tells me the northern latitude (as long as the bird is not above the arctic circle) and the start of day shows the longitude (time of sunrise). The location is accurate on 200 km, but with these birds which migrate 3000 km, this is accurate enough. The good thing is that they are light weight and cheap compared to other techniques.

The loggers are attached to white leg rings with red inscription which are placed over the metal ring. So the logger is an extra ring, which I can easily remove and replace. The other plastic ring with inscription is a kind of name tag. Colour and inscription together are uniuqe for every individual an can be read with a telescope from 200 m distance.

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20110625 21:00: midsummerdayparty

Midsummerdayparty

25 June 2011 21:00

Today, we celebrate the longest day of the year, traditionally on the Saturday closest to 21 June. In Ny-Ålesund it is tradition to make a bonfire and to dress according a theme. It is a colourful party, with barbecue and free drinks.



Lovely dressed up people.....
The beer is cooled in a boat full with snow (which is still easy to collect closeby).
Note the brand! Never seen before but made in Holland.


My Dutch girls win the first price with building a sand castle.

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20110624 16:00: studentproject

studentproject

24 June 2011 16:00

Dagmar Egelkraut doet een master onderzoek aan de gevolgen van opwarming voor de timing van het broedseizoen van de brandganzen. Ze heeft 72 stukken gaas geplaatst op de toendra, waarvan de helft is omwikkeld met folie. De folie maakt het tot een broeikasje. Ze gaat het gras volgen in deze plotjes. In de helft van de plotjes wordt geknipt, in de andere helft wordt ongeknipt gras gevolg. We kijken naar de voedselkwaliteit en verwachten dat in een warmere omgeving de kwaliteit van het gras lager wordt waardoor de ganzen er minder trek in hebben, ondanks de wat hogere biomassa. Uiteindelijk gaan we ook gaasjes weghalen zodat de ganzen kunnen laten zien voor welke plotjes ze de voorkeur hebben.

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20110624 10:30: warming and plant growth

Global warming and plant growth

24 June 2011 10:30

control Suzanne Lubbe assembling an OTC warmed

Today we placed 9 OTC's for Jelte Rozema. In the beginning of June, he was in the station but could not finish his work due to late snowmelt.

Cassiope tetragona (Arctic bell-heather) has more flowers in the warmed treatment. Compare the pictures from control plots (left column) and warmed plots (right column). The warmed plots have an OTC, a open top chamber, which raises the temperature on average 2 degrees Celsius. The first 8 rows are plots where the OTC was placed on 5 June. The last 9 rows are plots which were still snow covered in the beginning of June. These OTC's were placed on the day of the pictures. There should not be any difference between the two colums for these plots. In general the last 9 rows were appearing under the snow later, so flowering is not as much as in the first 7 control rows.
The green disk in some pictures is covering a temperature logger to monitor the experimental warming.
control warmed
7
OTC placed
5 Cass 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
8
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
9
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
10
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
11
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
12
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
17
OTC placed
5 June 2011
early snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
control warmed number
1
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
2
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
3
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
4
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
5
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
6
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
13
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
14
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011
16
OTC placed
24 June 2011
late snowmelt
photo taken
24 June 2011

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20110623 14:00: no foxes denning

No foxes denning

23 June 2011 14:00

The sign suggests otherwise, but for the first year since 2000, there are no foxes denning under the station. It smells a bit like fox, but the smell is orginating from caches thawing and not being eaten.
We always loved to see the puppies play, but the effect on the birds in town was enormous and the barnacle goose population has been in a steady decline. The vegetation has recovered from overgrazing. We are expecting a year full with goslings.

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20110623 12:00: arrival

Arrival

23 June 2011 12:00

We arrived in Ny-Ålesund. From left to right Dagmar Egelkraut, Maarten Loonen and Suzanne Lubbe. It is a warm welcome meeting many good friends on a perfect warm day. Scarry warm weather if you think about climate change.

In the picture on the right I am running to the girls but too late for the time lapse on my camera.

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20110623 11:00: LYR-NÅ