The start of this week saw a science personnel change over. Sadly we had to farewell Simon and Bruce but were happy to welcome four new team members, Brian, Laura, Nic and Jenny who were very excited to finally land on the kelp rich shores of Macquarie Island. A big effort from many on station saw them welcomed, fed, inducted, kitted and out in the field for their field familiarisation in less than 24 hours. Brian and Laura will be investigating the invasive grass species Poa Annua, while Nic and Jenny will be conducting vegetation impact studies as part of the eradication program.
With the last couple of cores collected this week the annual soil sampling component of the remediation program has come to a close. The soil will be sent back to Kingston for further analysis to determine the residual TPH contamination along with physical, chemical and nutrient analysis of the soil. Additional soil samples were also collected as part of a 4 year study to tract the microbial dynamics within the contaminated soils in response to the bioremediation program. In previous experiments on the island the bacterial community has responded to petroleum hydrocarbon contamination with a loss of diversity and a loss of important nutrient cycling potential. It is hoped that a decrease in fuel concentration in the soil as a result of the bioremediation will coincide with a return to a bacterial community characteristic of clean soils, including greater diversity and a more evenly distributed species composition. The DNA will be extracted from the soil at the University of New South Wales and used as a template to obtain an average of 1500–2000 bacterial sequences per sample with high throughput sequencing platforms. Functional genes will also be quantified to determine how healthy the soils are, in particular, we will target key enzymatic steps within the Nitrogen cycle. Additional soil samples will also allow the correlation between petroleum contamination and invertebrates to continue at Macquarie University. Additional soil samples will also allow the correlation between petroleum contamination and invertebrates to continue at Macquarie University. Josie van Dorst
Also included, a few photographs of black browed albatross taken by Anna whilst recording their movements and nest locations