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Visiting Svalbard researchers in field

Two months in a tent, being attacked by birds and doing hours of polar bear-watching. This is the normal life of polar researchers in field during the summertime in Svalbard.

This summer the Governor of Svalbard and Svalbard Science Forum visited researchers in the field this summer to learn more about fieldwork life, the research being done in Svalbard and the challenges the researches meet in field. Exchange of information was a key part of the visits.

"It's important for us to meet the researchers in the field to learn and discuss. It's an invaluable experience which is completely different from reading reports and hearing about science activities at conferences and workshops. The people we met were really dedicated and informed us enthusiastically about their research and observations" says Kirsten Broch Mathisen of the Svalbard Science Forum.

"For the Governor of Svalbard it is important to follow up the permissions that we have given," says Paul Lutnæs, Senior Adviser for Nature Management at the Governor's office.
"We observe how the fieldwork is being done, checking that the terms in the Governor’s decisions are being followed, and we get to know the researchers and their scientific work better."

From Ny-Ålesund to Hornesund
The trip started in Ny-Ålesund visiting the English NERC station, the Indian NCAOR station, the Netherlands UiG station and the Kings Bay Marine Lab.

In front of the Indian NCAOR station in Ny-Ålesund. (Photo: Mette Mila)

Researchers at the Kings Bay Marine Laboratory in Ny-Ålesund. (Photo: Mette Mila)

We spent one day in Kongsfjorden visiting fox researchers, field workers from the Norwegian Polar Institute in the bird cliff at Ossian Sars nature reserve (read about the project in RiS, RiS ID 361 SEAPOP), and eider and goose researchers at Storøya (read about the project in RiS, RiS ID 10655 EIDERMIGRATOX).

The bird cliff at the Ossaian Sars nature reserve. (Photo: Mette Mila)

Sveinn Are Hanssen from NINA measuring eider at Storøya. (Photo: Mette Mila)

Ducth geese researchers from the University of Groningen at Storøya. (Photo: Mette Mila) Read more about the project here in RiS, RiS ID-10668.

At Vinkelvatnet researchers are doing research on geese and polar bear predation. The interaction between the speicies started about 15 years ago when the polar bears came to raid the goose nesting colony they studied.
Read more about the project in RiS, RiS-ID 3533. Jouke Prop from the University of Groningen gave us a lecture about their research. (Photo: Mette Mila)
At the Norwegian Polar Institutes cabin Slettebu in the Van Keulen fjord we meet seabird reseachers. The researchers are doing research in the bird cliff at Mitherhuken.
Read more about the project in RiS, RiS ID 361.

Sebastien Descampes from NP at the Slettebu cabin. (Photo: Mette Mila)
At Holmodden, in Recherchefjorden, Polish and American geolologists from the University of Science and Technology (AGH) stay in a camp during their fieldwork. Read more about the project in RiS, RiS ID 10512.
Maciej Manecki from the University of Science and Technology (AGH) with his team. (Photo: Kirsten Broch Mathisen)
Polish researchers at the Baranowka cabin. RiS ID 10615 (Photo: Mette Mila)

Permafrost researchers doing field work close to the Baranowka cabin. RiS ID 10615 (Photo: Mette Mila)

Read more about the project here. RiS ID-10615.

Bird researchers staying at The Hornsund station during a lecture. (Photo: Mette Mila)

The benefits of the RiS database
"Many researchers use the Research in Svalbard (RiS), mostly to register their projects in order to get the relevant permits and achieve the right services, but still most of them know too little about the wealth of valuable information relevant for their own research in RiS," says Broch Mathisen. "We're trying to make the scientists more aware of the advantages ofusing RiS as a source for information. RiS is a Treasure Chest!" 

The RiS database is where you apply to the Governor for research permission and report on your research, but it is also an arena for promoting your research and for finding information about other research projects in the same area, in the same field or in the same field period.

"The applications for field work may be made directly through the RiS database, but all researchers are still very welcome to stop by the Governor's office in Longyearbyen to meet us in person," says Lutnæs.

The same goes for the Svalbard Science Forum secretariat. They are located on the 2nd floor of the Svalbard Research Park, co-located with the University of Svalbard (UNIS), and the pople there will be more than happy to have a chat and a coffee with all researchers stopping by in Longyearbyen.

The Svalbard Science Conference in November
All polar researchers, coordinators and others interested in Svalbard science are invited to take part in the Svalbard Science Conference in Oslo this November.
"We hope to meet a lot of Norwegian and international researchers there, discuss the challenges and possibilities of future research in and about Svalbard, and to learn about the research that is presently being carried out by all parties – our aim being to coordinate the research activities even better and to cooperate even more closely in the future,” says Broch Mathisen.

Learn more about the conference here.

Read more
The Govenor of Svalbard
See more pictures from the field visits at SSFs Facebook profile.

Written by:
Mette Mila Seniorrådgiver +47 22 03 72 75
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