PFTC Svalbard 2018


Hello everyone! I am Alexander Sæle Vågenes from a tiny town outside Bergen, Norway. I am currently doing my master’s at the university of Bergen where I will be looking at CO2 flux in heathlands.

My academic life or student life if you will, started with a year of law in Stavanger. I quickly realised that this was not something I wanted to be doing for the next five years and being a bit tired of the rain and greyness of western-Norway I suddenly found myself in tropics of Australia. In Australia I started and three years later ended my bachelor’s in ecology and zoology.

My scientific interests have been largely impacted by my bachelor’s and if I must name something it would have to be ecosystem services, animal behaviour and of course climate change is always there lurking, but this is of course on the general side of things.

I am super excited for this trip as it pretty much deals with the same stuff as what I’m dealing with in my master’s project and it will be an excellent chance to get a better theoretical understanding of the field as I haven’t been dealing with any plant material of any sort during my bachelor’s. My goals are therefore linked to my master’s in terms of increasing my knowledge about the field but also more general skills in networking/groupwork, field techniques and perhaps some tips and tricks on a general basis for my master’s.

I believe that in general people on Svalbard will have accepted that climate change is happening, and that people have at least hade some influence in it. I expect the biggest controversies will be about the degree of influence humans have had and perhaps about how much we can do about it and change predicted outcomes. However, since I do not know well enough how much people on Svalbard depend or interact with their surrounding nature it is difficulty to say. I do assume that they have experienced the effects of climate change first-hand.

In Norway human induced climate change is being taught in school these days and is widely accepted, in my experience at least. However, it also seems like most people do not quite realise the impacts a change in climate will have on everyone, humans and animals alike. This could be because people does not know or understand how much even urban areas depend on surrounding ecosystems.

Me on some mountain top in Rogaland. I look a bit thoughtful perhaps but it was more pain management at this point than anything else. Bad idea to use new shoes…


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