What is Antarctic science without experiments? Many projects will require special equipment to carry out your research, some can be bought but others you must make yourself. In this entry I will run over some of the equipment I will be using for my project this year. For more information please go to my webpage: http://ictar.aq/bratina%20ponds.php
The above picture shows three flow cells that I just received that will allow me to measure conductivity and pH as I take water samples from the Bratina Island ponds. The below picture is of my micro manipulator which I made for my last Bratina trip - this allows for a sampling tube to be lowered into the centre of the water column of a pond down to mm increments which with the changing water column is essential for my project. There is also a link to a pdf file of the entire sampling rig when set up which gives you an indication of how I take my samples without getting wet.
But why do I want to take water column samples from these ponds in the first place? The Bratina Island ponds are an amazing biological and geochemcial resource unlike any other on the planet. Due to their restricted biodiversity Bratina ponds provide a simple system in which to compare differences in populations based on geochemistry and physical parameters. The highly reduced food webs and sensitive nature of the populations to temperature make them the ideal candidate for global warming themed manipulation experiments. The reduced biodiversity makes it easier to monitor changes in the population allowing the development of a simple model which can be applied to the effects of warming on biodiversity in more complex Antarctic ecosystems. The ponds found on Bratina Island particualy show extreme heterogeneity within a localised area which allows for a rigorous investigation of environmental parameters that structure microbial populations.
I will be updating my webpage with more of the science to anyone interested in due course the link is: http://ictar.aq/bratina%20ponds.php