Running up and down

Author: Giulia Faucher

Pictures: Giulia Faucher, Carl Lim & Julieta Schneider

At the station, if you see 2, 3 or even 4 people running up and down from the lab to a blue incubator box and vice versa, several times every day, that’s us: the side experiment team!

Indeed, not only the main experiment with the mesocosms, but several side experiments are running in parallel during the campaign.

The vibe in this group is always good and most of the time full of excitement! What do we do? Looking at the preliminary results from the mesocosms we adapt our research to go deeper into more specific details of OAE. In doing so, we discuss a lot, we change plans many times, and we re-adapt our scientific questions.

Our primary focus is on how OAE could be applied in the real world, searching for threshold values where alkalinisation is becoming less efficient or damaging for the phytoplankton community.

The side experiments are performed using fjord and/or mesocosm waters and after our manipulations, our bottles are kept in an incubator box with blue foils outside. The foils help to keep the right light in the incubators, mimicking the light intensity that occurs in the surface water of the fjord and the mesocosms. And inside the incubator, there’s a continuous flow of water pumped from 40m depth from the fjord. I can assure you: it’s incredibly cold and it’s not always pleasant to put our hands inside the box to search for our numerous bottles!

Another important aspect of the side experiments is that they could last a few days, and this is allowing us to re-adjust the approach and/or perform several experiments one after the other or perform “shot experiments” that last only 48h when we need specific data.

So far, we collected a big number of data…but stay tuned: a few more experiments are running, and we are looking forward to knowing more about the potential of OAE!

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