Dirigibile Italia, Ny-Ålesund: projects/activities

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Displaying: 1 - 5 of 5
1. Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research

The project, Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research (AASER), started within EU’s Climate & Environment Programme and now continues with national funding, primarily Norway, Italy and Austria. The objective is to study dynamics and processes in rivers systems in Arctic and Alpine regions. Emphasis is given to the relationships between benthic invertebrates and environmental variables, especially in glacier-fed systems and in relation to climate change scenarios. On Svalbard research is concentrated around Ny Ålesund, particularly Bayelva and Londonelva. In 2004 the focus will be on the use to stable isotopes to detect transfer processes within and between ecosystems.

Glaciers Biology Catchment studies Spatial trends Climate change Biodiversity Arctic Food webs Temporal trends Ecosystems
2. Determination of atmospheric fluxes of Radionuclides, Heavy Metals and Persistent Organic pollutants in well defined watershed, lakes and coastal marine sediments of Svalbard from the beginning of nuclear age

The 2003 field activity will be mainly dedicated to coring activity which includes: 1. the sampling of snow and ice cores from a Ny-Ålesund nearby glacier (midre Lovenbreen). 2. the collection of near coast (Kongsfjorden) and lakes sediments (maximum under pack depth 30 m). Sampling collection of ice and sediment cores will be performed using a portable, electric operated, sampling corer. The transport of all materials up to each sampling station should be performed with snowcats.

Atmospheric processes Biology Hydrography Heavy metals Radioactivity Radionuclides Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Sediments Atmosphere Ecosystems
3. Study of bioactive compounds from arctic plants

Study of secondary metabolites and peptides produced by arctic plants. The aim of the project is the chemical and biochemical analysis of arctic plants such as Saxifraga spp., Artemisia borealis and Pedicularis dasyantha and others, for the search of compounds (secondary metabolites and peptides) to be employed as potential new drugs The basic working program in the arctic base will focus on the collection and preliminary work up (extraction, initial fractionation) of vegetal tissues from arctic plant species and their storage for the subsequent finer analyses

Pedicularis dasyantha Biology Saxifraga compounds analysis chemical and biochemical analysis of arctic plants Biodiversity Arctic data collection secondary metabolites and peptides Artemisia borealis Data management
4. Relative importance of different sources of particulate matter in the Kongsfjorden environment

The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.

athmospheric carbon dioxide Biological effects Biology Arctic haze Hydrography inorganic and organic nutrients particulate Sea ice Ice Oceanography Biodiversity Arctic Ice cores Data management Atmosphere Ocean currents phytoplankton sediment radiometric chronology zooplankton
5. Diversity and changes on temporal and spatial scales of the cyanobacterial community in the high arctic environment of Spitsbergen, Svalbard Islands

The structure and role of the cyanobacterial communities that colonise bare soils and fix nitrogen in the arctic ecosystem will be studied. The planned activities will focus on the isolation, identification and characterisation of cyanobacteria from arctic habitats and on the changes of the cyanobacterial community along a transect from a retreating glacier front to a more stable habitat characterised by the presence of mature vegetation. For these purposes, a polyphasic approach encompassing microbiological, morphological and molecular techniques will be applied to environmental samples and isolated cultures. The obtained results will give new insights on the diversity and role of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria in the arctic and, in more general terms, on ecosystem development under changing climatic conditions.

Biology nitrogen fixation cyanobacteria Soils Climate change Biodiversity Arctic Ecosystems