People

University of Tromsø – Norway

Elisabeth Cooper (Project Leader) – Elisabeth has been researching Arctic plants and climatic change/grazing interactions on Svalbard for over 20 years.  Her long-running snow-fence experimental site in Adventdalen is the main focus area for the soil, microbial, invertebrate, plant and community level analyses carried out within this project.  She will provide the overall lead for this project, working closely with all other partners and supervising the Masters and PhD students.

Lennart Nilsen – Lennart is a trained botanist with much experience in the field of remote sensing and GIS.  He has conducted fieldwork on Svalbard for many years and will work closely together with Helen Anderson and Hans Tømmervik to determine the community- and landscape-scale responses of plant growth to snowmelt timing.

Nigel Yoccoz – Nigel is an ecologist and biostatistician with expertise in Arctic and Alpine regions, with interests in the development of quantitative methods (statistics, mathematical modelling and study design) in ecological and evolutionary biology.  He has worked with animals, plants and micro-organisms and will be involved in study design and statistical advice throughout the project.

Helen Anderson (Postdoc) – Helen has previously worked on the responses of herbivores (feeding opportunities and reproductive output) to changing snowmelt conditions in Svalbard using a combination of field-based methodologies and remote sensing data.  She will upscale the plant-level responses to changing snowmelt timing and growing season length to the community and landscape-scale.  This information will be used to predict the consequences of changing climatic conditions for herbivores and the terrestrial tundra ecosystem.

PhD student (PhD student) – The PhD student will work on two main areas; firstly the response of litter decomposition, soil and plant nutrient content to changing winter snow depth; and secondly the impacts of snow depth and timing of snowmelt on plant phenology, growth, quality and growing season length.

UNIS (University Centre in Svalbard) – Norway

Steve Coulson – Steve is a terrestrial ecologist, specialising in invertebrates and is the world expert on Svalbard soil invertebrates.  He has experience in invertebrate population dynamics, plant-herbivore interactions, dispersal, colonisation and ecosystem development and overwintering strategies of invertebrates.  He has many years of Arctic research experience and co-supervises Masters student 1.

Pernille Bronken Eidesen – Pernille is interested in a broad range of Arctic-based studies, including plant population genetics, eukaryote microbial diversity and high-throughput sequencing.  She has experience in combining molecular lab-based analysis techniques with field-based methodologies and co-supervises Masters student 2.

Centre for Permafrost (CENPERM) – Denmark

Bo Elberling – Bo the director of CENPERM and has particular interests in biogeochemistry, soil sciences, modelling and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions.  He has many years experience of working in Svalbard and Greenland and within this project he will provide assistance with nutrient analysis and links to similar experimental set-ups in Greenland, as well as co-supervising the PhD student.

Zackenberg Research Station, University of Aarhus – Greenland (Denmark)

Niels Martin Schmidt – Niels is the BioBasis manager at Zackenberg Research Station in Greenland, which monitors the ecosystem and biological processes of the Zachenberg area.  He has experience at both the population and individual species level with both plants and animals and will contribute to the community scale analysis of snowmelt timing, growing season lengths and plant growth investigation of this project.

Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) – Norway

Åshild Ønvik Pedersen – Åshild is a terrestrial ecologist, with experience in reindeer population dynamics and ptarmigan ecology.   She is currently working on winter climatic effects in regulating population sizes of reindeer and ptarmigan in Svalbard.  Therefore, she will make sure this project considers the effects of changing plant availability and quality on endemic Svalbard vertebrate herbivores.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) – Norway

Ingunn Tombre – Ingunn is an ornithologist who specialises in geese and the impacts of timing of spring on migration and goose body condition and reproduction.  She has experience of working in Svalbard and northern Norway and will ensure that the consequences of changing plant availability and quality for migratory geese are included in this project.

Hans Tømmervik – Hans leads the NFR funded Arctic Biomass network.  He is a botanist and an expert on the use of satellite data for botanical mapping and for the interpretation of phenological development.  He will work closely with Lennart Nilsen and Helen Anderson on the community- and landscape-scale responses of plant growth to snowmelt timing.