Catchments Galore!

Catchments Galore!

By Adrianna Gorsky

I am officially more than halfway done with my LOREX exchange in Abisko, Sweden. It has exceeded my expectations all around. I am still in awe of the beauty of this arctic environment and have tried to experience as much of the landscape as possible.

Immediately after arriving I got to work on preparing sensors and buoys for deployment. With help from the other members of the Karlsson lab group and especially Kalle, a research engineer, we were ready to deploy by Monday. Then thanks to the midnight sun, we took advantage of the daylight and stayed out until 11:00pm when all three lakes had been sampled and set up (Image 1). Each of the lakes were outfitted with a deep, medium, and shallow buoy, which will record high frequency dissolved oxygen and water temperature until late September.

Image 1: Buoy deployed in a shallower depth of the basin to better understand the spatial variability of metabolism in small northern high latitude lakes.

As a true exchange, Fredrik, the PhD student in the lab, and his team will continue to spatially sample these three lakes during the last two sampling events and will retrieve the sensors at the very end. I was then able to join Fredrik in the field and help with stream and lake sampling in his many catchments. He is studying the climate impacts on carbon fluxes of whole networks (stream/river/pond/lake) or catchments (Image 2). A catchment is the land area from which a system drains its water. This region is critically important for understanding carbon cycling as it has both a high density of inland waters and ongoing and predicted strong climate change.

Image 2: Fredrik measuring dissolved carbon dioxide in the surface waters of a pond located within a catchment of interest.

Living in a field station has had its challenges but also infinite opportunities to explore the many surrounding hiking trails, join others in adventures, and participate in cultural activities. Some highlights include celebrating Midsommar (Image 3), watching the midnight sun from the summit of Mount Nuolja (Image 4) and hiking 14 km round trip to a mountain lodge for homemade waffles and cloudberry jam (Image 5). 

Image 3: Midsommar celebration with a slice of strawberry cake.

Image 4: Hiking to the summit of Mount Nuolja to watch one of the last midnight suns of the summer.

Time is a strange thing here in the summer. With infinite daylight, I’ve been able to experience so much of the landscape, and yet time has also still flown by. I feel so much more connected to nature than when I arrived and hope I can continue to appreciate my surroundings when I travel back to the more urban landscape of Madison, Wisconsin.

Image 5: A delicious homemade waffle with cloudberry jam paired with lingonberry juice at Låktatjåkko, the highest mountain station in Sweden (1,228 m above sea level).


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