(All quiet on the Northern Front)
Quiet, my foot! Loads of good science going on at Hengill. The Americans and the english team are on the field almost daily, collecting data about the stream temperatures and their relationship with a broad range of ecological variables. Among the variables in study: primary productivity, decomposition, molluscan growth rates, invertebrate richness and diversity. In the meantime, Nikolai and Dean are carrying on lab experiments on the metabolism of snails collected from streams of different temperatures.
(more on what’s going on from the American side: blog)
The Protist Microteam, that is, Katarina and me, is doing fine. Katarina survived to the initial frustration of dealing with natural protist communities (“What the hell is this? These tiny hairy blobs all look the same. Bloody microscopes! Can’t we get better ones?”) and quickly became a skilled protist-spotter. The good thing is, she does not trust me when I say so, so she keeps trying harder and getting better. The characterization of the streams’ microbial diversity has now gone on for a week, more than a few rock and sediment samples has been processed and we found plenty of beautiful bugs. We are quickly recording a lot of good data, which will hopefully unveil a new interesting piece of Hengill’s ecological puzzle.
Lots of people come and go. Guy unfortunately went back to Qeen Mary University after staying here a few days only. On the other hand, Owen is in Reykjavik for a week! After many talks and endless stories of Hengill’s countless marvels, he finally managed to come and see the area with his own eyes. We have already been on the field together, setting temperature recorders in the streams that were not surveyed yet. To obtain an overview as complete as possible of the huge “Hengill Project”, he is joining the various teams on the field and helping them with the sampling. As he taught me, the best way to learn is by doing, so he is happily back to some good old hands-on, dipped-in-mud field ecology.
A break from science – happy ecologists at the Blue Lagoon