Autor-Archiv:Norbert Helm

Schrankogel GLORIA resurvey campaign completed

On August 18 2023 we returned from the GLORIA vegetation monitoring field campaign in the upper alpine to subnival zone of Schrankogel. The campaign started on July 26, included the setup of a base camp below the mountain’s southern face in 2630 m, and dealt with the 4th survey of permanent plots, ranged in transects at elevations between 2900 and 3450 m, which have been established in 1994.

Fieldwork commenced with moderate weather conditions, but was interrupted by cold spells with snow fall during the beginning of August. This was followed by suitable conditions so that the ~670 plots of 1x1m plots could be recorded within the planned timespan. In addition, GLORIA temperature data loggers have been read-out and replaced. In early October, a short Schrankogel field trip with two persons followed in order to check corner positions of the plot transects. In total, the field team consisted of fourteen people. We thank all fieldworkers for their commitment, team spirit an endurance.

Aurora captured by our webcams

Due to strong solar winds the Aurora borealis was recently visible over the western part of the Austrian Alps. We were happy to capture this rare event on one of our webcams, which we installed to monitor the snow cover duration on Mt. Schrankogel. Also visible (in the background) are two groups of starlink satellites.

Logger readout finished

During the last week we managed to readout all our 900 temperature loggers on Mt. Schrankogel and additional 100 that we placed in Obergurgl. This means that we now have full temperature curves for the last 2 years. This time we decided to leave our car at home and to do the approach to our study areas by using only the train and our bikes since the devices we had to carry with us were limited to 2 netbooks, 3 tablets, some charging cables and some smaller gear. So we managed to fit everything in our bike bags and could thus combine the work trip with a nice bike packing adventure in which we had to do 5.000 elevational meters on bike and another 4.000 – 5.000 on foot. Here are some pictures of our trip:

Vital rates measurement campaign completed

Yesterday we returned from our field surveys in Obergurgl and Schrankogel where we measured vital rates of more than 3.000 plant individuals on Mt. Schrankogel and over 4.700 transplanted plants in Obergurgl. Although the weather conditions were very harsh and demanding this year we had a good time out there on the field and with our hosts at Amberger hut and at Haus Elisabeth in Obergurgl. Being out there on the same mountain for the third year now it is especially exciting to observe how each year differs from the years before. This year we observed a much higher number of butterflies and moth, mainly of the genus Zygaena and the family of Lycaenidae and even had a oleander hawk-moth (Daphnis nerii) as guest in our sampling area. With a lot of new impressions we are now back in the office and want to thank all our field workers for their great support and motivation to go out sampling even under these demanding conditions. Here are some impressions of the last weeks.


Biomass removal completed

From 20th to 28th of June we conducted our first biomass removal campaign of this season in which we remove the above-ground biomass of neighboring plants of our low-competition treatment plants. The first 4 days we spent at our transplantation and seed sowing sites in Obergurgl and moved for the last five days to Schrankogel were we have our individual monitoring that covers an altitudinal gradient from 1.800 m to 3.450 m. We were lucky with the stable weather conditions and managed to apply the treatment on more than 2.000 plant individuals that were already snow free. Attached you find some impressions of our so-called „mowing“ campaign.


Field season started

This week we did our first visit to our experimental sites in Obergurgl after the winter. The reason behind this first field trip is that the farmers are bringing their sheeps to their alpine pastures. Hence, we yearly install our fences in early spring to protect our transplantation sites from grazing. Due to increased snow fall in late winter it was sometimes quite challenging to access our experimental sites but we finally succeeded.  Here are some impressions of our first trip this year.

Microclim retreat in Drosendorf Castle

Our team of the University of Vienna spent the last 2 days on a retreat at Drosendorf Castle in Lower Austria.  In the wonderful ambience of the snow-covered castle we could fully concentrate on discussing how to specify and parameterize our planned dynamic multi-species models. The models we will use to simulate range shifts of alpine plant species under future climate change scenarios.

Field season finished

After a month we successfully managed to finish this years measuring campaign on the 26th of August on Schrankogel and Obergurgl in Tyrol. Thanks to the great effort of our field workers and the unusually stable weather conditions we could progress much faster than expected. Almost all of our more than 3.300 plant individuals could be relocated again on Mt. Schrankogel and only few were lost due to major disturbance events like landslides. In Obergurgl we managed to do more than 5.000 releves of the neighbourhood vegetation on our transplantation and seed sowing plots. In parallel the first read out session of our 1.000 temperature loggers was finished. Now, almost all of our data is already digitized and we are already curious to have a closer look on it and to start our first analyses!
Here are some impressions of this years field work:

Schrankogel moraineSchrankogel moraineSchrankogelSchrankogel Sulze

GLORIA-Europe resurvey completed

The resurvey of 67 GLORIA mountain tops ( has been completed by end of August. Sixteen different teams were working in 17 mountain regions, distributed from Mediterranean to temperate and boreal Europe. The pan-European fieldwork campaign was the fourth surveys of the GLORIA sites established in 2001 and 2002, thus extending the time series of vegetation data to over 20 years.

List of MicroClim GLORIA regions
AT-HSW NE-Alps / Hochschwab
CH-SN1 Central Alps / Swiss National Park – carbonatic
CH-SN2 Central Alps / Swiss National Park – siliceous
CH-VAL W-Alpes / Alps of Valais-Entremont
ES-CPY Central Pyrenees / Ordesa
ES-SNE Sierra Nevada – West
FR-AME SW-Alps / Mercantour
GE-CAK Central Caucasus / Kazbegi region
GR-LEO Lefka Ori, Crete
IT-ADO S-Alps / Dolomites
IT-CAM Central Apennines / Majella
IT-MAV W-Alps / Mont Avic
IT-NAP Northern Apennines
NO-DOV S-Scandes / Dovrefjell
RO-CRO E-Carpathians / Rodnei Mts.
SK-CTA W-Carpathians / High Tatra
UK-CAI Scotland / Cairngorms

GLORIA fieldwork in the region AT-HSW, Hochschwab, in summer 2022