Day 8 of the mesocosm experiment & I’m already starting to resemble a zombie – so much so, that I apparently failed to notice that there was an earthquake this morning! In mitigation, the tremor probably occurred in the short time that Tanya (my sampling assistant for this morning) & I were in the car driving back from releasing my incubation bottles. Also, as I often have 2 vacuum pumps running simultaneously, the ground in the lab often feels a bit rumbly!!
The reason for my zombie-like state is that I’m alternately arriving in the lab at either 5.30 or 6.15 am. This is in order for me to measure certain processes within the nitrogen cycle – for this experiment, nitrogen fixation & ammonium regeneration.
Samples should ideally be taken before sunrise (my earlier start time) prior to the start of light-driven processes. Samples are then dosed with 15N & placed back in the tanks for as close to 24 hour incubations as is possible. Retrieval the next morning (my slightly later start time) should again be before sunrise & the start of any secondary processes.
It soon became apparent that
a) I was the only person with a regular requirement for pre-dawn sampling &
b) There was no way I was going to be able to transport around 36 litres of water to & from the mesocosms by myself
Operation Find-A-Sampling-Partner began! Understandably, people aren’t keen on the idea of arriving at work at a time when most sane people are still asleep!
However, a rota has been drawn up with people who have been kind enough not only to assist me with my sampling, but to also pick me up from my hotel in order to avoid a walk in the dark.
My grateful thanks go to those who have already given up their time & those who still have a pre-dawn start to come!!