Monday, April 29, 2013

HEX2 construction: Days 2 and 3

Alex Huryn, Philip Johnson and I are hard at work putting together the new heat exchanger, which will be hooked up to replicated streamside channels running at five different temperatures. It's a lot more complicated than the heat exchanger we installed in the valley two years ago, so all our fingers are crossed. Tanner (who will be running the experiment this summer) posted a shot of one of the heat exchangers yesterday. We now have all the heat exchangers built. Here's a shot of them on the floor at the lab. Building them indoors was a smart move.

We cable-tied them to ladders to stabilize them, and loaded them up in the truck, along with a load of the two-inch tubing that will supply water to the heat exchangers.

We drove up to the site along the river, which is thankfully open, despite the snow that fell while I was in the US for a week. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't being very kind. Cold, sleeting or hailing, and blowing about 30 mph. Very pleasant.

We got the HEXs to the site, along with some of the tubing. Then we called it a day.

Yesterday, we turned up at the site with the rest of the SIX HUNDRED FEET of 2-inch tubing we will need. This little lot weighed almost 500 pounds and all of it had to be schlepped about 3/4 of a mile across soft snow. Each of the coils weighs 50-70 lbs, so Alex and I got quite a work-out (Philip was doing the NON-manual labor - he is the engineer, after all). Once again, our intrepid leader Dr. Wyatt Cross was all too conspicuous in his absence. He never seems to be around when we are putting heat exchangers together. Hmmm...

By the end of the third day we had all the tubing at the site and Philip had a lot of the fittings sorted out at the hot pool. A good day's work.

We are just about to head up again for the fourth day. Wish us luck.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Experimental Channels

Equipment is really starting to come together for this summer's experimental channels! Our very talented engineer (Dr. Philip Johnson, pictured below) and the good Dr. Jon Benstead (not pictured, but no doubt hard at work!) have just finished construction of heat exchanger #1. One more left to build, and then begins the arduous task of lugging everything out to our geothermal hot pots. Stay posted for continuing details as this exciting project come online!  

Friday, April 5, 2013

The snails are coming!

Snails (Radix peregra) are only found in Hengill's warmer streams, so one response to the experimental warming of Stream 7 that we hoped to see was snail invasion. It's happening.

This is pretty exciting, as snails can reach high biomass, with obvious consequences for algal standing crop, not to mention other grazer taxa. It's going to be interesting to see what their abundances look like during the second summer of warming.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sigur Rós

It's not science but I had to post this. Regular readers will know we're big fans. It is my prediction that the new album will prove, once and for all, that Sigur Rós are not actually from Iceland. They're from another planet.