The cover image for Journal of Ecology’s latest issue was taken by Johan Martinelli. Here Johan retells the story behind capturing this incredible reindeer photograph.
This photo relates to recently published research article “Experimental evidence of the long‐term effects of reindeer on Arctic vegetation greenness and species richness at a larger landscape scale” by Sundqvist et al.
I took this picture whilst I was working as a field assistant at Latnjajaure Field Station (LFS) in the northern Scandinavian mountain range. For my first weeks after arriving at LFS, in June, the weather was miserable. Several blizzards were intermittent throughout that period and the lake was still frozen. This lake was where I usually washed up after a warm and refreshing sauna, but during the cold spell, there was only a small opening in the ice sheet that contained running water with a comfortable temperature of 1˚C to swim in!
Latnjajaure is one of the sites for the circumpolar International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). My assignments focussed on studying how the phenology of Arctic plants was responding to experimental warming. This together with documenting weather patterns and collecting data for several other study protocols kept me busy during the daytime. In the evenings, I usually hiked in the surroundings with my camera ready for action. At these high latitudes at this time of the year, the sun stays above the horizon for all 24 hours of the day. This phenomenon, called midnight sun, allows for great photography at all hours and this picture was captured 21:09…which would be difficult to guess by the photograph alone. Encounters like this are also one of the reasons that I love being out in the field.
LFS has been serving as satellite field station to Abisko Scientific Research Station for nearly 30 years. As well as being instrumental in the establishment of ITEX, LFS has a tradition of experimental ecology and long-term monitoring of the landscape and climate. LFS is located 68°N at an altitude of 981 m a.s.l., which gives you an easy access to the Arctic tundra and all of its amazing nature.
Photos by Johan Martinelli. Instagram @martinellisphoto https://www.instagram.com/martinellisphoto
It is one of my strongest beliefs that communicating science is as important as the research itself. It is also one of the most difficult and overlooked challenges of the scientific community. I believe that photography has an important role to play for science communication, as people are captivated by images. Engaging photographs can convey important stories. My intention is to catch people’s attention with the pictures that I take, and hopefully link my pictures with a great story to inspire an interest in nature and wildlife.
Johan Martinelli – photographer & MSc in Environmental Science.
With contributions from Robert G. Björk – University of Gothenburg, Sweden & co-author of this research paper.
Read the full article online: Experimental evidence of the long‐term effects of reindeer on Arctic vegetation greenness and species richness at a larger landscape scale by Sundqvist et al.
Find out what else features in Volume 107, Issue 6 of Journal of Ecology here: https://jecologyblog.com/2019/10/17/volume-107-issue-6/