We had a few extractions remaining to do and we still needed to collect some soils from around Toolik for Allison, who is examining plant uptake and soil sorption of several hormones. She will be using the organic-rich tundra soil as a comparison to some of the agricultural soils she has been using for her experiments. We decided to tackle the soil collection first, combining the trip with a hike up Jade mountain, located on the opposite shore of Toolik Lake from the field station. We took a canoe across the lake and collected soils just off shore, to prevent any contamination from the field station from influencing the samples. After a bit of digging, we realized that it is surprisingly difficult to cut through the tough root system of the moss and grass that dominate the tundra! However, after a bit of work (and a lot of jumping on the shovels) we successfully collected enough soil. We tucked the shovels and soil samples underneath our overturned canoe on shore, and headed up Jade. It was a gorgeous day, yet clouds loomed over the horizon threatening rain, so we didn't dawdle in the hike -- which means that I sadly didn't take too many pictures.
|A friendly Sik Sik (arctic ground squirrel)!|
|Toolik and the Dalton Highway from the top of Jade Mountain!|
|There were quite strong winds, which resulted in some interesting clouds. From what I have read, the choppy/grated - looking clouds are an indicator of turbulent winds.|
|The whole Loon family!|
|One of the loon parents, just before it dove to catch its prey.|
|The loon showing off his gorgeous markings!|
|The loon parent and chick as they swam away|
|Elissa putting our YOY in fresh water for their trip back to the lab|
The YOY are still tiny, but I am told that they are significantly larger right now than at the beginning of the season. Apparently when they were first collecting the YOY, they were just tiny little eyeballs with fins!
|Some of our successfully caught YOY|
|YOY closeup. They are quite pretty fish, with tiny little spots all over them.|
While out YOY hunting, we actually spotted a Caribou prancing through the tundra!
|"what are you looking at?"|