What an epic week was this! The mountain part of The 3D Lab wanted to get to northern Sweden for an important summer of fieldwork, but the world was against it…

The team on its first mountain hike. An amazing group of young scientists which I’m honoured to show the beauty of northern Sweden

A massive strike at Scandinavian Airlines (they seem to be in big, big trouble, but that’s a whole other story) resulted in the consistent cancellation of ALL flights to Kiruna, for now already over two weeks in a row. So we had to come up with creative ways to get the 7 team members up there. After a week of delay, a two-day drive from Stockholm all the way up to the north of Sweden, and a well-timed pick up of a few team members at the nearest airport, we ended up making it. The live updates from that epic trip can be found on my Twitter feed!

Overnight stay halfway Sweden, in Umeå, enjoying the midnight twilight

But a bit of travel chaos was not going to stop us, as we were on an important mission: the tenth anniversary survey of my own master thesis project: the long-term monitoring of plant species distributions along Norwegian mountain roads!

Monitoring plant communities along Norwegian mountain roads

Every five years, the vegetation along these mountain roads gets resurveyed, to keep a close eye on how human disturbances and climate change together reshuffle plant species distributions. The master students will all look at a different aspect of that story, ranging from the potential upward expansion of non-native species, over the impact of microclimate to the interaction of plants with the local bumblebees.

Vegetation monitoring with a view

Now, I went for delegating: I left them – with a bit of heartache – to their work and travelled back home. But I trust they will do a great job up there, under the experienced leadership of long-time lab member Jan (it’s the 5th year anniversary of HIS thesis on the transect).

Already a trip of epic proportions, and likely one the team members won’t ever forget. Don’t we just look like the fellowship of the ring?

And obviously I’ll keep fulfilling my favourite role as ‘human plant ID-app’, identifying species over WhatsApp whenever they’re in doubt.

Two of our trusty research tools together: a microclimate sensor (mushroom on the right) and a pin-point frame for vegetation monitoring

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1 Response to Epic

  1. Pingback: News from the field | The 3D lab

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