Bjørndalen Integrated Gradient (BIG) is a cross-disciplinary approach to understand how short- and long-term climatic changes affect High-Arctic species and the system in which they are embedded. This field-laboratory enables close integration of research and course activities, and a great arena for students to participate and contribute to research activities.
Since 2019, several UNIS courses has utilized BIG and it has provided data for master and bachelor theses. Currently we store almost 5 million files totaling 28 terabytes of data, across multiple projects.
BIG was established in 2019 by the Department of Arctic Biology (AB) at UNIS, supported by funding from the Olav Thon Foundation and internal allocations. BIG is a strategic platform integrating biological research, learning and monitoring within and across the terrestrial, benthic and marine habitats at one location in high-arctic Svalbard.
Strategically, BIG will provide unique knowledge and education necessary for an integrated understanding of how the Arctic terrestrial, benthic and marine ecosystem are structured and functions under long-term environmental and climatic changes. Currently, BIG consists of several research projects along the Bjørndalen Integraded Gradient, including long-term marine time-series (IsA), multiseasonal of flower phenology and pollination activity interactions, seasonal capture of invertebrates at weekly intervals and monitoring of reindeer spatial population dynamics.
Our field laboratory
A field laboratory will…
- Create cost-effective research synergy between faculty
- Give authentic research experiences for students
To succeed in this…
- Data must be available in a common storage
This will enable to possibilities of…
- Initiating inquiry-based student projects
- Invite external researchers to establish within a system where background knowledge exists
And give the outcome of…
- Piece by piece increase the overall knowledge of the study system
- Embrace interactions in the ecosystem as a whole
- Over time separate seasonal variations form climate change
Overview of main projects
List of project with ID:
|Project Title||ID||Contact Person|
|Reindeer population dynamics||BIG_RM|
|Invertebrate and Flower phenology||BIG_FIP||Steve Coulson|
|Long-term Vegetation Monitoring||BIG_VEGM||Simone Lang|
|Purple Saxifraga – A model system for speciation||BIG_SO19||Pernille Bronken Eidesen|
What type of data exists from Bjørndalen?
Data collected will be made available through our common NIRD storage arena. Contact project responsible for more information and access. Also see the map to put the data in context.
List of data that exists from Bjørndalen thus far:
|Type of data||Method||Season||Time||Project ID|
|Invertebrate phenology time series||Capture via sweep net*, fall traps (x18), malaise traps (x2)||Summer||2019-present||BIG_FIP|
|Reindeer population time series||Visual observations along path. Sex/Age and location registered||Feb-Oct||2019-present||BIG_RM|
|Silene Aculis phenology time series||Image capture from above plant (60cm) and 1 minute (to 1 hour) intervals (n = 10**)||Summer||2019-present||BIG_FIP|
|Dryas Octopetala phenology time series||Image capture from above plant (60cm) and 1 minute (to 1 hour) intervals (n = 8)||Summer||2019-present||BIG_FIP|
|Soil temperature/mositure||At several locations (~7), some also record soil moisture||All year||2019-present||BIG_FIP,BIG_SO19,BIG_VEGM|
|Vegetation analysis||Done within SO19 plots (see map). Visual estimate of plant/soil cover within 60x60cm vegetation frame (Quadrat)||One time||2021||BIG_SO19|
|Snow melt time lapse||Photos taken from valley showing snow melt and other seasonal changes. Once per hour.||All year||2019-present||N/A|
|Weather data (wind speeds, solar radiation, ground and air temperature, soil moisture)||Data collected from weather station located in Bjørndalen||All year||2020-present||N/A|
|Registration of vegetation (monitoring)||Pin-point method, from 3 locations with 3 plots each||Summer (Biannually)||2019-present||BIG_VEGM|
|Manual soil mositure||Portable soil moisture meter, every other week||Summer||2019-present||BIG_VEGM|
|Saxifraga oppositifolia flower stage and count||Manual check-up of registered plants, visual inspection.||Summer||2019-present||BIG_SO19|
|Saxifraga oppositifolia ploidy level||Flow cytometry.||One time||2019||BIG_SO19|