The weather was better yesterday, but we still did not get out of McMurdo Station due to the backlog of helo flights from Friday and over the weekend. We are on the helicopter manifest for today, but now it’s snowing, windy, and there’s low visibility. If some nicer weather returns this afternoon, we may still get to the field today.

View from the helicopter while flying into F6. Photo: Ashley Shaw

View from the helicopter while flying into F6. Photo: Ashley Shaw

Later today (or maybe tomorrow), we will be going to the F6 site near Lake Fryxell to treat the stoichiometry experiment. The stoichiometry experiment was designed to help understand which elements are the most limiting to Antarctic soil communities. Additionally, this experiment looks at how landscape history (both Nitrogen deposition and Phosphorus weathering) affects the response of soil organisms to nutrient additions. We have two contrasting sites: Fryxell lake basin and Bonney lake basin. At the Fryxell site (that will be treated today), soils have high native Phosphorus content, but low Carbon and Nitrogen. Contrastingly, the Bonney site soils have high native Nitrogen content, but low Carbon and Phosphorus. We plan to go to Bonney for treatment in a few days.

Treatments are:

  1. Control – nothing added
  2. Control – water added
  3. Nitrogen added
  4. Phosphorus added
  5. Carbon added
  6. Carbon and Nitrogen added
  7. Carbon and Phosphorus added

First we prepared all of the treatments described above in the lab. This consists of filling carboys with water plus the nutrient that needs to be added. We take these out to the field with us and add these solutions to the treatment plots.

Prepared stoichiometry treatments line the hallway of the Crary Lab waiting to be deployed to the field. Photo: Ashley Shaw

Prepared stoichiometry treatments line the hallway of the Crary Lab waiting to be deployed to the field. Photo: Ashley Shaw

Next week, some people from our group will head back out to Fryxell and Bonney to measure soil respiration, or the amount of CO2 coming out of the soils. This gives us an idea of the level of biological activity in the soil and the treatment effects on this biological activity.

Written by: Ashley Shaw

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