Field incubation experiment completed!
It was cold yesterday and again today. I wanted to toughen it out, but finally relented: I decided to mimic Kelly and Alicia and keep my hands warm in a creative way. There are three steps: attach a toe warmer to the palm of your hand, slide a thin warm glove over that, and then use the lab gloves over that so we can work in a sterile way. Why not use the handwarmer? Because the toe warmer has a sticky side for easy attachment to your hand. Alicia is applying this method while adding the water to the samples (right photo below). You can also see she uses a absorbing pad in case there are tiny spills (but there were none - she’s amazing!)
We managed today to set up the field incubations in our last two sites, thereby completing the incubations at all four productivity levels! Below is an image of a plot while the samples were taken, and an image of the same plot once we were done.
What made us momentarily forget that we were cold (aside from pretty lichen, cool rocks, etc), were penguin tracks in a sediment patch! You can see penguin feet are pretty thick, and relatively large! Zooming in on the photo, you can even see the scaliness of the underparts of their feet!
We were so lucky today for another reason: we just finished up the fieldwork before a snowstorm hit. We had just returned from the field when I looked outside my office window and saw two zodiacs returning slowly through the brash ice to Palmer, braving the snow. We were lucky indeed!