Science Blog: Zoé Forgereau: Day 8-17
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 8: 02.04: Bad weather forecast...

The members of the PHOTA project were planning to go to the field but the weather forecast indicated a high risk of avalanches. Everyone was really disappointed and frustrated.

In the evening, we made dinner together to get rid of our frustration. The meal was delicious and we enjoyed our time.


Bad weather forecast. No fieldwork for today.

But we made a new encounter and had fun!

The members of the PHOTA project having dinner!

The members of the PHOTA project having dinner!

Day 9 and 10: 03.04 and 04.04: Avalanche risk remains high. Still no fieldwork.

The avalanche risk remained high so the members of the PHOTA project were unable to go to the field. Instead, the team had brunch and enjoyed pancakes, scrambled eggs and fruits.


The members of the PHOTA project having Brunch.

Day 11: 05.04: Bad weather. No fieldwork.

Day 12: 06.04: Fieldwork day!

The members of the PHOTA project were finally able to go to the field but not to the initially planned fjord. Instead, the team went to a fjord called Tempelfjorden. The itinerary from Longyearbyen to Tempelfjorden is indicated on the map below. Ice cores were collected at two sites, one close to the glacier (site 1) and the other, further away from the glacier (site 2).


The itinerary to the sampling fjord.

The members of the PHOTA project going for the fieldwork.

Collecting interface water and taking ice cores at a site of Tempelfjorden.

Picturesque landscapes.

Sunset after a day in the field.

Sunset after a day in the field.

Day 13: 07.04: Lab day

The members of the PHOTA project melted ice cores with filtered seawater in cooler jugs. Then, the team filtered these samples to estimate chlorophyll a (pigment contained by sea ice algae) as well as dissolved organic carbon (DOC), particulate organic carbon (POC), and nutrients.

Later in the day, I incubated samples (melted ice cores with filtered seawater containing sea ice algae) into corning bottles and I spiked them with a radioisotope called C14. The incubation lasted for three hours. Then, I filtered the samples and placed the filters into scintillation vials. Karley Campbell was also there to supervise my work throughout the experiment!


Filtration device.

Incubating samples.

Filtering samples.

Day 14: 08.04: Cancelled Fieldwork but glacier training course and lab

Unfortunately, the members of the PHOTA project could not go to the field due to bad weather conditions and high risk of avalanches. The guide suggested to the team to change its initial itinerary. In the new itinerary, we would need to cross a glacier. Therefore, we were trained to rescue people from crevasses! What an atypical safety course! The course took place on the roof of a container!

Later in the day, I went to the lab to pour a scintillation liquid into the scintillation vials containing the filters placed the day before.


The members of the PHOTA project having a glacier safety course.

Scintillation vials filled with scintillation liquid called ecolume.

Day 15: 09.04: Almost Fieldwork

The members of the PHOTA project went to Tempelfjorden. Everyone were so excited!

The members of the PHOTA project arrived to Tempelfjorden, could see sea ice, but could not go on it. Everyone were frustrated.

The guide had to assess the risk of avalanches which was unfortunately high Video 2 Consequently, the members of the PHOTA project had to turn back. While the guide was assessing the risk of avalanches, some members of the PHOTA project had to watch out for polar bears.

Instead of returning directly to Longyearbyen, the guide led the members of the PHOTA project to a frozen waterfall. The place was picturesque!


Going to the field!

Splendid landscapes on the way.

Sea ice and glacier. The glacier was blue because the snow was blown away.

Still need to watch out for polar bears!

In front of and behind the frozen waterfall.

Day 16 and 17: 10.04 and 11.04: Bad weather, no fieldwork...