Time for a science update
We've been working hard and it's time for an update...
Greetings everyone! It's been a couple weeks of incredibly hard work for the members of Bravo 134. We can barely make a fist! But here's an update on our recent progress.
As you may know, our research project has two components: one in the lab (the CO2 cultures and what not) and a field component (the SeaFET logger and water sampling at our study sites on the sea ice).
In the lab, the culturing of sea urchin embryos, in this case embryos of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, has been a huge success thus far. Started on November 4th, the embryos are now well into the gastrulation stage and we are busily testing their physiology and monitoring the development of the embryos as they grow up under present-day conditions and those of future oceans. Below is a picture of Paul examining the system. Here you can see three colors of tubing that are the lines that bring different concentrations of CO2 to the culture vessels: Blue = present day pCO2 of seawater in McMurdo Sound (~400-420 ppm CO2), yellow = an intermediate level at 500-550 ppm CO2, and finally the red = a higher level of ~750 ppm CO2. These different gas mixes are important to our research for different reasons - the higher levels reflect pCO2s and thus low pH levels that the Southern Ocean will reach under various predictions re: atmospheric CO2 levels. Notably, 450-500 ppm CO2 has been predicted as a 'tipping point' for Antarctic organisms, a level of CO2 and low pH that may be challenging for calcifying marine organisms.
Here is an example of one of the embryos from the culture - more on this soon!
In the field, we have been collecting water sample at the sites where we have deployed our SeaFET logger. Here are Pauline and Lydia in hot pursuit of a water sample in Fish Hut 12 at Cinder Cones! These water samples are then analyzed in the lab and used to determine how we set the control pCO2 (the Blue line described above) in our experimental setup in the Crary labs.
Miraculously, we have collected a daily sample(s) from our study sites every day since October 7th! Of course, this result is due largely to the tenacity and hard work of the group of nutballs shown below, the full contingent of Bravo 134. This photo was taken as we see Peggy off to her C-17 flight north on November 15th.
L to R: Emily Rivest, Lydia Kapsenberg, Pauline Yu, G. Hofmann, Paul Matson, Mary Sewell; Center: Peggy Lubchenco.