Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Into the wild

28.05.2008
An intrepid team of researchers from The University of Nottingham are venturing into one of the most isolated regions on the planet to study the potentially devastating effects of global warming on natural habitats.

Led by ecology lecturer Dr Markus Eichhorn, the team will spend 10 weeks camping in the wilderness of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Far East Russia, an area of outstanding natural beauty that boasts the northern hemisphere's largest active volcano, an unusually large population of grizzly bears and giant herbs that can grow in excess of 10ft high.

The researchers will spend their time carefully mapping the extraordinary abundance of plant and animal life as a starting point to monitoring the effects of climate change on the area, which is one of the fastest warming regions in the world.

Kamchatka is a volcanic peninsula on the pacific 'ring of fire' covering an area of 472,300 km² and boasting 160 volcanoes, 29 of which are still active. It has a population of 402,500 but more than half of its inhabitants live in the region's administrative and industrial centre Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky. After World War II, the region was declared a military zone and was closed to foreigners until 1990.

Among the diverse wildlife found in the region are a large number of grizzly bears — sustained by lakes and rivers teeming with many species of salmon — wolves, arctic foxes, lynx, wolverine, sable, reindeer and moose. Kamchatka is also the breeding ground for Steller's sea eagle, one of the largest eagle species with a wing span up to two metres.

Dr Eichhorn, of the University's School of Biology, said: “It's going to be a fantastic experience from an exploratory perspective. The region is so sparsely populated that for the large part the landscape is completely unspoilt, it really is a wilderness. Being given the chance to study the flora and fauna of somewhere so untouched by man is a huge privilege.”

He will be accompanied on the expedition by four students specialising in zoology, biology, genetics and geography, a botanist from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok, a biology professor from Amurskii State University and two Russian undergraduates from Vitus Bering Kamchatka State University.

The team flies out on June 25 and will undertake an orientation week while staying close to Esso village in central Kamchatka, learning general skills for survival and safety including camp protocols, navigation and grizzly bear precautions before establishing more remote fieldwork camps on the western side of the peninsula.

Once in the wilderness, they will spend their time mapping the forests of Bystrinsky Nature Park — a UNESCO World Heritage site — developing botanical collections of specimens and seeds and gaining skills relating to their individual specialties, including conducting bird surveys, trapping small mammals and cataloguing insects.

Dr Eichhorn said: “We really will be in the middle of nowhere. The only interactions we are likely to have with other people are likely to be encounters with indigenous Koryak reindeer herders. As roads are few and far between, you have to use all-terrain vehicles to cover long distances but we expect that we will be trekking cross-country for most of our field trips.

“Once a week we'll receive a food drop from the local village and around every 10 days or so we'll head back into town for some human contact. Team members will keep in touch with folks back home by using e-mail — there is one computer in the town's library that has internet access.

“As we will be so isolated safety provisions have been made. One of the students, Joe Wright, and myself have received specialist medical training and will act as medical officers on the expedition.

“Although there are lots of grizzly bears, they tend to be quite timid when it comes to human contact and you are more likely to be injured falling out of a tree than through a bear attack. However, in case of emergency we will have GPS distress beacons and a rescue helicopter will be scrambled.”

The expedition has been approved and supported by the Royal Geographical Society and British Ecological Society and is a collaboration between The University of Nottingham and Vitus Bering University.

The team is currently in the process of raising funds for the expedition and is interested in hearing from private companies or individuals who can offer sponsorship, either towards the overall cost of the expedition or specific items such as tents. More information about the expedition can be found on the web at www.kamchatka2008.org.uk and anyone interested in supporting the trip can contact Dr Markus Eichhorn on 0115 951 3214.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>