Winner #1! University of St. Thomas

St. Paul USA

For the past 9 years we’ve deployed sondes in MN wetlands year round to determine annual metabolism and carbon emissions, which demands performance in temperatures 4 to 30°C and colonization of biological matter. We hang sondes from buoys and deploy them even as the lakes freeze over. We need snowshoes to traverse the snowy fields and lakes and reach the buoys. We use an auger to drill holes around the buoy and an ice saw to cut between the holes. Then the massive chunk of ice containing the buoy is heaved out of the lake (see video http://youtu.be/regPWrwibys). Finding our buoys is difficult; they are marked by GPS, but they move or get buried in the ice and snow. Then we have to drag our feet through the snow around our GPS point in hope of tripping over it. Now we have metal on the buoys and use metal detectors. Since we leave the sondes in the lake as long as possible, often we’ve had to push ourselves out on sleds to get over the thawed edge of the lake in order to reach the sondes.

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