This year saw three members of CryoEco (Jakub, Petra, and our new PhD student Kristýna) and Arnošt Šizling, our collaborator on the GrISMEME project, travel to Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, to collect samples of supraglacial debris (cryoconite), subglacial sediment, and glacial river sediment for several ongoing projects. Kristýna then joined our colleagues Karen Cameron and Andy Mitchell from Aberystwyth University for a week in & around Nuuk, SW Greenland, and after that flew over to Iceland to collect even more glacial river samples.
While Jakub and Arnošt were sunbathing roughly 23 hours per day during their ice sheet surface journey, Petra and Kristýna hiked along the glacial melt river coming out nearby Point 660 having pockets full of our beloved Sterivex filters. Minding all the microbes escaping the ice sheet, litres of meltwater were filtered through the Sterivex membrane alongside the river to look for any changes in the microbial community associated with the river development as it flows through the tundra, pausing in proglacial lakes, and grabbing up all the other glacial rivers too. The girls also went for a few hikes playing ‘hide and seek’ with freshly melt sediments of subglacial origin (with the boys still sunbathing on the ice sheet). Fortunately, the longest hike to an unknown location ended up being a success, and Petra managed to retrieve a few kilos of material identified as freshly thawed subglacial sediment. This material was then used for the setting-up of incubation experiments for our methane oxidation project a few weeks later after the team’s return to Prague.
I joined Karen and Andy in Nuuk and we set sail to the local fjords. Carrying the sampling equipment on our back, we went for a few days’ expedition to reach the best sampling spots in the river delta at the fjord head. We collected a few glacial sediment cores and filtered water through … you knew it … Sterivex filters.
After that I flew directly to Iceland, where I collected samples from the river Vestari Jökulsá (an outflow from the Hofsjökull ice cap) along the entire length from the glacier margin to the sea. These samples will be analysed for microbial assemblages and compared with our Greenland ice sheet river samples.
In summary, 2019 was another good year in the field!