Carbon and water exchange at the water-atmosphere interface in Siberia

Research in the taiga and tundra ecosystems in eastern Siberia is performed in cooperative projects of the Institute for Biological Problems Cryolithozone (IBPC) of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Yakutsk and the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam (Department of Hydrology and Geo-Environmental Sciences).

In a larch/birch forest near Yakutsk (Spasskaya Pad Field Station) and on a tundra site near Chokhurdakh in the Indigirka lowlands (Kytalyk reserve) flux measurements have been made with eddy correlation towers. The aim is to estimate the annual exchange rates and their interannual variability, and to determine the sensitivity to environmental factors of the fluxes.

The 2006-2009 campaigns have been funded by NWO (Dutch Organization of Scientific Research), VU and RFBR (Russian Foundation for Basic Research). Participating Dutch institutes are VU Amsterdam, Utrecht University (Paleoecology) and Wageningen University (Vegetation Ecology). This resulted in joint fieldwork at the tundra site in the summers of 2007-2009, including a methane flux measurement campaign on tundra and floodplain environments and thermokarst lakes, vegetation ecological experiments and sampling of lake bottom sediments for paleo-ecological research. Also a site was established for longer term monitoring of active layer thickness. In the summer of 2008, for the first time eddy covariance measurements using a cavity ringdown laser system were successfully set up and operated at the tundra site; its operation continued in the summer of 2009. Contact scientist: K. van Huissteden (ko.van.huissteden@falw.vu.nl).

The Willem Barentsz Polar legacy

When Willem Barentsz discovered Spitsbergen in 1596 he could never have imagined that more than 400 years later dozens of Dutch scientists go over there for all kinds of research and there would even be a Dutch Arctic Station.  Nowadays Dutch researchers explore a variety of research topics from polar Archaeology till polar Zooplankton. A lot of these polar researchers are now working together in the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute (WBPI), an institute for Arctic and Antarctic research, although Willem Barentsz never went to the Antarctic.

The WBPI wants to be a clear Dutch identity in the international field, enhance the co-operation between Dutch polar researchers and contribute to polar education and outreach activities. The WBPI wants to give a positive boost to new initiatives from the Netherlands in the polar areas. It hopes to create an organisation that is a clear contact point of Dutch research in polar areas for the international field.

The first WBPI symposium was held in Groningen, 22th October 2009, followed by a day from the Netherlands Polar Network for early career scientist (NLPN) that is supported by the WBPI. The WBPI encourages students to do international polar courses and is willing to help (international) students to find suitable courses and master projects in the Netherlands.
More information can be found on the website: www.wbpolar.nl.

Jef Vandenberghe (jef.vandenberghe@falw.vu.nl).