Today Hollie and I went back to the marsh to collect porewater, soil samples, and biomass from all the sites to take back to the lab. We cut off the plants from the vegetated sites at ground level for the above-ground biomass, and then we took a soil core from the middle of the plot to extract the below-ground biomass in the lab. Taking the soil core was hard work because you had to hammer a PVC pipe deep into the ground with a rubber mallet, then pull it up and get the soil out of the pipe which was very difficult if the soil was dry. There was no porewater at most of the sites, so Hollie decided to take extra soil samples to centrifuge back at the lab. Hopefully we will be able to extract some in order to determine the pH and salinity of the soil water at each site.
We also took soil samples to find out the density, porosity, and composition of the soil, which could all potentially affect greenhouse gas emissions. It started raining when we were almost half way done, and when lightning touched down across the marsh, we went into the woods for safety. Unfortunately there were many more mosquitoes in the woods than on the marsh, and I got bitten a lot. The storm stopped pretty quickly, and we were able to finish collecting samples and drive back to the lab. There was a huge storm on our way back, and we had to unload the car in the pouring rain. It was another long day (almost 11 hours), and taking the soil samples was a lot of work, bu t I definitely learned a lot.