Biogeochemistry starts at home: The Tager Institute of Biogeochemistry

aka D’s old bedroom.

I think we all know what this blog needs – photos!!

So here are some photos of the Tager Institute of Biogeochemistry, named in honor of our old roommate who once inhabited the current grounds of the Institute.

These photos, you can see the water bath carousels (safely secondarily contained within the kiddie bath – as in everything, safety first!!) that are theoretically keeping the silver-taped cores at a constant 14degC as stirrer bars keep the water within the cores moving slightly to break up boundary layers and stratification. You also note the piles of test tubes, filters, and of course the requisite random boxes and junk that make science happen!!

In this experiment we have sealed off sediment cores with some site water in the cores. Then we measure the dissolved oxygen as the microbes munch it down – with no exchange with the outside world, and therefore no outside (allochthonous – one of my favourite science words!!) sources of oxygen, respiration by the ubiquitous microbial communities amd even sediment chemical oxygen demand reduces dissolved oxygen REALLY quickly. Dissolved oxygen is measured optically (ie by shining a light down a fibre-optic cable) by the little box on the seat. We then measure different species of nutrients, metals, and greenhouse gases over time as the dissolved oxygen changes. Dissolved oxygen can have CRAZY effects on what happens in all these aspects!! So far we have found effects on some of the really bad nutrients (ones that make for news headlines about marine pollution and algal blooms), which is really cool!!

I thought that having an experiment running in my spare room, and samples in my refrigerator, were normal things until I told other people.

Are geeks just people who have never asked society if their passions are socially acceptable? I love my work!! If that is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!!

Nerdily Yours

M

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~ by maoctopus on October 28, 2010.

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