My stay in Stareso (by Andy)

It is with mixed feelings that I leave Stareso. My partner is 8 months pregnant and our baby is due in mid-August and so I am very keen to be home with her, to help in the last few weeks preparation and just in case we have an early arrival. But I am also sad to be leaving a great bunch of people, in a fantastic research station on a very beautiful island. The MedSeA team here in Corsica have bonded well and most of the initial difficulties have been overcome so that the sampling effort is now a very smoothe operation and there is a great team spirit alive throughout the camp. My French speaking has not improved as well as I’d hoped (nor my Spanish, Italian, German) due to the multi-national group of people here – or that is my excuse, it could be my laziness that really prevented me from learning more!

I probably should not admit this, but when I arrived two weeks ago, I had great hopes of swimming daily and regular fishing trips and kayak expeditions, but all that ended on day 2 when a hungry moray eel came up to taste an English finger while I was washing bottles in seawater on the rocks close to the station.

Fortunately I was able to carry on with the most of my work here, although I have been unable to take part in the sampling on the cubi platforms, I have been able to help a little by driving the boat to the mesocosms and running an occasional water taxi for people going to Calvi – and can now add ferryman to my CV!

And so I travel back to rainy England with a scarred finger and an ever growing collection of samples in the freezer. I will be replaced by Denise who will work alongside Lisa, who has been here with me from the beginning and they will continue our investigations into the impact of ocean acidification on the Mediterranean nitrogen cycle.
We collect water from the mesocosms at 0400 , which is a fantastic time of the day despite what Martina and Walter say, and are making measurements of the rate of nitrogen fixation, nitrification and nitrate uptake. We also collect samples for the determination of the presence and activity of nifH, the gene responsible for nitrogen fixation, which will be analysed by our colleagues at the University of California Santa Cruz. In other areas of the world nitrogen fixation has been found to be stimulated at elevated levels of CO2, whereas nitrification has been inhibited and to our knowledge nitrate uptake has not been investigated directly. There is currently no information available for the impact of OA on these processes in the Mediterranean and so hopefully we can make a start in describing the impact of OA on the biogeochemistry of this area.
I would like to thank everybody here in Stareso for making this an exceptionally good two weeks, fieldwork is always the best part of this job, fieldwork in Corsica with the MedSeA crazy gang has been one of the best trips ever. I would like to thank the team from Villefranche who have performed a huge job in setting up of this experiment, each one of them has played a major part in the success of this project, but in particular my gratitude goes to my ambulance driver and medical translator – Samir.
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One thought on “My stay in Stareso (by Andy)

  1. Hi Andy, Thank you for your post 🙂
    Thanks to God, no more injured after your departure so I was jobless 🙂
    Hope to see you soon
    Samir

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