Science Blog: Zoé Forgereau: Day 1-3
I am Zoé Forgereau, a Master student from UiT, going to Svalbard for a fieldwork with the members of the PHOTA project, which include two researchers: Karley Campbell, Benjamin Lange and two other master students: Janina Osanen and Laura Martín. I will make you discover what it is like to go into the field as a student researcher through my own experience in the Svalbard Archipelago!

Day 1: 26.03: Arrival in Svalbard

At 10h46, the members of the PHOTA project started flying from Tromsø to head towards Svalbard! After an hour and fourty minutes by plane, we arrived in Longyearbyen which is the largest settlement of Svalbard. The weather was amazing, I had never seen such picturesque landscapes!

From the airport, we took a taxi. The driver made us discover the area. He showed us a typical coal mine and even mentioned the existence of the entrance of the Global seed vault! I did not even know that thousands of seeds of plant species were stored in Svalbard!


Me on the plane, excited to go to the high Arctic.

Laura Martín, sleeping on the plane. As you can see we had to wear the mask on the plane. We also needed a certification proving we tested negative to COVID-19 to be allowed to fly.

Glimpse of Svalbard from the airplane window!

View from the Longyearbyen´s airport.

I have even met a polar bear for the first time! Welcome to Svalbard !

Longyearbyen, 78°, 15 N. 957 km away from Tromsø! Beware the polar bears!

Arrival of the members of the PHOTA project at their fieldwork accommodation. Here, the three Master students going soon into the field! I can introduce you to Janina Osanen who is on the left, Laura Martín on the right and me, Zoé Forgereau in the middle! We are very excited to start our excursion in the high Arctic!

The five members of the PHOTA project have their own fieldwork accommodation! It is very comfortable!

After discovering our fieldwork accommodation, we went to the University of Svalbard (UNIS) and to the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) to start preparing the fieldwork. We had a discussion with our guide and tried on snowmobile clothing for example.

The members of the PHOTA project going food shopping after a day of travelling and organizing fieldwork. Researchers also need to eat!

Day 2: 27.03: A stormy day

On the second day, we experienced our first storm. We walked through the blowing wind to the warehouse where our equipment was stored. It was really freezing! I had never experienced such a storm in Tromsø. Then, we stayed home for the rest of the day and watch the storm from inside. Hopefully, we will not experience these conditions in the field but we could.

Watch a clip of the storm (YouTube).

Day 3: 28.03: A sunny Sunday

Our third day in Svalbard was much sunnier. We went for a walk with my fellow Master students and enjoyed the breathtaking view! We also went shopping again as we are soon going into the field.


Panorama of the breathtaking view of Adventfjorden in Longyearbyen!

Other splendid pictures of Adventfjorden and the surrounding mountains!

Laura Martín and me going for a walk!

Going shopping again! Researchers really eat a lot! We need some energy to prepare our trip!