by Allyson Brady
This blog is courtesy of the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP)
For more information please visit their website at www.pavilionlake.com
As the 2010 PLRP field season draws nearer, we are all busy with plans and preparations. This summer will be a bit different for me as our fearless leader Darlene will be on maternity leave and I will be stepping into the role of acting Principal Investigator (PI). A daunting task, but I know I have the support of an amazing team of people and we’re all working towards having a fun, safe and successful field season.
Looking back over the last 5 years that I have been involved in PLRP I am in awe of what we’ve accomplished and how much we’ve grown. Last year we successfully mapped additional regions of the lake using the DeepWorker submersibles and re-visited areas of interest identified in 2008 for more detailed imaging and observations. We were also very successful in classifying a great deal of our DW imaging data while in the field. This was a huge accomplishment and the entire team worked very hard to make this happen, we hope to have a repeat this year. Examination of the 2009 data has helped us to identify more regions that show interesting trends that we will be exploring in this upcoming field season.
Flight planning for 2010 is going ahead full-steam! We are very pleased to continue with our astronaut training program this year and welcome Chris Hadfield and the Stan Love to the PLRP gang. I can’t wait to see their reaction to viewing this remarkable lake and the microbialites for the first time.
As always, there are a number of fundamental science questions that we are working towards answering through the exploration of this beautiful lake, not only with DW but with SCUBA and GAVIA as well. We will continue to examine questions regarding the role of biology and physical parameters in carbonate precipitation including: What are the dominant surface microbial and viral communities? Does grazing by macroorganisms affect microbialite morphology? What is the role of algae? How do depth and slope affect morphology? And many more… I’m looking forward to partaking in some great science and exploration activities this summer.
The field season is nearly upon us so stay tuned for more updates!