Antarctica Bromocarbon Project Weekly Updates – Week Five

Earlier this week we went out to the field a bit further North (close to Razorback Island) to search for thinner and bare ice. We were looking for ice that is substantially different from our regular Western Erebus Site ice (WES, which is snow covered, cold and thick with limited microbial activities) to further test our main hypothesis (of microbial involvement into bromocarbon cycling).  We found plenty of bare ice and took surface ice samples (the ice was too thick for us to core through its entire length (280 cm).  After lab analysis this ice showed much reduced concentrations (see attached picture) compared to WES and we want to go back and do a full microbiology work-up to document the difference in microbiology.  We also hope to be able to go out to the ice edge where the ice is likely warmer and thinner with a larger active microbiology component. Stay tuned for that!

On Thursday we went out to WES for our fourth major sampling effort. The randomly selected site had the thickest snow cover, so we were very glad to have the help of science implementor Randy Jones!  As in previous weeks, many hours are spent in the freezer-, cold-, microscopy-, and rad labs to successfully process our samples for bromocarbons, microbial parameters, activity, metagenomics and proteomics.  The number of microorganisms in saline snow samples increased. Our outreach activities this week focused on giving lab science tours to several Crairy lab touring groups and individuals from many of the work centers. We showed the activities in the lab, discussed our project on the hallway white board and talked about our science answering a myriad of interesting questions. We also continued with our blog entries ( Below are some pictures and the video clip from our work this week!

Ice coring plot in WEB this week (left) and science implementor Randy Jones ice coring (right).


Bare ice close to Razorback (left) shows interesting surface features (right).


Bromocarbon profiles show much reduced concentrations in bare ice (left) and many more particle-associated microbes (blue dots) were seen under the epifluorescence microscope in saline snow this week (middle). Image of hallway project schematic (right).