Land of the midnight photosynthesis

And just like that, our field work is more than halfway done! We arrived back in Nuuk after 6 nights at the Kobbefjord field station. While Kobbefjord isn’t far from Nuuk (25 km or so – about a half an hour boat ride), it’s nice to wake up and have the stream we’re monitoring (as well as a stunning view of the fjord and 500 m waterfalls) right outside the window. Plus, we got to stay in the very “hyggeligt ” hut built by the Greenlandic Institute of Natural Resources that serves as the base for one of the three major Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring field sites.

Happy stream algae

Staying near the monitoring stream was particularly convenient because part of our strategy includes high-frequency stream water sampling (every three hours for about 2 days). Along with data from sensors logging at 15-minute intervals, we’re hoping water samples will capture changes in stream water chemistry from day to night due to the combined impacts of photosynthesis and respiration. Our whole water sampling procedure took about 20 minutes from start to finish, leaving us plenty of time to hunt for wild blueberries during the day, while the nighttime sampling times gave us the chance to see what the landscape looks like during the brief interval the sun is technically “set” between 11:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m.

We start our second trip to Kobbefjord tomorrow and are hoping for good weather. For us, good weather means enough sun to drive photosynthesis during the day and enough wind to keep the swarms of mosquitoes and black flies at bay!

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