Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4 week sampling crew

Just wanted to give credit to the large team of folks helping me with the first (4 week) sampling event on the experimental channels. We had uncharacteristically good weather for 2 of the 3 days, any more of that and I'll become spoiled!

The crew:
Left to right: Ellie Zignego (Montana State U.), Tanner Williamson (Montana State U.), Jill Welter (St. Kate's U.), Amiee Ahles (St. Kate's U.), David Hernandez (U. of Alabama), and Jackie Goldschmidt (St. Kate's U). Not pictured are Dan Nelson and Jon Benstead (both U of Alabama).  
Photo courtesy of Jackie Goldschmidt 

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Sampling Done!

Woohoo!  After a rainy, windy start, we successfully completed our first round of sampling in the channels!  The Welter crew, John Benstead, Tanner and I all went out on Wednesday to get started on the process.  The Welter crew checked out around 1pm to head back to give a presentation, and boy did they leave just in time.  John, Tanner, and I were left to do the sampling (which ran quite smoothly, once we got our rhythm down), but not without some treacherous rain.  There were about 4 or 5 really good rainy sessions lasting upwards of 45 minutes.  The sun would pop out for a second, giving us hope, and then not too long after the winds would pick up and we would once again submerge ourselves in our waterproof cocoons.  Dan and David came out for the last hour or so to check out the sampling and to help carry back some equipment.

The next two days, however, were uncharacteristically warm and sunny! We broke out the sunscreen and kicked off our shoes, letting the mysterious, glowing orb in the sky warm us up.  With one set of sampling done, everyone (especially Tanner) can relax and be a little more confident in the sampling process.

Enjoying the squishy (dry!) ground on bare feet!

View of the valley- if you look on the left hand side, the pool of water is the medium-warm hot pot Tanner uses to heat the water

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Oh ya, you betcha!

The Minnesota contingent has come to Reyk-town for the 2013 summer field season! This past Sunday Dr. Jill Welter and two undergraduates arrived from St. Kate's University (St. Paul / Minneapolis, Minnesota) ready for some exciting N-fixing research at Hengill. Sorry, I've no photos yet, but I assure you they're hard at work unpacking their 14 cases of equipment (that's right, 14, these folks don't mess around). Please see Jill's blog (Fixation on Ice) for the latest news and some photos of their arrival (found here).

In other news, the experimental channels turn 4 weeks old, and we're about to begin our first sample event. We wanted to start today, but zero visibility fog and gusting winds at over 16 m/s forced us to delay until tomorrow.  

Tiles from the 5 temperature treatments in all of their glory (taken June 13th). We're pretty excited that even at this early stage we can see visual treatment differences in algal growth! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

One week in....

After about 5 days of strange and mysterious sleep cycles, I think I finally have this sleeping in 24-hour daylight thing down.  The trick is to follow suite with the locals- lots of walking around the city and plenty of time soaking in one of the nearby geothermal pools. Dan, David, and I made our first venture to the neighborhood pool a few days ago and we now understand what all the buzz was about. Couples, friends, and singles alike come to soak and relax in the variously heated pools and a steam room that could make even Satan sweat.  The pools are one of the few places that stay open past 6 pm- it seems everyone gets off work early to go soak in the pools, open until 10 pm.

Tanner and I have been busy babysitting the channels every other day or so, making sure they're flowing correctly and staying at the right temperatures.  It's a pretty incredible place to call your work place- the  tussock tundra spans for miles (although the visibility has been lacking, the sun seems to be on hiatus up there) and the rocks climb up the sky.  I'm fairly certain I've seen a troll or two up there lurking around the hills.... further investigation is necessary. The hot pots sure make a nice, quick relief to any cold hands out there and the sulfur smell kind of grows on you...

Here I am at the channels doing very important, sciencey things.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 summer field crew arrives!

The remainder of the Montana and Alabama contingent has finally arrived in Reyk-town for the summer field season! Joining me this summer is Dan Nelson (now on his nth trip to Iceland), David Hernandez (undergrad REU scholar from the University of Alabama), and Ellie Zignego (undergrad REU scholar from Montana State University).  

Dan and David wasted no time in jury-rigging some black out curtains (duct taped trash bags) to catch some much needed z's after the long flight in from Alabama.  

Ellie and I have been keeping busy testing and learning to use our new metabolism chambers. Here's Ellie comparing our new metabolism chambers (lined up on the table) to the first generation chambers used on the natural streams in Hengill (the one she's holding).  

A close up shot of the metabolism chambers (lovingly handcrafted by Dr. Alex Huryn). Ellie and I will be using these this summer to measure metabolism on tiles in the experimental channels.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vulcan's Larder

A blast from the past (this hot-pot cooking spot has since expired).  Icelandic hot-pot cooking with Alex Huryn, Jon Benstead, and Ryan Sponseller.  If you want to do good science, you gotta eat.