The Bilbo Baggins Effect
Last week I had the opportunity to fly to Miami. I was looking forward to meeting Dr. Steve Oberbauer and Dr. Jeremy May, whom I will be working with this summer. I was treated to tours of Florida International University and their labs. I was grateful to be able to make connections with people that I'll be spending 30+ days with this June. To say I'm excited about this adventure is an understatement, but the reality of my unexpected journey is beginning to sink in.
"I'm going on an adventure!" The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
I was excited to see samples of the plants I will be working with in the tundra of Utqiagvik, Alaska and at Toolik Research Station. I have about 10 species that I'll need to be familiar and able to accurately identify. The EGC (Environmental Growth Chambers) maintain tundra-like conditions in the middle of a tropical climate.
Rows of Environmental Growing Chambers (EGCs).
It's a balmy 15C (59F) in the growing chambers!
24 hours of sunlight and eternal summer in the environmental growing chambers.
I will become very familiar with these lovelies.
Tundra samples growing happily in the EGC.
Lovely moss from the Tundra growing happily in Florida.
Everyone should have an emotional support plant. I wonder if TSA would approve?
Very Cool Equipment
I was also able to see some equipment that I will be using in the field. When I arrive in Utqiagvik, I will be able to help set up the MISP (Mobile Instrumented Sensor Platform) which helps to bridge the gap between humans on the ground taking measurements and the measurements that satellites in space take. I'll get to use the handheld Greenseeker that measures how healthy the plants are using a NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) reading. (So many acronyms!) It's also cool because it looks kinda like a phaser from Star Trek! Also pictured is an FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer) thermal camera.
Greenseeker handheld (AKA: Star Trek phaser) Photo: courtesy of Tremble Ag Solutions
Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer or FLIR.