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Bird cliffs

Yesterday, we went to a bird cliff, where we will put up a few sites to collect leaves for measuring traits, carbon flux and hopefully fly with drones. The bird cliffs, or the area below the cliffs are nutrient rich because of the bird droppings. We want to compare the plants growing under the bird cliffs to control plots that are not under a bird cliff.

So, far we do not see a large change in species composition, but the plants by the bird cliff were taller.

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Longyearbyen, Svalbard

We arrived at 3 am in Longyearbyen this morning. It was difficult to tell if it was day or night. It’s always light at this time of the year. We are here to teach a plant functional trait course, the same we did in China and Peru. It’s the first time for me to be in the arctic, and it is exciting, a bit grey, cold and windy.

Today, we first went to UNIS (the university in Longyearbyen) to organize a few practical detail for the course next week. And then we had a look at the ITEX site in Endalen. There is not much vegetation, but if you look closer there is a diverse plant community growing in these challenging conditions. I’m looking forward to see more places and look more closely at the plants, vegetation and traits.

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Trolltunga

The weather in southern Norway has been great lately, a never ending summer it seems. So, I decided to visit Trolltunga last Friday. I took my tent, some food and started to walk… with a  million other people. It’s a long, but very nice walk if you do not want to be alone in the mountains.

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Handmade knife

„Life with metal and fire“ is the moto of the blacksmith Lampert-Guarda. They are situated in the Eastern Swiss Alps, in a small village in the Engadin.

One of their products are beautiful handmade knifes. I recently bought a ham knife, with a 12cm blade and a wooden handle.

The knife was delivered in a black box on a alpine meadow bed :-)

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Changing office location

Working in the office has the advantage that you meet colleagues and can discuss things. Often small problems can be solved very quickly when you can talk to the responsible person instead of writing several emails forth and back. But there is also a lot of distraction when I am at the office. Friends want to talk (nothing wrong with that), students come by to ask questions (also nothing wrong with that). But all of these little distractions add up. It’s hard to focus on something if you are interrupted, at least for me.

Therefore, I sometimes like to change my office location. Some days I work a couple of hours at home before going to work, because it let’s me focus on a particular thing: I can read a paper, read an introduction or write a paragraph in a manuscript. And sometimes I move my office further away: Håvoll, Switzerland. Also, I work concentrated for a few hours and then get to do fun stuff as well.

At the moment I am in Switzerland for a month to see my family and focus on work „in peace“. And a few weeks ago I was a week in Håvoll with:

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Copying melaniegaranin

Water colour paintings can be amazing and I am trying to learn to draw. I would not say I am very talented, but drawing is something that needs practice, practice and more practice. Also, I am not very good at freestyle drawing, and therefore I am often looking for drawings that I like and then I copy them. And I’m very good at copying :-)

My newest discovery is melaniegaranin. She is an illustraror and makes (simple,) beautiful drawings. I love that she can draw anything with a very few lines, but exactly the right amount of detail. You can follow her on instagram and at the moment she is posting one animal a day combined with very cute stories about the animals.

I also love her work, because she is often drawing horses, dogs and basically anything with eyes. In my opinion, everything can have eyes!