Guest post: Science!
For this week’s post, the two scientists here for the winter kindly agreed to write up a post briefly covering what they’re here doing. They arrived here with me at the start of the 2013/14 Summer season and, much like myself, will be staying here over the coming Summer season too. Meet research scientists Sarah Payne and Alyce Hancock:
Here’s the low down:
We, Sarah and Alyce, are two research scientists working at Davis Station for the 2014 winter. We are working for a project that is monitoring ecosystem stability [ed: how the number and types of tiny marine animals change through the year] in model marine-derived Antarctic Lake systems [ed: lakes formed when the sea level dropped and large bodies of water became trapped by the terrain]. This project is for a team in the school of Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Our main role in the project is to collect as many samples as possible from various lakes and nearshore systems [ed: the shallow waters just off the coast] around the Vestfold Hills. We have four main systems; Ace Lake, Organic Lake, Deep Lake and a nearshore site approximately 2km from Davis Station, which we are sampling regularly during our 18 month stay at Davis. On top of this, we have 250+ extra lakes and nearshore systems that we aim to try and sample once off as opportunity and time allows.
During our time in the field we work out of a mobile work shelter, where we have a three-part filter set-up to process water collected from the sites. At some sites we are able to place the mobile work shelter onto the lake/site and pump water straight from the water onto the filter rack. At other sites, however, we have to collect water from the lake then walk it back to the mobile work shelter to be processed.
In between sampling we mostly spend our time unpacking gear, washing it and repacking again for the next field trip, however we do have a small amount of lab work (mostly microscopy), which we can do during periods of bad weather or rest. We are very lucky as our work means that we spend most of our time in the field, out and about the wonderful landscape in the Vestfold Hills.
There you have it from the scientsts themselves. It’s quite out of the ordinary to have wintering scientists on an Antarctic station (though there are many here during the summers), so it’s been great for all of us to have the opportunity to go and assist them down here (even if the assistance is just taking a few photos rather than helping start the Jiffy drill!). And finally, thanks again to Sarah and Alyce for sharing their work.
Alyce also blogs about her experiences in Antarctica. Check her blog out here.