dimanche 19 décembre 2010

Preparation of the trip to Princess Elisabeth Station

In October, Zorigto was packing the big box, where several kilos of material were placed. This box was transported to the army logistic center by Marie-José Mano and finally sent by ship. The box contained spare parts for the Open Top Chambers, as we realised last year that they were quite fragile in the cold conditions: the plastic became very breakable. He also took a geologist’ hammer.

Another work for the preparation was the improvement of the experimental device for the measurement of the photosynthetic efficiency of the microbial biofilms with the fluorometer. Two types of improvements were carried out:
1) The company Photon System Instrument has made two changes. The first is to make a special compartment for the batteries linked with a cable to the instrument. This allows to keep the batteries warm under the jacket. Otherwise, in the cold, the batteries empty very quickly. The second change was to add a remote control, so that Zorigto does not need to lie on the ground and push buttons. These were very practical changes, that will facilitate the measurements of the daily cycles.

2) Zorigto decided to make a small measurement chamber, with an opening that would fit the FluoPen. He made two versions, one without walls and one with plastic walls. The purpose of the latter is to obtain a temperature increase in the chamber and study the effect on the photosynthetic efficiency. It all started with a pen and paper, and the chamber was kindly made by the technicians of the General Workshop of Mechanics of the Faculty of Sciences, Michel Leroy et Michel Colin, that we thank for their helpfulness and efficiency!.

Drawing of the chamber and calculation of the surfaces

Model in carboard

Prototypes with the sensors and a coin for the scale

Gradual development of the measurement chambers

To improve the design, we have benefited from the help and brainstorming of Josef Elster (http://www.ibot.cas.cz/index.php?p=lide&id=31) and Thomas Hájek (http://www.butbn.cas.cz/hajek/index.php), from the Institute of Botany in Trebon, Czech Republic. Zorigto and myself have spent there two weeks in August 2010 in the frame of a bilateral cooperation between Wallonie-Brussels-International and the Czech Republic.
Thomas testing the Aquapen on a plant leaf and a cyanobacterial culture
Josef, Zorigto and Thomas brainstorming

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