Sunday, June 26, 2016

The name's Tope. Iso Tope.

Today is Day 19 of the 15N sampling, and the dripper stopped adding the nitrogen isotope on the evening of Day 5, as planned. The worry of contamination is less of a flashing lightbulb now, but we are keeping up the same routines to avoid contaminating our upstream samples with the enriched downstream samples. Jon left on the evening of Day 5, but before we started doing any isotope sampling, he gave a thorough explanation of what to do and what not to do to keep the samples separate.

We were all young and naive before, but...'s been an enriching experience for us all! Ba dum bum tsss

Jill and Liesa have been meticulously (and I do not use that word lightly!) picking out primary producers from the isotope sampling sites along each stream. The primary producers will be the first to assimilate the 15N isotope into the food web.
"Wow. Look at that guys."
"Look at what, Jill?"
"The moss."
Even Jon had fun while he was here!

Ok that's enough fun for one day, watch where you're spraying that thing!
After leaving Stream 18 on Day 5, we encountered a large group of backpackers. They're here in Iceland from Greater Sudbury, Ontario for an Ecohealth class. They offered us some of their fermented shark, but we didn't accept. Any guess as to why?

"Would you like some fermented shark? It's gross."
After each isotope sampling day in the field, we retreat to the indoors to pick things like this:

Oh, you can't see them? Neither can I.
From samples that look like this:

A new audiobook for each bag!
But it would be deceptive if I didn't also point out that there are large things like worms and caddisflies in the streams.

A lone caddisfly and its mobile home, made of all natural, Icelandic rocks. Only 900 kronur!
It was a tough beginning, but the sampling days are spread out now that the dripper is no longer running. Much later, after all this summer business is over, the samples we bring home will be analyzed to measure how much 15N is contained in the different trophic levels so we can get an idea of who's eating who in the food web. Speaking of food...

"Day off" in field speak translates to "open the hatch."

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