Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 5 (Aug 3 2012)

Yesterday was a long day (hence this slightly delayed post).  Altogether, a bunch of us (alas, not me; there were too many other volunteers) learned from Herwig how to fill mesocosm bags and then spent the morning and afternoon out on the raft filling the 12 bags for NOC.  Now we have 25 mesocosms dangling out there, looking something like this:

Aug 3 2012a-   In this little model hanging from the ceiling of the lounge in the main building, you can clearly see that each big ring on the mesocosm framework holds four mesocosm bags.  The bags, which have a rigid ring, just under 1 meter in diameter holding the mouth of the bag open, are held in the vertical position by a weight (okay, there there are 2 weights per bag; don't be misled by that!). The person with the wild straw hair and wearing the yellow slicker is standing on a little platform attached to the mesocosm framework.  If the person had some gear in his/her hands (like a plankton net, or a water sampler, or a CTD), we'd think that this person is working.  But this person merely appears to be admiring the view of the different and ever evolving planktonic food web structures established in the different experimental treatments.

But the morning started (for me, at least) with a brief walk before breakfast.  If walk the five minutes back to the inlet to the ocean, there are three different ways you can go.  You can walk along the road below the field station (apparently this road goes for about a kilometer (slightly more than half a mile) and terminates at a ferry).  Or you can go back in the direction of Trondheim (the way we came).  Or you can take the third option.  This third option was what I chose.  And this was the first sight that greeted me:

 Aug 3 2012b- Really there ought to be some caption here, but what can one say?

Aug 3 2012c-  It only took 10 minutes to get to the end of the road, which terminated at one of the many vacation houses in the area.  This was the view from that spot.

Aug 3 2012d-  In between the vacation houses, the landscape is very glacial.  Or formerly glaciated.  You know what I mean.

Aug 3 2012e-  You'd think you were up in the mountains and not right at sea level.

Aug 3 2012f-  Even in the midst of this non-summer, there are lots of little alpine flowers.

Aug 3 2012g  Another flower.

Aug 3 2012h-  And some more flowers.

Aug 3 2012i-  A little treehouse.

Aug 3 2012j- A pleasant sight at the side of the road.

Aug 3 2012k- Low tide at the full moon near the inlet to the Bay of Hopavagen.  The big ship must be heading in to Trondheim.

Aug 3 2012l-  Our nearest neighbor's house.  The roof is awesome.

After breakfast, all the work began, as mentioned earlier.  The final 12 mesocosm bags had to be deployed and there were lots of little fiddly things to do in terms of setting things up for sampling and for the onsite analyses of samples.

Aug 3 2012m- Briva perfecting our nutrient delivery system.

Aug 3 2012n-  The "cod end" of one of our vertical haul nets for collecting zooplankton.  The nylon mesh has openings of 200 or 250 µm (I forget which).  The water can flow out, but the zooplankton cannot.  They collect in the the bottom piece, the aforementioned cod end.  This is not a normal cod end, but one put together by our very own Philippe (who, strangely, given the choice between fieldwork in Palau and fieldwork in Norway this August, chose Palau.  It's hard to imagine why). The stone is just for weight, so the net tends to stay properly vertical while you are hauling it back up.

Aug 3 2012o-  Time to load NOC's bags into the car for transport down the hill to the water.

Aug 3 2012p-  Once again Richard is our fashion leader.

Aug 3 2012q-  Briva's attentions have turned to setting up the plankton net.

Aug 3 2012r-  Manon modeling the finished nutrient delivery hose.

Aug 3 2012s-  The sediment traps are starting to take shape (these are upside down at the moment, as obviously the top needs to be open if they are to stand any chance at all of collecting anything sedimenting out).

Aug 3 2012t- Hey!  Look what appeared.  The cook must have taken note that with several people here who have been corrupted by some time spent living in England, we were drinking tea like there was no tomorrow.  In the immortal words of the apple cinnamon muesli box, Great!

Aug 3 2012u-  Really, the cook gets 5 stars today.  Since trying to pour out and precisely measure 1.8 L of nutrient solution per mesocosm turned out to be slow and challenging while standing in the boat, we asked if he had some bottles we could borrow.  OK, they only hold 1.5 L, but we can adjust the concentration of our nutrient solutions.  We have two types, one with nitrate and phosphate only (the Pepsi Max bottles), and ones with nitrate, phosphate, and silicate (the full fat Coke bottles).

Aug 3 2012v-  Fresh salmon for dinner (I watched the cook scaling the massive fish this afternoon).  I don't eat fish, myself, but I was fascinated by two things on this platter: the impressive bundles of muscle fiber in the body of the fish and the funny little towering curlicue for decoration.  The chef not only makes excellent food and takes very good care of his one vegetarian (I may need to buy new pants (i.e. trousers) soon), but he always embellishes the plates with delightful garnish.

Aug 3 2012w-  Yay!  After dinner I finally got out to the mesocosms.  Aren't they beautiful, all those bags each full of 7000 liters of water, phytoplankton and zooplankton and all.  In this picture, Morten is hanging out his special "gel trap", designed to gentle collect sinking particles in some sort of gel, retaining the 3-D structure of what is sinking.  Juli and I (behind the camera) are gearing up to fish out the larger zooplankton (copepods, ctenophores, and appendicularians, mainly) from half of our mesocosms.

Aug 3 2012x-  Juli and a plankton net.

We stayed out there until nearly 11:30 that night; there were A LOT of mesozooplankton in the bags (so many evil, voracious comb jellies).  Also we had to add nutrients to all the bags (Morgane and Briva did half the bags and Richard and I did the other half). Also Richard and Sari came out to hang their first 7 sediment traps just to see what kind of material flux we might get once we start the experiment.

But this is where the photos end for today.  It was too hard to keep pulling the camera in and out of a zippered pocked that was sitting under a life vest when my hands were soaking wet and cold.

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