We are a group of freshwater ecologists from the Biology Department at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota studying the effect of temperature and nutrient availability on metabolism and nitrogen fixation in geothermally active streams in the Hengill region of Iceland. This is a collaborative research effort with our partners from Montana State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Iceland, and the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries in Iceland. See links to our collaborators labs below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Back on the Road to Research

In the middle of this cold snap, it is hard not to be excited for the season to change. For many people, May feels like a lifetime away as we anxiously await summer’s longer days and warmer weather. As winter drags to an end, this time can feel like an eternity. For research scientists, this time can go by quickly when preparing for a busy field season.

Getting all of our "ducks in a row" takes time!
Photo Credit: Jackie Goldschmidt 2013 
I am a St. Kate’s graduate who was lucky enough to travel to Iceland three years ago in the summer of 2012 as a student. The experience was unlike any other, landing in Iceland with crates of supplies and making a home for ourselves with the help of the generous staff of the Veiðimálastofnun and the University of Iceland. Now, our presence has been felt in the “Smoky Bay” for three years and we have cultivated friendships with our collaborative groups from both the United States and Iceland. Coming back to work on this project is the definition of a dream come true for me. I began work in the Welter lab again in October 2014, and in many ways it feels like I never left… until I look at the data we have amassed in my absence. It is truly amazing to see what my peers were able to accomplish as undergraduates, and to see how the project has developed in the past few years. Dr. Welter has worked hard with our collaborators to earn funding to continue training budding scientists in this timely, relevant project which will help us understand how stream ecosystems respond to climate warming. We have seen a few publications come out from our group already, and have many more planned!

Visions of an Icelandic Summer
Photo Credit: Jackie Goldschmidt 2013
Here in Minnesota, we are continuing the legacy that Dr. Welter has fought so hard to bring to her lab and to St. Kate’s. We are so lucky to have access to hands-on field research opportunities, and the students involved have always taken this to the next step, presenting posters and talks to communicate their findings. This summer, I will be working with Dr. Welter and Bree Vculek, a St. Kate’s undergraduate student. Bree has already experienced field work in lakes, and has proven to be a tenacious scientist. Her work on the Iceland project will undoubtedly be an impressive chapter in our legacy. Stay tuned for blogs on Bree’s perspective of our work.

More posts to come regularly, so keep an eye on us and you will see just how amazing the research process is. We will have suspense, intrigue, heartache, and ultimately the euphoria that comes with collecting publishable data. I hope you enjoy all of the great things we will accomplish this summer, and beyond!