The Yin and Yang of N in Streams

Exploring Utah and Idaho


Erin, Michelle, and Amy working hard at Red Butte Creek

Hot-lanta it’s been a busy two weeks.  It started on July 27th with a 6am flight
t to Salt Lake City, Utah and we’re still going strong today.  First off we sampled the lower Knowlton Fork of Red Butte Creek.  The site was gorgeous, but to get there we had a terrifying drive through a forest. Seriously, I do not think there
was a road the drivers just plowed through the underbrush.

Next we sampled the Red Butte again but this time in a culvert at the edge of Salt Lake City. This was an absolutely “lovely” site. It was filled with mounds of garbage, and to reach it we had to climb down a death-defyingly steep hill.  I may have slipped a little and fell on some thistles which I was picking out of my butt for the rest of the day.  In spite of the horrible view, and somewhat gross sediment, sampling went pretty well and we were only rained on a little.


Goodbye Utah, Marcarelli Lab OUT!

Next it was off to Pocatello Idaho, after a quick trip to the school where High School Musical was filmed.  In Idaho we promptly took over the Baxter lab and spread our gear far and wide while also commandeering some of their equipment.  In Idaho we first sampled the Gibson Jack.  It was a nice stream but we had to fight with some trees to hike out to our site with frame packs on. We sampled there for 2 days but were lucky to have members of the Baxter lab join and help us out to make sampling easier. We had some problems with broken equipment at one point our fence post pounder broke, who knew I was that strong?  And amy had a mishap w


One quick detour to see the set of one of the greatest movies EVER

ith a broken jar.


Next we sampled the Upper Portneuf. It was deep and fast but again we were lucky to have a lot of people help us out; although, we did lose a some equipment to the river.  We were there again for two days but they went fairly quickly.  After that we had two days in the lab due to poor weather. At that point we also lost two members of our team so only Erin and I were left.  Michelle will be leaving us for good as she is headed to Kansas to start her Master’s.


Goodbye Michelle we’ll miss you


We went back into the field to sample the South Fork of Mink Creek.  Erin was super excited that to see cows around the creek while we sampled. I was less so because of all the cow poo. On our first day out it started sunny and clear but midday it clouded up and started to pour on us. We started to question whether we should continue sampling and decided to push through. It turned out to be a good call on our part, go us, because it again cleared up and we were able to finish out the day and style.

Today we sampled our second day at South Fork and finished our field sampling in Idaho. Sampling went very smooth it started out hot and sunny and stayed that way until we were scrubbing rocks.We definitely made use of the sunscreen Amy left behind. We will hopefully have some cool results from this site as we found rocks covered in Nostoc spp.  The day went really well and we were headed back to the lab by 4.


IMG_20170729_101522_01 (1)

Thank yo to everyone for helping us sample. You are all amazing.

we’re back at the lab now and Erin in planning on running GC all night and we finishing up the denitrification samples. The next week we will remain in Idah to process nitrogen fixation samples, chlorophyll, and ash free dry mass.  After that we are offto Wisconsin for more field work.


Erin and I found a lot of Nostoc


and cow pies