Norwegian fieldwork adventures on the INTERACT blog

Beautiful plants and fascinating adventures: follow the updates from our Norwegian team on the blog from INTERACT, a European program to stimulate international research in the Arctic.

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The roadside effect: visual proof

Mountain roadsides, the most fascinating places on earth. That is, if you believe a PhD-student who has been studying them for more than 5 years now.

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Alpine species like the pincushion plant (Diapensia lapponica) and the alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpinus) enjoy a roadside ‘rock garden’ overlooking a Norwegian fjord.

We returned safely from our fieldwork season in the northern Scandes, with suitcases full of data proving the fascinating role of mountain roads in plant species distributions. Whether they are non-native species advancing in cohorts from the valley, or alpine species exploring the rocky conditions, countless species seem to profit from this peculiar ecosystem.

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Yellow mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides), a plant typical for rocky alpine environments, thriving in between the roadside gravel.

This pattern is strikingly visible with the naked eye already: next time in the mountains just look at the roadside and admire the differences with the natural vegetation next to it. But we aim for more than visual proof only, of course.