Sampling Toolik Inlet Series!

Sorry for the delay of this post. This week has been so hectic, I haven't really had any time to catch up on my blog! This week we went out to sample the series of lakes that drain into lake Toolik. We used the helicopter to the furthest lake (since we have so much gear and an inflatable raft with us) and began sampling lake by lake, moving downstream. The helicopter was really fun to ride in and the views from that high up were just amazing! It was fun to see the little Toolik camp shrink as we rose up into the sky.

Me flying out in the helicopter!

Toolik camp (and Lake Toolik) as we flew out to our sampling sites ...

We had beautiful weather the first sampling day and there was not a single cloud in the sky. However, the mosquitoes really enjoy the weather as well and were out in swarms. I was really happy to have my bug shirt, which is basically a shirt made out of netting to keep the mosquitoes from biting. The parts of the shirt (like the back and front and sleeves) that lie directly on your skin are made out of this super tight knit material that the bugs cannot get their probiscus through. There is a hood that zips all the way over your head to protect your face from them as well. I have never seen mosquitoes in such swarms! Imagine standing in a bee hive, but all of the bees were mosquitoes... I learned how to towe for zooplankton and use the hydrolab (which is a really cool piece of equiptment that will tell you depth, temperature, chlorophyll counts, light penetration, etc at any given depth). We also used the Vann Dorn sampler to get water at various depths at each site.

This is a picture of some of the lakes we sampled of the Toolik inlet series.

The second day of sampling, I learned that the myth that the mosquitoes go away when it is raining is actually false. I took an early heli ride out to the lakes we would sample with another team since my whole group doesn't fit into one helicopter. It was pouring rain that morning so I sat with my headnet and my rain jacket on in the downpour, surrounded by mosquitoes. I am not going to lie, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. However, once my team finally arrived, the sun poked through the clouds and we ended up with another beautiful day of sampling!
Beautiful clouds after the rain subsided. All of the little black smudges in this picture are mosquitoes!

When we got back to camp each evening, I still had to attend to all of my lab duties, which made for a few really long days for all of us. However, the time in the field was definitely worth the work.

As a side note, last night I saw a fox right next to my tent! I was unzipping the rain fly on my tent when I spotted a dog-sized creature out of the corner of my eye. My snap reaction was to write it off as a dog, but then I stopped and did a double take and realized that it was actually a fox, standing just a few feet away! I was amazed that my presence didn't bother it more
Posted on June 27, 2009 and filed under Tent city, helicopter, sampling.