Hi! My name is Ms. Harsh. Please join me as I travel to Churchill Canada to study climate change.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FENS and Tree Islands





Hey guys,

The weather here is highly variable. The last couple of days were cold and rainy and then today it was warm and rainy. I decided that I like the cold and windy better! When it is cold and windy the mosquitos and black flies don't bother you, but as soon as the wind stops - here they come. We had to wear bug nets all day today! They obscure your vision somewhat and make it a little harder to get your work done.

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.


We had a unique way of selecting our plots. You take your shovel and throw it as far as you can and where ever it lands that is where you dig. Our team dug three pits and took soil samples from 0-10 cm, 10-20 and 20-30 cm below the surface. We had to be very careful and make sure that everyone was following the same protocols. We had special way that we have to label each sample- site name, group, date, and pit number depth. It is very hard to do all of this in the rain. We also have to take pictures with the information on a board. DATA, lots and and lots of DATA. We repeated this same procedure at another site called TIS- tree island. We acutally found some seedlings here, they were but a mere 1 cm and they were 2 years old.

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.

2 Comments:

At September 10, 2009 at 2:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is awsome john

 
At September 10, 2009 at 3:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really weierd looking plants,what kind of plants are they.

 

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