Science

High-tech science equipment is used to look at, measure and describe terrestrial Antarctic biology. From field collection to laboratory analysis, technological equipment is used by the nzTABS researchers to make new discoveries about the biology they are studying. Click to find out more about the state-of-the-art science equipment used in this project.

Moni-Da Dust Traps Weather Stations

Moni-Da

Moni-da is a new system specially designed to monitor photosynthetic activity on plants and to withstand hard climatic conditions.

Dust Traps

The cakepan dust traps are exactly what they’re called: round, dome-shaped rubber cakepans, dug into the ground and weighted down with clean rocks or silicon marbles. When wind moves low across the ground with particles, the particles hit the rim of the rubber pan and slide down into the bottom of the pan.

Weather Stations

Each of the three valleys we are studying has an automatic weather station, which is a collection of sensors that continuously record weather data throughout the year.

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iButton Cameras Sampling Kits

iButton

iButtons are small, round metal discs, about the shape and size of a coat button (16 mm) that have a simple computer chip inside that can be programmed. The iButtons we use have temperature and relative humidity sensors inside, which we program to record up to 2000 individual temperature measurements over the course of the year.

Cameras

Digital Cameras are very useful equipment for the nzTABS researchers. While always useful to capture the spectacular scenery while out and about in the valleys, they are also useful for capturing visual information about a site worth sampling or interesting biota discovered while hiking or sampling.

Sampling Kits

The sampling kit consists of all necessary equipment to complete site surveying, soil sampling, and invertebrate specimen collection.

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ATP Water Activity pH and Conductivity

ATP

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is a molecule that all living organisms use for energy, so the amount of biomass in a sample can be estimated by measuring the amount of ATP present in a sample.

Water Activity

Water is a basic requirement of all life as we know it. However, determining how much water is available to life is quite a complicated matter. Common measures of water levels are moisture content and relative humidity. However, these measures tell us how much water is present, not how much water is available to the microorganisms.

pH and Conductivity

The pH of a soil is a measurement of hydrogen ion concentration and indicates how acidic or alkaline a sample is. The conductivity indicates the ability of a sample to conduct electricity, which is largely dependent on how much salt is in a sample.

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