In February 2018 we had the pleasure to welcome back Professor Jemma Wadham and Dr Jonathan Hawkings, this time they were accompanied by their master’s student Anna Covey. They are all part of the terrestrial team of the PISCES project (Patagonian Ice field Shrinkage impacts on Coastal and fjord Ecosystems).

This project aims to investigatewhether melting of the

Patagonian ice fields (group of glaciers connected together) is having an impact on the bugs and fish that live in the fjord next door to them. There is different teams of researchers both from Chile and UK that are working on particular part of the project. Find out more about the project PISCES project here.

There are two main sites of investigation in Patagonia, one is the Steffan Glacier and its

proglacial lake which constitute the glaciated field site, while the other one is the Comau Fjord that is a former glaciated site and constitute the deglaciated field site. The terrestrial team is working on the biogeochemistry of the rivers, and fjord connected or not to a glacier to study the inputs of sediment and nutriment into the fjord.

This is the second year the UK scientists have come to Huinay to study the Comau Fjord, and – as last time – they put sensors instruments in the river next to the foundation. That way they can have high resolution river monitoring during the couple of weeks they are staying. The sensors they put into the river are monitoring the pH, the turbidity

(quantity of sediments in the water), the Environmental Conductivity ((EC) dissolved element in the water), the temperatures of the air and the water and the amount of sunlight the river gets. They also put gauging stations that will stay in the water throughout the year and that will record the water level.

Jonathan Hawkings installing the gauge station

Every day Anna and Jemma visited the river, recorded the data from the sensors and sampled the water to study the amount of ions, sediments, nutrients and dissolved oxygen (DO) of the river.

Jemma Wadham extracting the data from the sensors.

Anna Covey sampling the water from the river.

In addition to that daily work, they sampled water from other local rivers and from a hot spring to quantify different nutrient sources of the Comau fjord. They also took ocean water samples within the fjord using CTDs and Niskin bottles up to 300m of depth.

After two weeks, Jonathan and a team of Chileans researchers went south to study the Steffan Glacier while Jemma and Anna stayed longer at Huinay. They said it was to study the river longer but between us, they chose to stay because they loved the place and

the food! They loved it so much that they will be back this winter and brave the rain…

From left to right: Research Assistant Mette Schiønning, Volunteer Camille Meline, Professor Jemma Wadham, Database Manager Stacy Ballyram and Msc student Anna Covey.