Scaling the elevation gradient of mount Nuolja, Abisko, northern Sweden

I might not have been able to enjoy the breathtaking wildness of Mount Nuolja myself this summer, yet I am getting the next best thing: its soil.

Set-up for pH analyses on mountain soils

We received a precious package in the mail last month, with more than 30 kg of soil. Soil dug out from the mountains of northern Scandinavia, to help us open that black box: what’s happening belowground that defines where our mountain plants are growing?

With this particular 30 kg of soil, we have some important plans, together with our colleagues at the Climate Impact Research Center of the Abisko Research Station: we want to use it to get a better understanding of the rapidly changing tundra and its plant communities.

Weighing in soil samples for nitrogen analysis

The big question: how much is the local plant community defined by the climate – and thus prone to more rapid changes now climate is warming – and how much by the growing conditions in the soil?

The latter part requires a lot of digging, but our team is on it to uncover the truth hiding under the soil surface!

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