Fieldwork in Billefjorden

Written by Tobias Vonnahme

ARCTOS PhD students Ulrike Dietrich and Tobias Vonnahme just finished a week of fieldwork in Billefjorden in Svalbard. Together with Eva Hejdukova from the Prague University, Josef Elster and Jiri Stojdl from the Centre for Polar Ecology (Czech republic), they investigated the influence of a shallow tidewater outlet glacier on the phytoplankton and bacteria activity and community structure. During a similar study last year, they already observed different inputs of nutrients, potentially derived from subglacial meltwater outflow and winter upwelling and different algae communities in front of the glacier compared to stations further out.

This year the study was repeated and extended with a focus on primary production, mixotrophy, cell respiration and integrity for estimating the effects of glacial vs upwelling derived nutrients on biogeochemical cycles in the fjord.  Supplementary samples were taken during the UNIS course in van Mijenfjorden at the same time. The sampling was a full success and showed already different phytoplankton communities in front of the glacier and at the ice edge. Unstable weather made travelling to the sampling sites via the inland ice challenging and limited to windows of good weather, which did not allow us to get the final CTDs and water samples at the last day. However, a few days later a day trip to Billefjorden and back in a day with good weather conditions allowed Tobias Vonnahme and UNIS PhD student Kjersti Kalhagen to collect the last crucial samples. Now the samples are analyzed at UiT, IMR, UNIS, and the Czech republic to understand the system in detail. The samplign will be repeated in october 2019. A potential conference based on the Czech-Norwegian collaborations is planned in Ceske Budejovice for next year. Their work is part of the Arctic SIZE project and the field component financed by the AFG (RiS 10889).