Another team member:
The research vessel that I had arrived on, the R/V Laurence Gould, brought a new team member: Alicia Purcell, a PhD student at the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Northern Arizona University). You can see Gentoo penguins in the foreground welcoming her also! Interestingly, the ship is backing up towards the pier!
Alicia is giving the soil microbial community a closer look. She comes from a lab that developed a new technique that determines at the taxon-level who is active in the soil and how fast they are growing. Rather than assigning the term “species” for a microbe, we often use the term “taxon” (or taxa when plural). Not all microbes in the soil are active! And some are slow-growers, while others are more weedy. We are very curious to see how the plant productivity gradient and the warming treatment affect the soil microbial communities!
Alicia and Kelly are balancing precariously on the bits of rock (to avoid stepping on the moss) to collect some initial data (left photo below). A nearby skua was quite - curious? - intrigued? - shaking its head? - as to what we were doing. More about Alicia’s project later.
We completed the experimental setup, with open-top chambers now in place at all the sites.
We are currently a team of three. Our code name on the radio (for when we check in) is: SOIL SISTERS! Indeed, that is what we are. Alas, Alicia will only be here until early February. So, we will science greatly in the meantime! (not quite the quote from The Martian, but you get the idea)