lundi 8 février 2010

Work in Schirmacher Oasis

Dear all,
Finally, the weather has improved enough, so that Josef and myself could start our sampling expeditions and Elie and Steve could start the coring of lake sediments.
We have sampled near Lake Melkoye, spied by a curious skua.
The skuas are very daring and if you turn your head, they can steal things in your backpack, a bit like the magpies. The Commander told us that he has found in their nest, metallic pieces that they just had stolen from him! So, beware!

We have observed much more 'green flakes' and biofilms in this Oasis than at the Belgian Station. The conditions are clearly milder and better for the development of the microorganisms. In addition, the abundance of the mosses is striking. It seems that they occupy the terrestrial biotopes as soon as there is a bit of humidity.

On the stones that are under water, we can see a thick biofilm, with a quite orange colour, a bit hairy-like.

The hardest work was still to come. In order to core, Steve and Elie needed a lot of heavy equipment. As the Oasis is ice-free, there was no possibility to go with a skidoo and a sledge to the lakes. Everything had to be transported in the backpacks. Eventually, Steve and Elie lured us into helping to transport their material in exchange for a honorary membership of the Belgian Society of Paleolimnology! We could not resist such a great honour, and sweated happily for this reward!
Very tired, I wish you a good night! Zorigto

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