Now that we’re here in McMurdo (yes! we made it!), our thoughts are focused on getting out into the field so we can start collecting and processing soil samples. But getting out into the field isn’t simple. First, every member of our team needs to have all the appropriate safety training. For us newbies on the team, this meant Snow School (also known as Happy Camper).
One of our first views of the continent!
For the past two days, our group of 10 Happy Campers discussed risk assessment and cold injuries, practiced setting up tents and building snow walls, and learned how to communicate on the continent’s radio system. We headed out to our camping site and set to work creating our cozy home — complete with kitchen table and private sleeping areas. Since I wanted a new winter sleeping experience, I decided to dig my own snow trench (it is exactly what it sounds like). After many hours of grueling shoveling, I had a hole in snow big enough to sit up in (without hitting my head on the roof) and long enough to fit my sleeping bag. What a warm and cozy night it was!
Digging my snow trench was exhausting work, but ultimately worth the effort!
During our two days out, we were blessed with clear skies and beautiful views of Mt. Erebus, Mt. Discovery, and the Royal Society Range.
Our campsite with beautiful mountains in the distance.
Looking out toward the mountains made me even more excited to head out to the Dry Valleys and see more of this continent! Our first day of field work will hopefully be on Tuesday, but we still have a lot of work to do before heading out. Setting up the lab, organizing our food and gear, a few more training videos….
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Knoxville, Tennessee hosted the 2012 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The theme this year was A Global Society for a Global Science. Many of the sessions highlighted the latest research on how global change will impact insects as pollinators, pests of agricultural and forest systems, and vectors of disease.
Zak Gezon and I presented our research that falls within this theme. Zak shared his results from a study of how collecting bees for scientific studies affects native bee populations.
[Zak and his bee net near Gothic, Colorado. Photo credit: Jess Welch]
Pollination biologists collect hundreds of bees every year to count and identify for important studies such as climate impacts on pollinator phenology (more on this in the future from Zak). Given significant concerns about global pollinator decline, it’s necessary to think about how collecting bees for these studies may affect native bee populations. The highly-anticipated results of Zak’s study are good news for scientists, as they suggest so far that the number of bees collected have negligible effects on bee populations.
I shared the Arctic perspective in a symposium titled “Aquatic Entomology as a Measure of Global Changes.”
[Lauren on stage, talking about insects. Photo credit: Ramsa Chaves-Ulloa.]
The highlight was sharing my latest data on climate effects on mosquito abundance. Turns out, and consistent with local knowledge, a warm and wet spring ups the number of mosquitoes that survive to emerge. I also shared some preliminary data on mosquito fecundity, or how many eggs a female mosquito will lay. With the help of some very tolerant lab assistants, we counted the numbers of eggs in hundreds of mosquitoes collected from Kangerlussuaq this spring.
[The maximum number of eggs counted from one mosquito is... 122!]
In addition to sharing science, being at these meetings provides an opportunity to meet and talk with entomologists from around the world.
[Some very excited entomologists, including Zak Gezon (second from right) and Ramsa Chaves-Ulloa (right) from Dartmouth's EEB graduate program.]
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This term we welcomed the fourth and final Dartmouth IGERT cohort to our clan. We thought that a great way to welcome them would be to create a scavenger hunt that would take them across Dartmouth campus, finishing with a group dinner with cohorts 1, 2 & 3.
And the scavenger hunt begins….
The scavenger hunt started in the Arctic library and took cohort 4 to various important places across campus: Thayer engineering building, Ross Virginia’s office, to the Steffansson collection at the Rauner Library, and to the new Life Sciences Center.
Cohort 4 completes a task of the scavenger hunt by taking a photo on the green with no feet (or hooves!) on the ground.
The scavenger hunt culminated with a fun dinner with all cohorts present.
Ross Virginia with all of the IGERT cohorts. A great way to kick of the new term!
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