Microscopic Communities Research Team

Korenna Estes Student Posts 1 Comment

It is July 23rd, 2019 and we are here on the icebreaker Oden in the Canadian Arctic just above Dundas Harbor. I started my morning by waking up to chunks of ice outside my window. The view from my bunk is spectacular, although the constant sunlight is still an adjustment to wake up and sleep to everyday. Outside my window, there was a lot of birds, specifically the fulmar, swooping along the ocean and out into the morning fog. As of today, there has been no sign of polar bears. I’m hopeful we will be able to see one soon.

Here on the Oden, there are four groups conducting research on four topics. The Physics Operations team, Greenhouse Gas Chemistry, Marine Birds and Mammals, and the best team, Microscopic communities! (Just kidding, all groups are awesome) Every other day all science groups have contributed into collecting water samples from a device called the CTD Rosette (Conductivity, Temperature, and depth), in my group (Microscopic Communities) we use these water samples to look at phytoplankton and zooplankton communities under the microscopes. We also use light treatments in our samples, which stimulates change in ice cover or advection across ice habitats. This helps us to look at what possible changes plankton communities are susceptible to. We hope to compare plankton communities from diverse habitats in the Arctic and to also identify them! Other groups may use the water samples to collect other information such as isotopic information, methane, methane oxidation, nutrients, DNA, etc.

Besides conducting experiments, we have all been busy with other activities. Two days ago we made a visit to Pond Inlet, an indigenous community located in Nunavut. The community in Nunavut were very welcoming once we landed via helicopter. (Yes, a helicopter!) I was able to talk to a few of the community members and felt welcomed instantly. I had a brief conversation with a girl named Lea about her land and exchanged words on each other’s appearance. I also discussed with her the research we’re doing and she informed me all about her community. Communicating with the people from Nunavut was a very warming experience and I hope to visit again soon, by sharing each other’s knowledge we can make important connections and distribute information.

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    How cool to hear about such a warm reception by the Nunavut people. And I love learning new words and will explore “advection”. Very wonderful experience!

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