Thursday, July 7, 2016

N Fixation Nation

This week we've been working on nitrogen fixation measurements on the landscape streams. We started it out on Monday (yes, 4th of July) with the full team in the field so we could get everyone trained together.

We've been lucking out on weather lately, so I'm sure it'll downpour next week.

At the moment we're doing acetylene reduction assays (ARA), which involves collecting a primary producer sample and putting it in a chamber with an acetylene-filled balloon.

Get excited about bryophytes, people!

Liesa and Annette prepare party favors acetylene balloons
Then we pop the balloon and shake the chamber to mix the acetylene gas, take an initial gas sample, and let it incubate in the stream for a few hours.

Shaking: not as exciting as bryophytes

Ideal gas sampler:supervisors ratio is 1:5.

This leaves us with plenty of time to relax, contemplate life, nap, or all of the above.

Dr. Dan as The Thinker

Dr. Dan as The Napper

After the incubation is up, it's another shake, another gas sample collection, and then we process the primary producer biomass using highly sophisticated techniques involving kitchen strainers.

Trust me Jill, there were even more unflattering pictures of gas sampling.

Action Packers: BYOTable!