Sunday, June 7, 2015

Channel Experiments Start

We finally got the channel experiments started on Thursday! Delor and I celebrating after finally getting everything going around 10 PM:

Here's a diagram of the channel experiment and the heat exchanger (HEX) system that delivers warmed water to the channels.

Setting up this experiment has been a challenge which required the dedicated efforts of nearly a dozen people. Here are some photos celebrating our recent efforts since my last blog post.

Bree, Abbi, and Luke sorting nearly 2000 tiles into three size classes. They made a game out of it. The basalt tiles we purchased come in different heights. That might look great in a bathroom, but its not ideal for experimental channels.

Bree carrying a sandbag down to the channels to secure the dripper system. Bri, Abby, Delor, and I carried six of these things nearly 900 meters...

We have to regularly (every two to four days) measure and adjust the amount of water going through both the channels and the dripper system. Here, Delor is measuring the amount of water traveling through channels (i.e., the discharge).

Jon wrestling with the dripper tubing...

At the end of the channels, we installed something called nutrient diffusing substrates (NDS). They are used to measure how the degree of phosphorus limitation (whether biofilm growth responds to phosphorus fertilization) changes with temperature and nitrogen enrichment. The NDS's have glass frits on the top that are colonized by biofilm over the course of the experiment. The vials are filled with inert glass beads up until a couple of weeks before sampling when they are filled with agar (control treatment) and agar + phosphate (phosphorus treatment). I think this is the prettiest part of this experiment.

In this time lapse, you can see Jon and I plumbing the inlets and dealing with a burst fitting. The clouds are the coolest part.

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