FENS and Tree Islands
Today we had our morning meeting and we discussed the days protocols and procedures. Our task was to go to several sites and collect organic matter samples and do a seedling survey of the areas as well. Our first site was called a FEN or wetland. As we exited the van we were immediately greeted by swarms of bugs-- black bugs, mosquitos, and bulldogs so we all donned our bug nets and proceeded with the days assignment. After a short walk through a stand of trees, we proceed through the standing water and you could see bubbles coming up in the water. Where do you think these bubbles came from? This were methane bubbles produced by anaerobic decompostion. We scattered out to pick random plots to sample.
After getting the samples back to the station, they were weighed and placed in a drying oven to remove the moisture, then they will be weighed again. Next we will take a small sample and place it in a muffle oven and heat it to 675* essentially burning it. The ashes will be removed and then weighed and the carbon content can be determined. Dr. Kershaw wants to try to determine the amount of carbon in the peatlands that can possibly decompose and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We are studying the trees to see if there is any type of shift in the treeline- that could be an indication that the climate is changing. He did note that a tree found here, the poplar, is increasing in number which could also indicate that something is going on.
We had a great lecture tonight on Glacial Geomorphology- Extra credit if you can tell me what palsas, pingos and polygonal peat plateaus are.
This is a great place- it has an observation dome in the roof! I haven't been able to see anything out of it but it was still neat to look through.