It is SUCH an advantage to have access to an ice breaking ship when one works with seaweed.
Mid-March is unfortunately not always full of sun, birdsong and warm spring temperatures.
On March 18th, we wrwe out at the Askö laboratory to do a reading of some experiments that have been out in the sea over winter.
With a lilttle help from the ice breaking R/V AURELIA and skipper Eddie, I could reach one of the sites, located just south of the boathouse.
The seaweed has not suffered from the cold winter, but was in good shape. When I lifted the “weedbeds” up onto the ice, lots and lots of animals swam out. Small crustaceans, gastropods and caddis worms a plenty, all of them have spent the winter in the seaweed.
Allthough the visibility in the water is very good this time of year, and the temperature is, well, shall we say refreshing, I can’t help but longing for summer. It is quite a struggle to move large sheets of ice when one is i the water…
Here is a clip from the “seaweed-bed” at the Askö laboratory, where most of our experiments are going on. This was filmed in january 2012, with the purpose of checking on the bed, change light/temperature sensor and collect some plates for measure of juvenile growth.
The bed holds about 60 ceramic tiles, onto which we have “sown” bladderwrack and some other wrack crosses. We use the non-glazed side of the tiles since it is important that the surface is porous enough for the seaweed eggs to attach. This makes for some interesting conversations when we buy tiles!
In October, my good friend Naomi Fearn, talented German comicbook creator, accompanied me out to the Askö Marine Laboratory. I figured that if you are living in Berlin, you need all you can get of forrest, sea and seasonal fungi. Also, I needed some assistance with marking seaweed with needle and thread to monitor growth, before it should be placed out into the sea over the winter.
It was a lovely autumn day and Askö really shone in the warm sun, with the water like a mirror, the trees glowing and the skye incredibly blue. The water was 7 degrees Celsius and Naomi got to feel what a day in the life of a marine biologist can be like.
Safely back home in Berlin, Naomi processed her experiences from our fieldtrip int a comic strip, published in the daily newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, where she does the Thursday comics. You can find the lovely strip on the blog Zuckerfisch
On the blog is also some photos from our seaweed sowing. Use Google Translate if your German is as rusty as mine.
P.S if you don’t know who the rabbit refers to in the strip, you can read up on Rüdiger Nehberg here.