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History of arctic-alpine flora recorded in sediments – first fieldwork in the PIONEER project

In March, our scientists, Michał Ronikier and Tomasz Suchan, spent a week in the frosty and snowy scenery of the Gąsienicowa Valley, inaugurating fieldwork as part of the PIONEER project carried out at the IB PAS. During the expedition, the first sediment cores from three high-mountain lakes were collected. The cores were sampled using a lightweight Uwitec device from the frozen lake surfaces, through the ice holes drilled in 1 m-thick ice. Ancient DNA will be isolated from the samples, which will be used to reconstruct the past assemblages of Tatra plants. The expedition was organized together with two other teams - from the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS and the Institute of Geological Sciences PAS – led by colleagues experienced in collecting lake sediments: Michał Słowiński and Michał Gąsiorowski. The next sampling campaign is planned for the summer.

See the research team website for more information.

Below is a photo report from the expedition.

On the frozen surface of the Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy lake – drilling a hole.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

Transport of materials to the drilling site.
Photo: Tomasz Suchan.

Transport of materials to the drilling site.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

On the frozen surface of the Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy lake.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

Preparation for sediment profile sampling.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

Preparatory work before drilling the hole.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

Sediment profile sampling with a Uwitec device.
Photo: Tomasz Suchan.

Sediment profile sampling with a Uwitec device.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.

A hole in the ice prepared for sampling the sediment profile.
Photo: Michał Ronikier.