The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
Waikato Home Waikato Home
Staff + Student Login

January 2012 Archives

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Two hours after writing the last sentence, Adrian and Fiona returned to camp with mites. It’s alive! Amongst melt streams at the face of a hanging glacier halfway up the valley, the geologist and soil scientist found the first reported invertebrates in the southern PCMs. Mites are less than a millimetre in size and quite difficult to spot. After the first discovery, we have found them at a number of different sites throughout the area, liquid water seeming to be the major determinant of mite presence.

Below: Adrian walking back into Accidental Valley after a day of mite hunting to the north.

IMG_0241.JPG

| | Comments (0)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas from the Mawson Escarpment.
Firstly I would like to offer a public apology, in two parts, to my new hero, and future lord and master, Capt. Adrian Corvino PhD; one for spelling his name wrong in previous posts, and for lacking faith in his predictions as to conditions here in Accidental Valley (more on this soon).
Below: Jeremy (Helicopter engineer) sending off a sling-load of gear to Accidental Valley camp.
 
 Thumbnail image for IMG_1197.JPG

 

| | Comments (0)

 Made it home last night at about 9pm. We left Scott base for the airfield pegaus at about 12.30pm and after seeing a couple of Emperor penguins along the road we made it to the staging area. After waiting for a couple of hours, seeing the C17 fly in and be unloaded at about 4am we were shuffled into the plane eventually getting to Christchurch around 10am.

| | Comments (0)

Day 5 began as usual however this time instead of sampling a few ponds to high resolution, we were wanting to sample many ponds with only one sample per pond. There are about 48 mapped ponds around the Bratina study site, about 20 are relatively well studied, another 8 are huge or frozen almost all year and the remaining are only visited from time to time. Our goal was to take the remaining 32 filters I had and sample as many ponds as possible, taking a conductivity, temperature and pH reading from each pond as well as drawing its approximate shape and size and logging its gps coordinates.

P1170187.JPG

| | Comments (0)

After the mammoth effort of day 3 (we got back to camp 8.30pm, had dinner and were processing samples until 1-2am) we decided to leave for our last pond an hour later so at 10am we began our journey to what we believed was called Egg pond and we now are sure is Huey, but regardless to its name it gave us the most amazing results yet.

| | Comments (0)

Into the sampling, Saturday the 14th! What I had spent the last year preparing for had finally come, we were on Bratina Island with the primary purpose of collecting samples for my PhD (thanks again to Antarctica New Zealand and the University of Waikato for funding this project!). The first thing we had to do was lug the equipment to the first site, Legin pond and although this was only about 1km away the terrain was not exactly easy! Imagine a dusty quarry, nothing but hills and in sub zero temperatures, then add in making your way across 2 tide cracks in 50m thick ice (see picture below) definitely a great experience. Although the tide crack did present a risk we had already discussed them, knew where they were and knew to be careful of them.
IMG_3467.JPGP1170200.JPG

| | Comments (0)

We flew into Bratina at about 11am on Friday the 13th (picture of once we landed below), the weather was clear and beautiful and Bratina was looking at its best. The first job for me was to collect soil samples from around the camp before we had been there too long. The point of these samples is to determine what human bioindicators remain in the soil around the camp (if any) after researchers have been there so the first thing I needed to do was see if there is any trace from the last 20 years of research on Bratina before we put our genetic mark on the landscape. Once we did that we set up camp (tents, cooking facilities, science gear where it needed to be, lab set up, personal gear stowed, generators hooked up, huts cleaned etc etc etc.

IMG_3420.JPG

| | Comments (0)

Hi All, well this is the 3rd time that I have tried to write an entry since I got back on thursday evening, although we have internet down here it is slow dialup with constant crashes and freezing! how did we ever survive! But anyway the trip was a great success with 384 samples collected from 40 ponds as well as a number of other soil, sediment and bulk water samples collected. The weather was great (for Antarctica) with snow only on our pull out day. Below is a picture of Bratina Island and in case you forgot here is the link to the webpage.

Thumbnail image for IMG_3405.JPG

| | Comments (0)

Hi all, well this should be my last communication before we are back from the field, we leave for Bratina Island at 2.20pm and 4.20pm (there are two helicopter flights down). After over a year of planning and preparation we are finally at crunch time!

| | Comments (0)

Yet another beautiful day in Antarctica and we are almost through the prep work to go into the field, so much so that we will be heading out a day early Thursday instead of Friday.

| | Comments (0)

Hi all, this is Stephen Archer currently writing to you from Scott base, Antarctica. Myself, Associate Professor Ian McDonald and Canterbury PhD student Sean Waters are getting ready for my project sampling the Bratina Island ponds.

Thumbnail image for Stephen Archer
| | Comments (2)