In August 2003, PARTNERS project (http://ecosystems.mbl.edu/partners) US scientists Bruce Peterson, Max Holmes, and Jim McClelland, and Russian scientists Alexander Zhulidov and Ludmila Kosmenko undertook a two week sampling cruise on the Lena River in Siberia. The cruise began at Yakutsk (about 62N) and went all the way to Kyusyur (almost 71N), then back to Yakutsk. The seven person crew of the ship was extremely helpful, and the PARTNERS team had the good fortune of having the able assistance of Anya Suslova, the 13 year old daughter of the ship's captain, Mikhael Suslov. Anya amazed everyone with her sharp mind, active participation in sample collection and processing, and rapid grasp of the overall goals of the PARTNERS project. And she was a lot of fun to have around!
Before leaving the Lena River on the way to the Kolyma River, the group explained to Anya that they were interested in obtaining winter samples, but that the PARTNERS project didn't plan to collect additional samples until March 2004. One thing led to another, and before they knew it, they had supplied Anya with H218O sample bottles, explaining that any samples she might be able to collect over the ensuing months would be a huge contribution to the PARTNERS project. And as the letter from Anya (pdf, 97 kb) indicates, she (with the help of her father and his boat) was able to collect samples every two weeks throughout the winter! Though Anya is the youngest member of the PARTNERS project to date, she is one of its most important team members.
In June 2004, another group of PARTNERS participants will return to the Lena River. In addition to Russian scientist Alexander Zhulidov and Russian university students Lena Gordeeva and Alexey Kleschenkov, the group will include US scientists Max Holmes and Chris Guay, US undergraduate student Oliver Monson from University of California Berkeley (participating in the NSF-REU program), and Amy Clapp, a 3rd-5th grade science teacher from Salisbury, Vermont. Amy, who is part of the TREC Program, will be involved in many aspects of the research with the objective of being better able to translate the importance, excitement, and even adventure of global change research to her elementary school students. In addition, team members will once again interact with Anya Suslova (and set her up with improved sampling kits for the upcoming year!), as well as meet additional students and teachers at the Zhigansk school. The goal is to establish an ongoing collaboration with the Zhigansk school, and help enrich a curriculum that recognizes the pivotal role that Siberia and the Lena River plays in global change research. The team plans to initiate similar student and teacher collaborations at more of the study sites (which include the Yenisey, Lena, Ob', and Kolyma rivers in Siberia, plus the Mackenzie and Yukon rivers in North America) over the coming year. More information about the PARTNERS project can be found at http://ecosystems.mbl.edu/partners.
Photographs are courtesy of Max Holmes at MBL
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