Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Niels Weiss

PhD student - Stockholm University

Niels Weiss

What I will remember most…

are the field works and the people. In the years I took to finish my Master’s programme I have had the opportunity to visit several fantastic places on the planet. I have taken courses on Tenerife and Peru, done an internship in Cartagena, Spain, and did my final research project in South Africa. I have always had the feeling that everything was possible as long as you take initiative and commit. 

Learning experience

My thesis was a learning experience, and I think that is exactly what it should be. If you think you are done (as a scientist) after your masters, you’re wrong. In fact you’re never supposed to be done as a scientist.

My first job

After half a year of teaching, which I enjoyed very much (I still miss the interaction with school kids!) I realized how amazing studying actually is (better late than never) and how much I missed the ‘intellectual challenge’ from academia. I applied for a PhD position at Stockholm’s Universitet (SU) in Sweden.

PhD research project

My research project is part of a large EU project PAGE21 that looks at Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its global effects in the 21th century. Not to long ago it became clear that arctic permafrost (25% of all the landmass on the northern hemisphere) is a potential huge source of greenhouse gasses. At the same time not too much is known about the total storage of C and N in these areas. One aim is to investigate these carbon pools both quantitative and qualitative. The latter is where I will be focussing on. I will study active layer dynamics and try to define simple geochemical tools that can help determine the quality and potential decomposability of the soil organic matter in the Eurasian arctic. Main sites of interest are Northern Sweden, Svalbard, Siberia and Greenland.

24 July 2013