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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Shrub Growth and Permafrost Insulation in a Warmer, Rainier Arctic - RiS ID 11968, 12016 & 12331

Tildelt: kr 62 999

Air temperatures are increasing, and more precipitation is falling as rain rather than snow on Svalbard. We still know little about the role of rainfall events in the thermal stability of permafrost and growth of Svalbard plant communities. Plant growth and permafrost thaw also affect each other, for instance through insulation of the ground by vegetation. I will lead / co-lead two projects addressing these knowledge gaps; the T-REX project which mimics heavy rainfall events in various locations through irrigation, and INSULATE, for which we will set up permafrost and vegetation monitoring facilities at boreholes across Svalbard. At these sites, we will gather a large amount of monitoring data (permafrost thaw depths, abiotic soil conditions, soil organic soil properties, plant traits, plant community composition). This way, we aim to disentangle (1) how rainfall affects permafrost thaw, (2) how rainfall affects plant growth and (3) how plant communities and their "afterlife" (organic soils) affect permafrost thaw. In the projects, I will work with UNIS researchers and a team of PhD's and MSc students. I will help UNIS Arctic Biology in supervising students and setting up fieldwork, and replicate as much of the work as possible in parallel set ups during my stay at the Netherlands Arctic Station, Ny-Alesund.


SSF-Svalbard Science Forum