keskiviikko 9. toukokuuta 2012
Enjoying Finnish summer while studying!
Coming from Uganda where only the dry and wet seasons are experienced to Finland with four seasons was a great change for me and adapting to the cold weather was not that easy. Autumn 2010 was the beginning of the long journey of research in aquatic sciences from the University of Jyväskylä. Research in water sciences has always been my main interest and through the research group headed by Hannu Nykänen, I was introduced to the world of using stable isotopes in environmental research. Towards the end of the winter that had been so long and cold, an opportunity to do a master’s thesis on lake Lovojärvi was advertised. Work had to start during spring through summer to autumn of 2011. I had read and heard a lot about the beauty of the Finnish environment but now was the time to experience it.
I must say that the experience was one of my best ever. Lammi Biological Research stations is well equipped with all the essentials that we needed for field work, laboratory work, library services not mentioning the confortable accommodation and welcoming people that I met there. I had sampled lakes and rivers before but this was my first time to row a boat, it was amazing. The weather wasn’t always in our favor because it rained almost on all occasions that we did field work but may be that was a blessing because the research was successful. It was nice to navigate the hidden forest lakes Nimetön and Horkkajärvi. Some days were really long but fun because luckily for us Hannu had portable grill so we would barbecue some sausages just anywhere when we felt hungry. Can’t forget that big brown snake with black spots that we found under the boat on the shores of Nimetön.
I was so lucky to shoot two birds with one stone that is enjoying the summer time in the forests and lakes with fresh air and beautify environment and at the same time fulfilling the obligation of doing a master thesis. The major aims of the study were to find out the sources of extremely high gas concentration: dissolved inorganic carbon and methane contained in the anaerobic bottom of Lovojärvi, gas retention as well as the significance of methanotrophy in the lake food web. Stable isotopes of water were used to reveal stratification and mixing dynamics and well water balance in the lake while the stable isotope of carbon for DIC and methane revealed chemical and biological processes. Some of the most interesting findings were that in the hydrological cycle as results from our study suggest there is subsurface inflow of ground water from the mire behind the esker and the lake was subject to evaporation. Methanotrophy is a major energy source in the lake food web and that the lake is still meromixis.
I am so grateful to Lammi Biological Station Research Foundation for supporting my master thesis work.
-Colline Mutyaba is a MSc student at the University of Jyväskylä and received one of the Foundation's grants in 2011.