Friday, 23 September 2016 17:32

Icy moss gardens

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After a few days in the field collecting moss samples and becoming familiar with the many types of moss species living on King George Island, we had enough to begin experimenting in the lab.

Sharon and I set up our samples into cute moss plugs wrapped in foil to test changes in photosynthetic activity, chlorophyll and metabolites within five species at a variety of temperatures. We cooled and heated our moss garden using water baths, from 4 to 32 °C. To maintain the low temperatures we used ice - conveniently plentiful and located directly outside! It was nice having the ice machine so close by. In addition to temperature stressing the moss, Sharon and I had our share of cold and hot hours spent inside cold or hot rooms and over icy or steaming water, the latter Sharon more so than I.

Moss garden

On Saturday our group divided into two: one to head to Collins Glacier and one to Ardley Island to simultaneously set up temperature loggers in the moss. Sharon, Andrew and I were in the 'Ardley' group and after a couple of days of poor weather, snow cover made it very difficult to locate the different moss species in the field. Luckily, with the help of sun and strong winds, we were able to identify suitable sites in the small mossy outcrops. On a sunny day like this, some of these mosses can reach temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s (°C). This is similar to what the Robinson Group have recorded at Casey Station.

Ardley snowcovered

Chori logger

I'll be boarding the Navy ship whenever it arrives sometime tonight and will be off to venture to neighbouring islands.

Read 2027 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 18:46
Sharon Robinson

Senior Professor at University of Wollongong