What another interesting week! This past week was spent preparing for the main experiment that we are going to be conducting this summer. Our main focus this week was testing the new bladders for our artificial sea water. We had much more faith in these bladders than we should have. The cubitainers that we have been using have some rigid support to them and can be easily fit into a plastic crate. The bladders on the other hand have very little support and the water sloshes around as we are trying to carry them in their flimsy storage containers. The bladders still may be our best option though, when the channel that we are putting them in is not far lower than the chambers were we are conducting the experiment. As explained in my last blog, there must be a height difference between the reservoir of water and the base of the chamber in order for the water to flow in and out. There are some places that are rather level where we need a flatter container to make sure that this happens.
So, the majority of the week was spent testing three different bladders that we had in the lab and out in the field. After our lab experiments we determined that two of the three bladders would work best because they were more stable so we set out the next day to test them in the field. Once we got to our site which is called Winant Marsh, up the estuary about half way, we realized some additional problems with the bladders. Because they weren’t stable the nozzle that was connected to a hose that connected the chamber with the bladder kept bending in weird ways under the pressure from the hose that we kept getting an air lock. After some messy alterations we were somewhat satisfied with the way the experiment was set up so we left to wait out the high tide.
In the afternoon, we came back to take down the equipment and analyze our data back in the lab. It quickly became apparent that the water pressure from the tide did not sufficiently force the artificial sea water out of the bladder and in to the chamber. The next day, we also discovered that there was a leak in one of our bladders that caused it to gain a sufficient amount of water from the high tide. To make things worse, the bladder that worked the best was not being made any more so we’re not able to get as many as we need!
Because of our test, this next week will be interesting. Jodi has some ideas as to how to make the bladders work better and we can hopefully find out how we got a leak in our bladder. Currently, I am working on a logistical outline for one of the experiments that is coming up and I will be reviewing that with my mentor early this week. But man! It is way more complicated than I would think! I usually don’t know what to expect in the coming days, but as time goes by I’m getting more and more used to the way things work around here. I can’t wait to see what I learn next!
I hope you all had a great holiday weekend!
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