Science, seals and showing the new station leader round the traps.

Nick’s illustration of the week


Monitoring Ecosystem Stability in Model Marine-Derived Antarctic Lake Systems

This winter there is a lot happening over in the science building. We (Sarah Payne and Alyce Hancock) are two wintering scientists at Davis Station this season working on a project for Rick Cavicchioli of UNSW. The project, “Monitoring Ecosystem Stability in Model Marine-Derived Antarctic Lake Systems”, aims to determine how microbial communities change throughout a complete annual cycle in three climate-sensitive Antarctica lakes (Ace, Organic and Deep Lakes) as well as a near-shore marine location. The knowledge gained from these studies will form the underpinnings for evaluating the effects of climate change on sensitive ecosystems in Antarctica. In addition to Ace, Organic and Deep Lakes, which are model systems that are being intensively studied, we are also undertaking small scale sampling of numerous (hundreds) other lakes, many of which have not been studied before.

Our role for this project is to complete all the field sampling through summer (2013–14) and winter (2014). This requires us to spend considerable periods of time in the field collecting and filtering lake water onto a large filter format system. Due to the loss of helicopter support, after December we have focused on collecting extra lake samples from a variety of lakes around the Vestfold Hills by foot. This included two one-week long trips based at Brookes and Platcha huts collecting samples from the lakes in these areas. In between sampling trips we spend our time unpacking and cleaning equipment from our field trips, preparing for upcoming trips and doing various forms of microscopy to gain abundance measures of the microbes within the lakes.

Here are some photos of our work.

Sarah Payne and Alyce Hancock

Emergency response team training — fire drill

Last Monday Stu, our Emergency Response Team Leader decided he’d run a fire drill. “You can never get enough training”, he was heard saying.

To make it look as real as possible (without ‘real’ fire) Stu parked two cars close together making it look like one vehicle had crashed into the other. Corey the Dieso was placed behind the wheel pretending to be injured.

The alarm was raised and Fire Chief Alyce and the Fire Team were very quick to respond. The fire we didn’t have was extinguished and Corey was back on his feet within minutes. A job well done !

On the job

This week the team focused on winterising the station — this means storing vehicles and machinery not required until next summer, cleaning the summer accommodation buildings and closing the doors until more people arrive at the end of this year.

With the new station leader arriving a few weeks ago she was keen to see the station through the eyes of each work group. During the week plumbers Webby and Val provided a tour of all plumbing facilities; building services supervisor Paul showed off all buildings and sites, and finally supervising mechanical services Mark toured plant, equipment and the workshop.

Social time

With only two photos published under the ‘social’ heading it would be easy to think we don’t have a social life here at Davis. The truth is we just didn’t take any photos of the craft club, the many movie nights, our formal Saturday night dinner, darts games, and band practice. We’ll try and fill the social pages next week… watch this space

Davis wildlife and scenery