Sunday, May 8, 2016

Getting our Phosphorus Enrichments Up and Running

It was a super-successful week here in Iceland, kicked off with a bit of good ole-fashioned shopping.

Dr. Benstead at the local 'Bauhaus' hardware store, headed for the kiddy aisle.

We were searching for a few important items that would allow us to mix and drip phosphoric acid (our experimental treatment) into our study streams. One of our main goals this year is to experimentally 'pollute' 4 of our study streams with phosphorus to understand how nutrient pollution and temperature interact. First and foremost, we needed solid eye protection! Folks, never mess around with acid!!

This is me, feeling safe, secure, and ready for action.

Our next stop was the Icelandic shipping company, "Eimskip", to pick up a few barrels of our phosphoric acid. This was exciting, industrial times! Just have a look at those scary barrels of unknown origin and contents!

Jon. . in absolute awe.

Now, in terms of transporting our gear to the field sites, we lucked out - bigtime. The long road in to our sites was clear and free of snow. This meant there was no need to carry our gear the full 7 or 8 kilometers from the paved road to the streams (a daunting task we were anticipating). Instead, we were able to walk just a short distance across the valley to get things rolling. 
Team work

Once we arrived at the sites, we assembled the dripper gear, mixed up our phosphoric acid solution, and started our nutrient enrichment experiments!  A few shots of Jon Benstead in action:

"Is this really happening?"

"Yes . . I think this IS really happening. . . "

Deep thoughts into a big barrel of ~20% phosphoric acid.  We are using these large barrels to store multiple weeks worth of phosphorus.

And a few more choice shots. Below is one of our more difficult dripper sites. As you can see, the snow hasn't quite receded yet, making for exciting  - and damp - times.

Finally, here's another site that required a bit of, shall we say, excavation:

Stay tuned. . there's more to come soon. Alex Huryn, Jim Hood, and Phillip Johnson arrive tomorrow, and they will begin setting up our streamside-channel experiment.  

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