Gould arrived - perfect labwork day:
The Laurence M. Gould research vessel arrived today. For the last 5 weeks or so this research vessel has helped scientists sample ocean water & marine phytoplankton (the ocean’s “plants”) and zooplankton (e.g. krill, jellyfish etc.) at locations on pre-established transects. The sampling sites have been sampled year after year so that long-term patterns can be determined. The project involves scientists with different disciplines, such as whale biologists, penguin biologists, and phytoplankton and zooplankton scientists. The scientists work collaboratively in order to get a more holistic view of the ecosystem (rather than solely focus on their specific research area).
With the Gould tied up, things started to get hectic! The ship is leaving on Friday (unfortunately, taking Alicia along also), so it was busy with loading/unloading boxes, people moving around, and so on.
While all the hecticness outside, Kelly and I stayed indoors and did labwork. Specifically, we did potassium chloride (KCl) extractions to help us determine soil nitrogen that is available to plants.
We weighed out soil (top left photo), added the KCl solution to all of them, then shook the mixture (bound with a bungee cord to prevent them from toppling - an advanced technique we invented!), and filtered the mixture so that no soil particles would be in the extract (bottom photo).
Unfortunately, we will not know what the soil avalailable nitrogen levels are for a while. We froze them for now. These will be analyzed back at Texas Tech University.