27 DecembreTogether with Jacques (the Swiss doctor of the station and field guide), we have counted the Biological Soil Crusts (BSC) on the Northern slope of the Utsteinen nunatak and on the Northern and Southern slopes of the Teltet nunatak. The BSC presence was calculated according to the paper by Bates et al., 2010 (Bates, S.T., Nash III, T.H., Sweat, K.G., Garcia-Pichel, F. (2010) Fungal communities of lichen-dominated biological soil crusts: Diversity, relative microbial biomass, and their relationship to disturbance and crust cover. Journal of Arid Environments. 74, 1192-1199)
At each site, three 500 m-long transects were sampled. Each transect consisted of 10 duplicate samples taken every 50 m. For each transect, data on the degree of crust cover, the presence or absence of anthropogenic disturbance (both every 10 m, within a m2 frame), and ‘on point’ presence or absence of crust (every 5 m) were collected. The crust cover was visually estimated using the following categories: low (below 35%), medium (35-65%), or high (above 65%).
At each nunatak, I have selected ecotopes (the smallest ecologically-distinct landscape features in a landscape mapping and classification system) that could be compared between the two different types of nunataks. In addition, I have installed sensors of temperature and humidity in different types of ecotopes.
They will stay there until the end of the summer, so that we can compare the environmental conditions there.