2MB Field Notes From Svalbard| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 05:30 GMT

2MB Field Notes From Svalbard


(MENAFN- Swissinfo)

The Arctic is warming three to four timesExternal link faster than the global average. Summer temperatures above 20°C are no longer exceptional there. This has severe consequences for ecosystems that are home to highly specialised animals and plants. On Svalbard, there are polar bears, foxes, reindeer, breeding birds, as well as hundreds of types of mosses and lichens.


Left to right: Lena Bakker, Sigrid Trier Kjaer and Jana Rüthers

Rising temperatures are transforming that ecosystem. Some regions on Svalbard already experience a lusher vegetation due to an increase in native plant biomass or the invasion of tundra ecosystems by non-native plants from the mid latitudes. This process is called 'Arctic greening”.

On Svalbard and other parts of the High Arctic, non-native plant species have already spread, especially in nutrient-enriched soils near human settlements. Over time, there could be dramatic shifts in the composition of Arctic plant and microbial communities, with non-native species outcompeting the local tundra species.

This summer, three PhD students from ETH ZurichExternal link travelled to Svalbard to investigate the ecological processes behind Arctic greening and what it means for nutrient cycles, plants and microbes. Lena Bakker, Sigrid Trier Kjaer and Jana Rüthers want to better understand how the already fragile Arctic ecosystems might change in the future.

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Polar blog: Post 1

This content was published on Aug 5, 2022 Aug 5, 2022 It's the start of a journey across Svalbard. Read about our bloggers preparing for Arctic conditions.

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