Notes from the Arctic – Lab Day August 26th, 2010

Hi All,

Just finishing-up here in Barrow today.  Today was a big day of processing all the samples that we collected yesterday.  Our general strategy for this trip is to alternate between sample collection days and sample processing days.

Again we woke up to foggy skies and moderate temperatures (low 40’s), but today the wind was blowing 20-25 knots (23-29 miles per hour).  The Bronk group actually did have some field plans this morning; they were hoping to travel by boat to the mouth of the Mead River to collect humic rich water.  Their goal is to collect local humics for their experiments.  Currently they are using Nordic humics in their studies so having materials from around here would probably be a little more relevant.  However, after hemming and hawing about whether it was safe to go today, we finally decided not too.  Probably a very wise decision.  However, I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to tag along to help and sightsee.  Alas, good sense prevailed and we all stayed on shore processing samples.  Me and Victoria extracted our RNA samples leaving the DNA samples for processing at home.  Because RNA is so unstable, we have to process them as soon as possible or risk losing them to degradation so we’ve set-up a mini molecular biology laboratory here to do the job.  The Bronk group (Debbie, Quinn, and Rachel) “filtered like the wind” processing 56 samples that had incubated 24 hours.  The Yager group (Tara and Karrie), who were up most of the night last night were back at it all day processing their samples.  Despite the tedium everyone was in good humor and feeling good about the progress we’ve been making.

Football stadium

In between sampling processing I did take the opportunity to visit the brand new outdoor football stadium and what I thought was a whaling camp but turned out to be a “Duck Camp”.

Duck Camp

This is where the local hunters congregate for bird hunting.  It still looks like ice fishing camp to me.  My favorite hut is decorated with faux palm trees (remember there are no trees here in the tundra).

That’s about all for now but stay tuned for tomorrow’s report.  Hopefully it will be another day on the water.


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