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

Field season has started


Finally this years‘ field season has started: Last week we began with the biomass removal of the above-ground neighborhood vegetation on our low-competition plots in Obergurgl and on Mt. Schrankogel. To our pleasure we could relocate almost all of our more than 3.000 marked individuals on Mt. Schrankogel and of the 4.700 individuals in Obergurgl. Now everything is prepared for the measurements which will start on the 26th of July on Mt. Schrankogel.

Microclim at 30th EVS Conference in Bratislava

From 9th to 13th of May the 30th European Vegetation Conference with the topic Plant communities in a changing environment took place in Bratislava. Among the 150 participants also 2 members of the Microclim project were present. Kryštof Chytrý gave a talk on „Factzors driving the distribution and beta diversity of the Central European forest-steppe and a poster by Norbert Helm on „Drivers of meta population dynamics of a high mountain flora in the Central Alps“.

Poster: Drivers of meta population dynamics of a high mountain flora in the Central Alps

Logger read out at lower Mt. Schrankogel

At the beginning of March, MicroClim staff from the University of Innsbruck conducted a field trip to the lower parts of Mt. Schrankogel. The main goal was to read out a couple of soil temperature loggers to check if everything works as expected and to get some preliminary data. In total, 25 loggers were successfully read out. All of these seem to operate fine. Due to high precision GNSS measurements of the logger positions last summer, finding each logger position again was relatively easy. Wireless read out worked flawlessly, with no noticable effect due to snow cover.logger read out positionstemperature data from the last months
As expected, we can observe a rather smooth signal for many of the loggers during wintertime, where the isolating effect of the snow cover is preventing a daily temperature cycle in the soil. Some fluctuations also hint at varying snow cover conditions.

Experimental sites installed

In September 2021 we installed our transplantation and seed sowing plots in Obergurgl. The plots are located on 5 different sites which are distributed over an elevational gradient from 1.900 to 2.600 m a.s.l., from subalpine Vaccinium shrublands to nival vegetation patches. Each site hosts 5 areas that cover the different habitats of each site and in each area 12 transplantation and 4 seed sowing plots were installed. In half of the plots we removed the aboveground biomass of neighbouring plants and the other half was set up as control. To hold off curious sheeps from grazing our experimental sites we protected each area with fences. In total we transplanted 47 plant species, each with 100 individuals evenly distributed among the 5 sites and 25 areas and measured parameters related to vitality and reproduction of each individual.

First field season successfully finished on Mt. Schrankogel

We successfully finished the first field season on Mt. Schrankogel. Between 1st July and 22nd August 30 researchers took part in the first MICROCLIM field survey at Mt. Schrankogel in Ötztal Valley, Tyrol. Under the sometimes harsh weather conditions geographers from the University of Innsbruck buried soil temperature loggers on 900 positions that were selected based on a stratified random sampling. The logger positions cover an elevational gradient from 1.800 m to 3.497 m in the summit area. At each of the 900 logger positions field botanists recorded the vegetation on a 1×1 m square using the Braun-Blanquet method. Based on the vegetation records we selected 30 random occurrences of 59 plant species that are frequent on Mt. Schrankogel and which are representative for the different habitat types. On each selected sampling point we measured parameters related to vitality and reproduction of two individuals of each species. In total 3.300 individuals were measured and 250 different vascular plant species recorded on the whole Schrankogel site in 2021.

We especially want to thank Lydia, Serafin and the stuff from Amberger hut for their precious support during the whole field season!

Some impressions from the field work: