We have spent a decent amount of time retrieving and deploying various types of data loggers that measure temperature at set intervals. Why? Both Julia and I are interested in temperature as an abiotic factor controlling various biological processes- I am interested in the effects of temperature on insect physiology and species interactions and Julia wants to know how temperature affects carbon dynamics in the soil and vegetation.
Last August I deployed 14 temperature loggers in three different sites near Kangerlussuaq. I put loggers in streams and ponds, in the soil, and in the vegetation, not knowing for sure if they would survive the brutally cold and windy winter here in Greenland. I wrapped each dime-sized logger in parafilm for waterproofing, tied it off in the fingertip of a rubber glove, and sealed it tightly in a PVC container. I then used hose clamps and cable ties to attach them to tent stakes.
So, I was pretty excited when I went to one of the sites and easily found all of the loggers I deployed, and in good shape!
I ended up finding all 14 loggers! The data are downloaded onto the computer and are very useful for planning experiments and future research. I also plan to re-deploy them all in the same locations so that we can have continuous and long-term measurements of temperatures in the soil, air, and aquatic habitats here in Greenland.
Julia spent the past two days working with a slightly more sophisticated type of data logger. These neat little instruments have one logging apparatus and four sensors attached.
She digs a hole and inserts each sensor at different depths to record soil temperatures from the surface to about 30cm. Today on the north facing slope of Vulgaris Valley (Hollywood Hill) she reached permafrost (soil that is continuously frozen for 2+ years). Made for some difficult digging!
Data loggers can also measure other environmental variables such as moisture and humidity. All in all, the technology has come a long way and it is now rather inexpensive and requires very little effort to collect a lot of data in remote places such as Greenland.