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> August 7, 2006 - Visitors!
post Aug 10 2006, 12:29 PM
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As predicted, we did get some more wet weather after our gorgeous sunny day. We were able to get lots of work done in spite of it, though, and collected some information on the river. We stopped along the east side of the lake at an old delta that used to drain into the sea when the ocean filled the lake valley. There we were able to see layers of marine mud and shells from more than 10,000 years ago by carefully excavating the side of the fan.

Shell Deposits
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At 3:00 we met at the south end of the lake and prepared to go all the way down to the north end to meet a group of people that Hanne was giving a tour of the area to. This was exciting because there would be 29 people, and they would join us in the field for a chat and then for dinner at the station.

The group consisted of dignitaries from various Norwegian civic and government boards and ministries, who were interested in Svalbard and taking a course here for a week. There were staying in Longyearbyen for part of it and also touring the western coast on a coast guard vessel, taking hikes and visiting towns. They had made arrangements to join us in the field for a chat near the end of the day, so we motored down to meet them. After so much time along here in Linne Valley, it felt very strange to see about 30 people hike over the hill down to the lake!

Norwegian Dignitaries Gather at Linnevatnet
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Mike and Al and I were asked to give a short chat about what we were doing, and two students chose to talk about their projects. Leif and Heather each spoke for a few minutes about their work and how much they enjoy being in Norway and collaborating with the group members and with scientists from other countries. They were so poised and clear and inspiring; it is such an honor to work with such exceptional young scientists!

We then learned a bit about the Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) and how their population is doing in Linnevatnet. Char are very similar to the Dolly Varden. They can get quite big and are delicious to eat.

Chatting about Char
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Their population has been in question for some time, but apparently the Char are doing well. One of their habits is to swim out of the lake to the Arctic Ocean with the ice as it breaks up to feed and return later in the summer. This physical transformation is really quite incredible if you think about it being able to live in both salt and fresh water is not a simple matter Im sure.

Apparently their body mass changes a great deal during the year, as do the bodies of many arctic animals, and this increases their difficulty with pollutants stored in their fats. As fat reserves are required in the cold lean times, the pollutants enter their blood stream more easily. This is a greater problem in more polluted areas and is not such a problem on Svalbard.

Char (this is unusually large and not from Svalbard, but they do get really big!)
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The group hiked back to the station to join us for dinner.

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I had the chance to show them this webpage and to learn more about the history of Isfjord Radio and many other interesting topics. I was so impressed by this meeting and wish that more US politicians and dignitaries would go to parts of our country to learn about it. It is just hard to imagine our leaders hiking out across uneven ground on a cold an rainy day to learn about fish!

Then they were off! They left by small boat, and headed over to the boat they were traveling on.

Norwegian Coast Guard Boat (Kystvakt)
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This boat is their home for several days. It is a Norwegian battleship and looked very big and imposing from my window. To learn more about the Norwegian Navy and its vessels, go to this site that is in English:

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