Chambers for metabolism and nutrient uptake measurements.
A dissolved oxygen probe records continuous changes in
oxygen concentrations during light and dark incubation.
I am happy to report that the gas chromatograph is fully functional, the column heater is working great, and all of the instruments are operating well in their new location (new photos of our space to come soon!). We have moved into a space in a genetics lab associated with the agricultural university here and we have met some really great people who are studying the evolutionary lineages and genetic history of wild strawberries as well as barley here in Iceland. I know Delor in particular is excited to learn more about the molecular techniques that they are using in their work. We were also in the field this past week, first to collect algal and cyanobacterial samples for further species identification under the microscope, which Bayley has been working on in the lab this week, and to begin our work with the sealed chambers that we will use to measure metabolic rates and nutrient uptake rates associated with different dominant algal assemblages. We have been really lucky with the weather, but we did learn that even when it isn’t raining, it can be cold and the wind can be really strong….so strong that our equipment, including large storage containers, can blow away! But it does have its advantages, as the wind takes the black flies with it as well, which does give you a break from the constant fluttering around your eyes, and we occasionally inhale one or two! I don’t know about Bayley and Delor, but I will certainly tolerate these black flies over mosquitoes any day (there are no mosquitoes here in Iceland – very nice!)! The flies aren’t so bad and if you keep moving, they do leave you alone. We also learned that the chambers work really well for measuring metabolic rates, but they do present some challenges for working with fragile floating algal filaments and we are in creative invention mode right now, developing some new ideas and modifications that may work better for the species that we will be primarily studying. We are gearing up for an intense field week and hope to have some nitrogen fixation rates from some of the warmer streams to report by week’s end. Fingers crossed for good weather! We have accomplished a great deal here and we are all excited to see our field planning come to fruition this week.