Image courtesy of Arwyn Edwards
In 2017 Dr Arwyn Edwards (Aberystwyth University) received the first Walters Kundert Fellowship for his research project entitled, 'In the Bleakest Midwinter: Can Arctic glacial ecosystems survive in Polar night and thrive in winter heatwaves?'
The £10,000 Walters Kundert Fellowship enabled Dr Edwards to conduct fieldwork on Svalbard in August 2017, December 2017, March 2018, and June and July 2018 to study the microbial diversity and activity of a glacier surface, year-round. All fieldwork objectives were carried out successfully, and, working with Professor Andy Hodson (University Centre in Svalbard) as a local collaborator, Dr Edwards was able to relocate sample sites in the dark season and under deep snow in the light winter.
The next phase of Dr Edwards' research is lab analysis, to confirm or reject the hypothesis that microbes are active on glaciers in winter.
You can follow him on Twitter @arwynedwards