Thursday, August 21, 2014

8/21/2014: Calcein in da Moonlight

Like Gov. Rick Perry, Norwegians too exercise with firearms
Thursday AM is here. So is the advent of goose season here on Ingoya, which started at midnight last night. Beware of smiling Norwegians peddling by with 10 gauge shotguns strapped to their back. Be even more aware of colleagues glueing feathers to your day pack. Regardless, Thorleif warned us that today is when "the war" starts at 5 pm (so nice to have a little taste of home). Hunting hours here on Ingoya go from 5 PM to 9 AM and no, I did not reverse the times. It gets dark here now more and more rapidly each day and to mourn the loss of sunshine, hunters go boldly into the twilight to lay waste to foul and the changing of the seasons. No more midnight walks…
Ingoya provideth
This morning currently consists of coffee and figuring out the day, along with recapping late last night because the blog system shuts downs at 10 PM (that is a lie, but I do). Much of our dinner came from within only a few miles of Ingoya with the Thorleif's crab, Muscles picked off the rocks a few minutes walk away by Maddie, and a dessert of Molte berries and cream scavenged from the fields by Irene. Will assured me that it doesn't get more Norwegian than Molte berries and cream. 
Molte, also called 'Cloud' berries with cream 
With dinner taken care of there was one last piece of work to take care of. Rob and Irene have been "right out straight" as we say in Maine, servicing the lander equipment and experimental clams for redeployment. 
A clam removed from the live experiments happening in the lander 
Rob working on the lander clams, carefully applying epoxy
Their sunset task was now to bath the clams in a chemical solution of Calcein, a fluorescent green solution. The point of this process is to create a known time marker in the clam's shell to be used later on as reference. The way it works is the clams ingests the solution and incorporates it into its tissue. It then mineralizes it into an accretion of shell growth. This layer is now Calcein laced and can be identified as a very discrete band under a fluorescent microscope. The clams are then redeployed, the Calcein in their system is flushed and we have a lasting, recognizable marker of August 21, 2014 that will serve as reference in studying the clam's growth with normal shell growth continuing afterward. 
Sunset but there is still work to do
The fluorescent glow of a mixture of the chemical Calcein and sea water under a flash bulb's light. 
Al and Rob preparing the clams
Oh look, still setting, back to the science, sorry
Irene applying the clam's ectoplasmic bath
Here is an except from Ambrose et. al. 2012. This is a paper on  "Growth Line Deposition" in Polar Biology completed by members of our group Will Ambrose and Michael Carroll with other polar sclerochronolgists. The discrete Calcein layer is clearly visible in the cross section of clam shell under fluorescent microscope. A sedimentologist would call this a marker bed, some physical indicator that clearly defines a point in time, which is very useful for understanding depositional rates in high resolution. 
What today will bring is still up in the air but the weather appears to be improving starting soon. Big boat? Small boat? I'll let ya know. 

Also: be sure to check out the 'SIPERG' blog, a sister blog from this trip being kept by Al and Maddie from Iowa state.  Great info and great pictures definitely worth clicking the link below.

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