The 8th of July there started the «Arctic Floating University-2017» expedition. The participants went on a voyage from Arkhangelsk in order to explore the marine and terrestrial world of high latitudes within twenty days. 58 graduate students from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cuba, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Serbia will have a unique opportunity to use in practice their own knowledge in the territory of the «Russian Arctic» national park.
«I sincerely envy you - because you can see both the New Earth and the Land of Franz Josef in one voyage. The main thing that unpredictable arctic weather favored the expedition», - Alexander Kirillov, an acting director of the «Russian Arctic» national park, noted.
The «Arctic Floating University» - is an educational project, in the course of which young scientists - researchers of the Arctic receive knowledge and skills in the real conditions of the northern seas. The research vessel of Roshydromet «Professor Molchanov», a vessel, combining a laboratory for scientific research and a practical base for the training of research specialists, is becoming the floating university for the duration of the project. The first voyage of the «Arctic Floating University» was held in 2012. About 390 people have been trained for 5 years of work, including the foreign students from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cuba, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Serbia.
The «Arktikum Incognita» is the name of the thematic expedition of 2017, it means unknown, unidentified Arctic. The program of works is devoted to the study of Franz Josef Land. The researchers will visit the Zhelaniya Cape, where the seasonal field base of the «Russian Arctic» is located, and also on the islands of Gall, Hayes, Jackson, Rudolph, Hooker, Northbrook and the Bell Island.
Russia is presented by the students and professors, the employees of Arkhangelsk Center of the Russian Geographical Society, Northern Hydrometeorological Service, Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Moscow State University, Northern State Medical University, «Russian Arctic» national park, Sochi State University, Novosibirsk State University, Institute of Arctic and Antarctica of Roshydromet, the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Federal Research Center for Comprehensive Arctic Studies.
The program of work covers two directions - research and educational. The Arctic will become a field for studying the history and culture of the Russian North for students of the humanities. A group of glaciologists and biologists will analyze the chemical composition of Arctic soils and the biological diversity of the high latitude zone. Young researchers in the field of natural sciences will be taking water samples to study the spread of heavy metals. One of the main studies will be the study of seabird populations. Trainees-meteorologists will receive practical skills in working with hydrometeorological equipment. In addition, students will contribute to the study of the transformation of the Atlantic warm water masses.
The employees of the «Russian Arctic» are having their own purposes in the voyage. According to the words of Evgeniy Ermolov, the director of the department of preservation of historical and cultural heritage, it is needed to monitor monuments in the park, to collect objects of historical and cultural heritage. In particular, on the Eastern island of the Great Orange Islands, where last year a pomor boat was found, dating from roughly the 18th century, it is necessary to perform a complete archaeological study of the find, which now actually lies on the shore in disassembled form: keel, forage, nose, frames. «But boiled juniper root, which had been connecting the details, is almost completely lost. However, we will try to take out fragments of the Pomor ship to the mainland, and further we are planing to work with restorers», - Evgeniy Ermolov said.
Also during the voyage together with a group of oceanologists of the «floating university», the park staff will collect phyto- and zooplankton samples. The purpose of these research is to find out how much the waters of the Atlantic enter the water area of Franz Josef Land and how they affect the local hydrological regime and the composition of plankton. Besides, for the group of the «Russian Arctic» it is necessary to remove eight photo-traps on the Great Orange Islands for registration of Atlantic walruses and polar bears, which were set in October of 2016 by the employees of the regional public organization «Council for Marine Mammals» within the framework of an agreement with the national park. The expedition will come back to Arkhangelsk the 28th of July.