Chokurdakh Scientific Tundra Station
STATION NAME AND OWNER
The Chokurdakh Scientific Tundra Station is owned by the Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
The Chokurdakh Scientific Tundra Station (70°49’28’’ N, 147°29’23’’ E; elevation 11 m a.s.l.) is situated in the Kytalyk Wildlife Reserve, located on the north bank of the Elon’ (Berelekh) River in Northeastern Yakutia, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation, approximately 25 km north of the Chokurdakh settlement and around 480 km north of Arctic Circle.
BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
The research area consists of three different morphological units, i.e. (i) the present, frequently flooded river floodplain, (ii) the river terrace with tundra vegetation, and (iii) higher (10-30 m) plateaus with well-drained soils. The ice-rich continuous permafrost reaches more than 300 m depths. The levees on the floodplains are overgrown with Salix brush. The backswamps consist of meadows with low grass (Arctophila fulva) and sedges (Carexarctisiberica, C. glacialis) grading into shallow lakes. In the tundra, the main vegetation types are dry heath with Betula nana on higher sites (polygon rims, palsas); moist tundra with Eriophorum tussocks; wet sites with Sphagnum and Carex sp., and wet sites with a species-poor vegetation of Carex and some Eriophorum. At several sites the Sphagnum vegetation overlies a very thin active layer of loose moss peat (<20 cm thickness).
HISTORY AND FACILITIES
The station was established in 2001 by the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Vrije University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) with financial support from the government of Netherlands and with permission and help of the Ministry for Nature Protection of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). For accommodation, there is one 4×8 m large living house with four beds and firewood and kerosene heating. Additional tent accommodation for 4-6 peoples is possible during summer time. Kitchen is available. In addition, a big house for 10-12 peoples and a sauna can be rented from the Kytalyk Wildlife Reserve. There are two 5 m high observational towers for meteorological and flux measurements. Basic instruments are available at the station. Electrical power supply is provided by solar power and wind generator (12 V DC) and portable electrical generators (220 V AC).
GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES
The interdisciplinary research at the Chokurdakh Scientific Tundra station mainly focus on studies of the environmental conditions and the role of permafrost ecosystems in Climate Change. This includes the interaction between the atmosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the cryolithosphere with respect to biodiversity and global environmental change. Short-term monitoring data exists for different aspects of human activity. Data is available at the web-sites of PIN-MATRA and TCOS-Siberia projects.
The Chokurdakh Scientific Station is situated in the Kytalyk Wildlife Reserve of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which is dedicated to the preservation of the white crane (Grus leucogeranus). Human activity is restricted to fishing and reindeer herding.
The Chokurdakh Scientific Tundra Station can be reached from Chokurdakh settlement which is 3.5 hours by airplane from Yakutsk. From June to September, the transport to the station is possible by boat (2 hours from Chokurdakh along Berelekh River). In winter-time (November-April), transport takes place by snowmobile/sledge (2 hours from Chokurdakh).
Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
41, Lenin Ave., Yakutsk,
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia),