Impressions of participants of 
‘Floating University’s expedition

Maria Bogdanova,

3rd-year student of NArFU Institute of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine:

— The object of my research was benthic and epiphytic diatomic algae which serve as indicators of the state of ecosystem. These algae can be found in the bottom sediments, mosses, lichens and larger algae. This expedition was a good opportunity for me to apply my theoretical knowledge of sampling and sample processing. I was preparing the preparation for examining diatomic algae under microscope on a daily basis.

Anna Trophimova and Alyona Ivanova,

3rd-year students of NArFU Institute of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine:

— We had ab opportunity to follow the studies in several research clusters but being chemists we liked it best in the chemical-analysis laboratory. We learned how to analyze sea water for such biogenic elements as oxygen, silicium and phosphates.

I best remember how we disembarked at Cape Zhelaniye in Novaya Zemlya. This place is remarkable not only for its amazing beauty, but also for the many memorial signs left by travelers. Our dream to visit Franz Joseph Land came true. Not everyone is given a chance to enjoy making snowmen or bathing in snow in mid-June!

Alexey Veselkov,

Teaching fellow at General Physics Department, NArFU Institute of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine:

— Our task was to perform electrophysical analysis of sea water and ice samples. Our glaciological microlab was located on the sledge and consisted of variable-voltage generator, ice borer and immittance meter we use to measure electric circuit resistance and conductivity parameters. Out tasks were also to bore the holes in different parts of ice floes, to make vertical and horizontal sections and to analyze the sections’ electrical properties both in field conditions and in the lab. We also managed to cut off a piece of iceberg and measure the parameters we were most interested.

Maria Trophimova,

4-year students of NArFU Institute of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine:

— As geographer, we were studying the types of the shores and landscapes. Our working tools were navigator, binoculars, maps and photocamera. We were surveying the shore land forms throughout the voyage. The images that we made will be processed in the special software to obtain holistic picture of the shorelines in the area under study. We were also in charge of drafting a tourist route that covers the place we’ve visited on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

What impressed me most was the moment when the Professor Molchanov was approaching the Russkaya Havan in Novaya Zemlya. The participants went on deck and were stupefied by the beauty of the surroundings. The sun was blazing and it was very warm. We reached the long-expected shore at last, snow-covered in some places, with huge glaciers towering in the distance… The grandeur of the Arctic nature is still arising in my mind!

Yekaterina Kochetkova,

Oceanologist, Russian State Hydrometeorological University:

— I’ve never been to the Arctic region before. So, it was very interesting for me to work in the northern latitudes. Together with my colleague Vera Yavlovskaya we were analyzing sea water samples for biogenic elements that are responsible for the diversity of marine flora and fauna. And we were showing students the typical tasks oceanologists perform.

What impressed me were the purity and an amazing colour of the Barents Sea and the large animals inhabiting it – whales and walruses. The birds were very beautiful. The biogenic content in the arctic seas is so small that it is really difficult to understand how life can ever evolve in such conditions?!

Anna Nikolaichik,

3rd-year students of NArFU Institute of Theoretical and Applied Chemistry:

— I was collecting bioresources that might contain chitine, a substance widely used in medicine, cosmetic industry, chromatography, etc. We collected a huge amount of sandhoppers and other crustaceans during the expedition. All our sample are preserved in alcohol and brought to Arkhangelsk for further more detailed study.

Olga Efremova,

1st-year master’s degree student of NArFU Institute of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine:

— It was during this expedition that I got all my skills of working in a chemical lab. The work would start from sampling water with the use of a rosette, a special purpose hydrological facility. We were like sea gull gathering at the rosette to pour the water taken at various depths into the small flasks. That as really difficult because the water was cold and your hands got numb in no time. We were further analyzing sea water for nitrites, silicium and ammonium content.

Updated 21.09.2012