March and April are the months for winter fieldwork in COAT. The yearly monitoring of snow conditions have been conducted in Varanger, and automatic acustic recorders to monitor ptarmigans have been mounted at Svalbard.
Photo: Eeva Soininen
Monitoring of climate impact on small rodents in Varanger
As a part of the annual monitoring of climate impact on small rodents, two field teams from COAT conducted snow measurements at Varanger peninsula during week 11. We are especially interested in conditions close to the ground, where small rodents live. This year the conditions varied between river valleys; in some localities the lowest part of snowpack was loose, while in other places it was a mixture of hard snow and ice. We also measured snow depth at a set of snow beds, that had this year relatively little snow. It snowed a lot during the week, so we had some challenges in moving between the localities.
Monitoring of Svalbard rock ptarmigan
In March we mounted 30 sound recorders in 3 different localities in Svalbard. During March the male rock ptarmigan return from their wintering areas to the breeding grounds where they establish a territory and advertise their territory by a characteristic territorial song. This song is registered by automatic digital sound recorders that will be used to estimate the population density. The methodology is new and is in a pioneer and testing face. During April we will conduct our manual monitoring that we have done annually since 2000 by using point transect methodology in the same areas.