Teaching intertwined with research

Teaching in the Abisko research Station is a great experience, both for the teachers, the students, and the science itself.  Spending two months here, full time, allows them to immerse in this environment and gives a good understanding of what the scientific world is like.

Actually, in the department of Ecology at UmU, a large number of the PhD students took one of the courses here, and it is not by chance, I think there is a connection: the experience of doing research, full time for few weeks, next to researchers. And for us, the teachers, who few years ago also took this course, now is very rewarding to be on the other side and help the students help us in our own research!

But, this wouldn’t be possible without the infrastructure that we find in the Abisko region. The research station is equipped with all our needs, from field equipment to modern labs and instruments, and is the basis for every day to day work. But it does not only end here, after decades of research in the area, we have several field sites that have been monitored and contain invaluable records of ecological and meteorological variables. For example, we performed our projects in a lake and a stream which are monitored by SITES (Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science). The sites, are sampled monthly and constitute the basis, the skeleton, for other research to build up. So, together with the large temporal resolution gathered by this kind of infrastructure, and the intense sampling that we can do with the students, hopefully we can help each other in this learning process, as it goes both ways. The researchers can do pilot projects with the help of students, the current infrastructure gather valuable complementary data, and the students learn directly and in the field how ecological science works.

Figure 1. CO2 concentrations across Almberga lake. This lake is monitored in SITES water, being sampled monthly in the central part of the lake. However, the students found a large spatial variation, up to 100%, which can bias the temporal measurements.

 

I hope this synergies continue much longer!

 

/Gerard

 

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