Experimenting as we go

Over the past few days at Finse Alpine Research Station, our University of Leeds Team have been collecting benthic cobbles and water from our 12 river sites, which span a gradient of glacial influence from 0-85%. Our aim (aside from weight training), is to determine how benthic respiration rates alter along this continuum.

The Hardangervidda Plateau, where our 12 sites are located

Back at the station, we have been incubating our samples in cylindrical plastic mesocosms, at a fixed temperature. Here our Piccolo2 probe (http://www.pyro-science.com/piccolo2-optical-oxygen-meter.html) is used to measure reductions in dissolved oxygen concentration.

Ex-situ mesocosm incubation of river water and cobbles

Following incubation, we began tin foil origami, carefully wrapping up each rock. A regression of foil weight was used to estimate active surface area.

Benthic cobbles and the tin foil masks used to estimate their surface area

Then, it was back to those trusty toothbrushes, as a sub-sample of each rock was scrubbed and the biofilm collected and frozen. This will enable biofilm biomass estimates, following calculation of ash free dry mass, back in the lab at Leeds.

Biofilm sampling equipment

Our next few days will be spent collecting further samples for incubation and attempting to be equally experimental with our remaining tins of chopped tomatoes.






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