Team Zaaga’igan: What is a Peeper?


Photo example of a peeper from a team email sent by Nathan Johnson.

To the left is a larger version of the peepers placed in many of the wild rice mesocosms at the University of Minnesota Duluth Research and Field Studies Center. The peepers we will be working with have about four wells (the thin rectangles you see) that take in ground water from different depths. This is done by diffusion: distilled water placed in the peepers is replaced by water from the soil. We can then measure for Metals, Iron, Sulfide, Sulfate, and pH at different depths in each tank.

This week, with the team, we are prepping for Peeper week, which involves preparing and labeling about 430 bottles that will hold groundwater samples for analysis. Monday morning, we began helping to write out labels for each individual bottle. Later in the week, we helped to pack all the gear for analyzing groundwater from the peepers, including a pH meter, syringes to draw out the samples, nitrogen bags to keep an low-oxygen environment while drawing samples, and many other supplies. The low-oxygen environment is vital to avoid contaminating the groundwater, since there is a higher concentration of oxygen in the air than in the soil. We will be starting the excitement of peeper week this Tuesday or Wednesday after ensuring everything is ready to go.

Photo example of labels to be placed on all of the groundwater sample bottles. Each label lists the project name, mesocosm number, peeper number, peeper well number, the expected date, and what to measure.

Mesocosms at the University of MN Duluth Research & Field Studies Center.

Lab work at Nathan Johnson’s research lab in Voss Kovach Hall at the University of MN Duluth.

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