Over the last few weeks, Ella has been collecting water samples from a lot of different hippo pools in order to measure how hippo pools may contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. Hippos load a lot of carbon into pools through feces, and as that feces decomposes, it uses up the oxygen in the water and the decomposition process emits greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Ella is studying how the number of hippos and flow of the river influence the quantity of greenhouse gases being emitted.
|Ella collecting a water sample from a hippo pool|
Much of the sample processing needs to be done as soon as possible, so we take a mobile lab in our Land Rover and do a lot of chemistry in the field. However, some samples need to be analyzed later in our lab tent (affectionately called the Lady Cave, because of all the hours I have spent doing chemistry in there, it’s small cave-like interior, and the tendency of bats to roost in and around it). Here’s Ella busting out some serious field chemistry in the Lady Cave, late into the evening, equipped with a head lamp to see the readings. Epic!
|Late night chemistry in the lady cave|