Friday, June 14, 2013

Rain, rain, go away...

Posted by: Katy

The rain here has been almost constant since last week, causing most of the dirt roads that we use to access our sites to turn into mud pits, and even entirely flooding our Mariana Lakes site (think underwater boardwalks!). Needless to say, this has thrown a wrench in our regular field work schedule, leaving us to try and do as much as we can at the three sites (out of ten) that we are still able to access. Because we are beginning our new NSF project, there is plenty of setup left to do still; yesterday a small faction of our crew headed out to place groundwater collection devices in the plots at two of our new sites, a process which involves digging a hole half a meter into the peat.
Cara digs a hole for the sipper. 
Placing the sipper into the peat!

This is a quick process if the ground isn't frozen, but as luck would have it, both of our Wagon Wheel bogs still have quite a thick ice layer, and we'll have to wait for the ice to thaw (or come back with a bigger tool) to place all of our water sippers.
I hit an ice sheet, sadness ensues.
Luckily, all was not lost! We still managed to place more than half of our sippers, and spent a good deal of time exploring the bogs in search of interesting moss species. Since we can't set up our normal experiments due to weather, the N-fixation crew is testing every species we can find for fixation potential. Our search for unusual moss species led us all throughout the Wagon Wheel bogs, as well as to a rich fen off of the 813 Highway, which to me looked like some kind of enchanted forest straight out of a fairy tale. In the end, we brought home plenty of feather mosses that we haven't studied before - definitely a great diversion in the midst of this dreary weather!

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