The research vessel “Professor Molchanov” has once again set forth to explore the high latitudes. This year’s team onboard is made up of 58 researchers, undergraduates and PhD students from seven countries: Russia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cuba, the Netherlands, France and Germany. The expedition is co-organized by Northern Arctic Federal University and the Northern Office of ROSHYDROMET and tasked with investigating the Arctic climate and biodiversity.
The expedition route will take the explorers to Cape Zhelaniya, the islands of Hall, Heiss, Jackson, Rudolf, Hooker, Northbrook and Bell.
Some of the members of this year’s team of explorers shared with us their expectations.
“I have never been to the more remote parts of the Arctic before, and that’s why I was very excited to join the expedition. Besides, the PhD thesis I’m currently writing is devoted to the history of Arctic exploration in Russia and Norway, so it would be extremely useful to see with my own eyes the lands which have been the object of research for many Russian and foreign explorers. Apart from this, I do hope that this year’s expedition will help the university gain a favourable reputation. It would also be good to strengthen our friendly ties with colleagues from Russia and abroad”, communicated Alexander Saburov, Leading Expert of the Arctic Center for Strategic Research, NArFU.
“I decided to go to the Arctic for the sake of my research. I am a PhD student specializing in metagenomic analysis. I very much hope that the expedition will enable us to obtain interesting samples and of course establish new contacts”, remarked Elena Gusakova, a PhD student from NArFU.
Viktor Abashev, a PhD student from Novosibirsk State University participating in the expedition for the second time, commented:
“Our main tasks for the expedition consist in achieving our scientific objectives, rock sampling for research, and investigating magnetic characteristics. This will help us to recreate the history of the Artic. Besides, when can one expect to have a similar opportunity to meet interesting people and see the Arctic?”
The project’s coordinator Konstantin Zaikov has already taken part in eight AFU expeditions. To the participants he is both the chief and a teacher, checking attendance and instructing the team members.
«As a researcher, I can tell that we expect plenty of positive impressions, intriguing artifacts and potential scientific discoveries. As a teacher, I look forward to interesting feedback from my students, their enthusiasm for new knowledge and experience”, said Mr. Zaikov.
Some of the participants had to cross several borders and time zones for the benefit of Arctic research.
“I am a Cuban currently living in Stockholm. I work as an IT specialist, although I have a degree in electric engineering. I heard about the expedition while watching Russian TV at home, and called Konstantin Zaikov. That’s how it all came about. I would like to study Arctic biodiversity. Becoming a biologist was my childhood dream. Observing nature and animals is a hobby of mine. I have a lot of friends among biologists, and I hope to make more friends here onboard”, shared Jesus Carvajal, another member of the AFU-2017 team of explorers.