Arctic Interdisciplinary Studies, ARCTIS, is an interdisciplinary field course organised by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists in Russia (APECS Russia) and the UK Polar Network (UKPN). The main goal of the course is to facilitate bilateral and interdisciplinary (Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Terrestrial, Marine and Social & Humanitarian) cooperation of early career scientists from the United Kingdom and Russia. The course took place at the “Siberian Gateway to the Russian Arctic” – Khanty-Mansiysk (Yugra) Autonomous Region, Russia on February 16-22, 2020.
The field course was thoroughly enjoyable, and a great opportunity to experience new disciplines. The course started with a conference day to present our own research, followed by an Arctic Pub Quiz in the evening. Visits to the Museum of Nature and Man and the Torum Maa Open Air Ethnographic Museum were a great insight into the lives and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the North. The Geology, Oil and Gas Museum, which traces the history of Western Siberian oil and gas development, provided an overview of the greater Khanty Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Russia’s largest oil producing region, containing around 450 developed oil fields, including Samotlor, the largest oil field in Russia and the sixth largest in the world. Field training and lectures from Prof. Martyn Tranter and Prof. Peter Convey focused on the biological darkening of the Greenland Ice Sheet, polar terrestrial biodiversity, and a snow cover practical in the taiga to see how snow accumulated over time.
A personal highlight was the visit to the Mukhrino Field Station, where we received field training and lectures on atmospheric studies and water quality and water resource formation in the Arctic of Western Siberia from Dr Egor Dyukarev and Dr Vitaly Khoroshavin, as well as getting an overview of the research that is carried out there. Overall, the course was very educational and intense – it felt like at least a couple weeks passed by rather than just a few days. The course was a fantastic experience and a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about working in extreme environments from an interdisciplinary perspective.