This week we had company at the station, a large group of hydrologist’s students from Moscow University. We give some in situ lectures about our project and about the significance of the hyporheic biota studies in Arctic environment.
The ultimate goal was the last survey of the hyporheic zone that offer us astonishments, one site is dry, the most instable one closer to the Storgläciaren.
Good moment for Javier to take the sediments samples. Peter Jansson from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm University explains us the environmental monitoring program of the world´s longest record of mass balance measurements of Storglaciären and its behavior in the last years. In 1920 the glacier was reaching the valley bottom and our site was completely covered by ice at the time.
When glaciers start to retreat the hyporheic organisms start to colonize the new vacant niches. The majorities are adapted to cold temperature, to the instability of the habitats and have short life cycle in order to cope with the harsh climatic environments offered by glacier-feed rivers. We would want to know if the time is sufficiently enough as the hyporheic zone of rivers in the Tarfala valley to be colonized by organisms and to perceive their strategies adopted for dispersion. This information’s would help us understand and predicts their distribution and the effect of warming on typical hyporheic species in Arctic ecosystems. So we decide to goes more down in the glacier foreland, where the Nordjåkk and Tarfalajåkken Rivers meet and survey the small creeks. It was easily observed the differences in vegetation in the surroundings with abundant moss, alpine plants and accumulations of detritus material deposited in the tinny ponds. We expect here a different community with more diversity than in the glacier proximity allowing determining the spatial extent of biota distribution in the glaciers foreland.
Our work in the Tarfala Valley in Swedish Lapland is closer to the end. Mission was accomplished with the inherent fieldwork complications, but pleased that our time spend there was a great opportunity to work in an environment that is still untouched by human expansion. Thanks to all who makes our expedition to the Arctic a unforgettable experience.