As Zorigto is probably too busy to make a new message for the blog, I was very pleased to receive a mail from René Robert, from the Station. Last year, René has been our field guide for the first excursions that we did, but he did many more things: setting up our tents, showing us how to use crampons, skidoos, how to walk on ice, etc… in a very friendly way. He knows the mountains very well, as he is from Chamonix (Alps, France), and he is a skilled photographer (firstname.lastname@example.org). The pictures that are on the official blog of the Station (http://www.antarcticstation.org/?&lg=en) are generally made by him. So, I cannot resist to share with you his beautiful pictures. Merci René! Annick
Here you can see Josef scratching the green material on a stone into a sterile bag. By microscopy, it will be possible to identify which organisms are present, but there could be lichens, algae, cyanobacteria, bacteria, etc.
Zorigto is walking in a windscoop.
This year, they returned to Ketelersbreen. Last year, René and Jeroen had made nice pictures of a mother Petrel with her chick. At the same place, this year, René found again a mother and child. In his blog of 2009, Jeroen was describing the petrels, and I include his text again here. "The area was a breeding site for Snow Petrel and we found many dead chicks, it seemed a feast for hungry Skua’s, cause here and there we saw the traces in the snow of feeding Skua’s. The Snow Petrel chicks that were still alive were so cute in their grey down feathers, a pity that many will not survive either, because it was already late in the season and the weather became too cold and snowy. I was fortunate to spot an adult bird between the stones and I could photograph it easily. What a beautiful bird it is, completely white apart from the black eyes, beak and foot. It is a magnificent view when you see the white silhouettes of these lovely birds against the azure skies, while flying above the mountains". (from the blog of Jeroen Van Wichelen (18/02/09)
In the places where Petrels are nesting, their guano is enriching the soil with nutrients and it is possible to see green algae with the naked eye. It is probably a kind of Prasiola, but this should be confirmed by microscopy.
Here, Josef is installing the OTCs. There are always two OTCs, and a control area without OTC but within the same biotope. Then, the microsensors are installed, to measure temperature and humidity.
Zorigto is taking samples, maybe from a mat. He is using sterile tubes with blue caps, and is busy writing all information in his field logbook. I recognize that he is using my green bag.