Can we make a hippo pool in a bottle?

November 13, 2016 - 10:36pm by Anonymous (not verified)

This summer Chris set up one of the big experiments for his dissertation. He is interested in studying the influence of the microbial community on biogeochemical cycling in the bottom of a hippo pool, and the interacting effects of carbon loading and microbial community structure on those effects. He came up with a really clever way to test this by developing small “hippo pools” in 1 liter bottles, which allowed him to have lots of replication across different treatments. In total, he set up around 150 bottles!
Chris weighing hippo poop into a bottle
We sampled the bottles for about 12 different parameters at various time points over a few weeks. We could see some of the results immediately in the field as we collected the data, and it was really exciting to watch the changes in the different treatments over time. A lot of additional data will be analyzed from this experiment back in the lab at Yale, 
The team at work

Fortunately, our friend Caitlin Staley came in to help with fieldwork the week we started this experiment. Caitlin is a senior in high school in Nairobi, and she is interested in pursuing a science degree in college, so we were excited to give her some field experience in ecology… and super grateful to have her help!

Caitlin doing chemistry in the field

We had a great team, which makes all the difference Everyone had a job, James played DJ on his ipod, and we had a lot of fun!

Team Hippo Pool