One of the main tasks of WP2 team “Particulates” during the 2016 Black and Bloom field season was to collect all possible types of aerosols and surface samples so that we can compare the potential delivery of particles to the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet with particulates (weather inorganic or living) observed on the surface of the snow and ice. Our aim with the air sampling was to inventory and analyze all airborne ‘impurities’ deposited during the melt season regardless if such aerosols contain black carbon, dust particles, salt particles, organic particles and naturally also microbes. Thus for the air sampling we used a variety of ‘air collectors’ to obtain various low or high volume integrated air samples on filters or in liquid media; we naturally complemented these with in situ, continuous and time resolved measurements of black carbon, ozone and particle numbers (see also Jim’s blog a while back). One sampling method that we used and that gives the microbes something to think about is a Coriolis high volume (300l/min) biological air collector in which air is collected via a cyclonic impactor at high speeds.
(for those wondering about the Chip & Dale sound – that is Jim and I talking very fast and high on helium – for the sake of science naturally)
We used this intensively both for airborne biological sample collections (i.e., diversity, functions via ‘omics’ approaches) as well as for total airborne particulate analyses (i.e., high-resolution micro-spectroscopy) .Analyzing these two types of collected samples will, together with all other in situ and real time analyses, allow us to quantify the nature, compositions, and speciation as well as microbial diversity and function of all airborne ‘impurities’. Linking this with all ‘impurity’ analyses that we do on the samples collected from the snow and ice surfaces will allow us nicely to link our results with the WP1 pigment and microbial activity etc analyses and WP3 reflectivity measurements over the melt season.
Thus as you see we made sure that even our smallest members of the team – those traveling by air – regardless if they are microbes or not – get a ride of their life even once we captured them.