Saturday, December 20, 2014

Next field site: Anchorage Island

Yesterday we took a boat out to our next field site at Anchorage Island, which is an island near Rothera Station. So it is the farthest north of the sites we've sampled so far.
We collected soil in the same way we collected from our previous sites, by taking replicate soil samples from beneath different above-ground growth types. In addition to moss and algae, we were able to take soil from beneath grass. The reason Anchorage Island is interesting is because it's one of the most southern sites along the Antarctic Peninsula where you can find grass.

There's only one species of grass in Antarctica, and it mainly only grows in the more northern, less cold areas. The species of grass is Deschampsia antarctica, commonly known as Antarctic hairgrass. Here's what the grass looks like at Anchorage Island. Until recently, it was covered with snow, so it's still mostly brown, but soon it will perk up and turn green!

I think sampling the islands is fun, because we get to take a boat out on Marguerite Bay. Here's what it looks like riding back to Rothera Station from Anchorage Island on the boat: