Monday, July 31, 2006

Stuck in the towers...
The other day I went to use the towers (above ground pit toilets) and it was so stinky that I was in quite a hurry. When I finished, I turned the deadbolt, and it wouldn't budge! I panicked since last year someone actually got stuck for quite a while before they were rescued. After what seemed like an eternity, I realized that the lock was already open- I had forgotten to lock the door in my rush. Such a dork...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cody eats fish smoothie

What scientists do for fun, or at least after losing a bet. And to think, I've actually had daquiris made in that blender...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Holy crap! I was almost run over by a pair of male caribou this afternoon! (There was no fence between us). I was headed to the porch for some reading and I heard some running behind me. Simone yells my name and I see the caribou headed straight for me. They veered away, but I stood practically pinned next to the truck until they passed by and regretted not bringing my camera with me. There are stray caribou all over the place today, and apparently the main herd is still hanging out by Jade. I'm a little nervous about walking back from sampling by myself tomorrow. They can run so fast over the tundra!

EDIT: David got some good pictures of them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A herd of caribou passed by the west side of Toolik today! It's the first time I've seen so many in one place, and I know it doesn't compare with the herds in ANWR. Luckily, I had just finished setting up my experiment for the day and was able to join the rest of the lab in taking a boat to the other side of the lake to get a closer look.
See if you can see them in the above picture full size- they are near the saddle in the center.

We also saw some new flowers, argued over berry identification and found this beautiful mushroom.

See, I do work too. Taken by Luke on July 18th while I was setting up an experiment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fiesta! In celebration of a birthday here, we made several pinatas. There was a caribou (pictured), a muskox head, a hot air balloon, and a penguin (because despite all the marketing, there are no penguins in the Arctic). I also made some maracas. We also had Mexican food for dinner with tres leches cake and this time they even made proper rice and a double batch of guacamole!

After the party, I went on a canoe trip with a lab mate. We spent some quality time with the pair of yellow-billed loons that live on Toolik and we saw one of the first sunsets of the summer. The yellow-billed loon, Gavia adamsii, is the largest and rarest of the loons. They have spindly little legs and generally stay on the water most of the time, diving for food.

The sunset was all the sweeter because yesterday was the first day in a very long time that has been sunny! We're expecting clouds and rain by tomorrow, so I'm enjoying the blue skies while I can.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Here's another picture of the wolf- a very classy shot taken by our head cook.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Finally! Some pictures to share. Here are the higlighters we used to decorate ourselves and the lab under blacklights (picture taken by a labmate).

This is the wolf that's been hanging around the camp- I saw him on a different day, this picture was taken by a labmate on their way back from a hike. We're not sure if the wolf brought down the caribou, but it sure looks content.

And last, but certainly not least, here is the fabulous "burning man" bonfire we had last night. It was a great deal of fun.

EDIT: the burning man was successful! The sun came out on Monday, and has so far stuck around on Tuesday!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today was my 13th trip, and 25th day, for an intensive thrice a summer synoptic sampling trip. To celebrate, I took many tundra naps and tooks lots of pictures of pretty flowers. This one is a harebell, Campanula rotundifolia.

These flowers had several flies crawling on them, answering the question of the dominant pollinators up here. There are all kinds of flies of different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, I'm no naturalist, so I can't even guess the identification. The flower is possibly a Bistort.

Again, we had looming clouds, with periodic rain. We've had very strange weather this year- short spurts of rain or snow, usually lasting less than a day. Here is another bistort, Bistorta bistortoides or maybe Valaria capitata.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yesterday we went a little bit upstream of "my" lake to do some bacterial habitat sampling. Check out the looming storm- it was right on top of us just a few minutes after I took this picture. There's nothing like being in the middle of nowhere with thunder and lightning! It passed over us quickly though, and those of us who thought to bring rain suits stayed fairly dry.

Last night I presented some of my research to camp and was followed by a Canadian grad student who does terrestrial microbial work. Now I'll be able to go back and fill in the proper names to some of the flowers I've been photographing all summer. This one is a yellow arnica, Arnica angustifolia.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today I went on a survey sampling trip with my advisor, collaborator, and a high school teacher. We spent the day hopping from lake to lake in the helicopter. The day started off pretty cold- my fingers still hurt. It cleared up a bit into a gorgeous day, but it was windy at the higher altitude we were sampling at. I'm going to sleep well tonight!

Here are a few more pics of some of the lakes we visited:

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The finished product... Amanda was the evil ground squirrel that was later unmasked by the gang. I assume you can guess the other characters.
Unfortunately, the helicopter crew beat us out for best float, but we had too much fun to care. There were quite a few ingenious costumes including lake sampling equipment (rubber raft, secchi disk, syringe, net, etc.), sauna rules (no talking shop, no boats, don't use Adrian's towel, etc.), and the Queen of the Lake (Codi as the mermaid queen on a litter with lobsters, fish, plankton).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July is tomorrow. Every year, each lab decides on a theme and dresses up in costumes. Then there is a parade with much fanfare and "awards" given out. I've been told that I will be Velma. Apparently our lab is on a mystery kick, since last year we did Clue. Time to dig out my turtleneck and knee-highs!