We left Longyearbyen and arrived in Ny-Ålesund on our twin engine plane at 11:15. Ny-Ålesund, located at 78 degrees N is an international research center where scientist’s study the arctic environment and its relationship to wildlife and atmosphere.
After checking into the Nordpol Hotel and having lunch we visited our first scientist, Vittorio Pascuali who is doing research on the Lepidurus Articus. These crustacean invertebrates are one cm long and live in the Arctic’s fresh water ponds.
The native animals of the Arctic Reindeer, Polar Bears, and the Arctic Fox all have systems that allow them to live for 5 months of the year in darkness and 5 months of the year in light without changing their behaviour. (ie. they do not experience any difference in rest patterns the way humans do)
The Lepidurus Articus have the same genes as the Arctic Mammals and Vittorio is doing research to see if these invertebrates will behave the same in darkness as in light since they do not live in darkness and only live in the the summer months for a very short time, after the pond defrosts.
He showed us the eggs that he has collected and will know the behavior of these invertebrates in six weeks after they have hatched and have gone through their life span.
We then walked around Ny-Ålesund and learned of its important history. It is here that Ronald Amudsen (the first person to reach the South Pole) died.
In 1928 Umberto Nobile had launched a Dirigible from Ny-Ålesund to go to the North Pole. When he arrived, he could not land and turned around, only to crash off the coast of Ny-Alesund. In trying to rescue Nobile, Ronald Amundsen’s plane crashed and he was killed.
Around 9:00 at night the sun was strong, weather warm and sky clear. We wanted to go for a hike at 11:00, it was so beautiful. We are hoping for the same tomorrow night.