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Winter Ecology class field day

Tim Kittel, with Sarah Spaulding, took his undergraduate Winter Ecology class at the Mountain Research Station for a winter limnology day on 9 February 2014. They were joined by were joined by Lee Stanish, a former INSTAAR student and postdoc who is now a Research Associate with CU's Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology department, and Ian Bishop, an INSTAAR and Environmental Sciences graduate student.

The group hiked out to Gold Lake on a cold (-1.1° C), breezy day, drilled through the 17 inches of ice on the lake, and took water and sediment samples.  They also used a sonde—a remote device with sensors for barometric pressure, depth, water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen that is lowered into the water.

After collecting the data, the students returned to the Mountain Research Station to analyze it for physical conditions and biota.

All photos by Sarah Spaulding, except the pictures of the group and of the blackboard, which are by Tim Kittel.

Left: Students use an ice auger on frozen Gold Lake. Taking turns with the auger is one way to stay warm on the ice! Right: The Hydrolab allows readout of barometric pressure, depth, water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen.Recording data in the snow.The group on the frozen surface of Gold Lake.Left: Lowering the sonde into the water column. Right: Students successfully cored the lake sediments with a Glew gravity coring device. The sediment/water interface is almost undisturbed - a nice sediment record of the past few hundred years.Heading back to the Mountain Research Station after a successful day of winter limnological sampling.Back in the lab, the students measure the total algal biomass and examine phytoplankton and zooplankton from the water samples collected on the lake.The MRS blackboard shows the Gold Lake profiles the group collected, including Hydrolab sonde data and microbes.