I have been testing out a new system that will allow me to measure oxygen consumption (breathing) rates in krill. This system from Loligo Systems, Inc. includes glass chambers, each containing an animal, where seawater is pumped through. The seawater in each chamber is refreshed (via a flushing process) every 5 minutes. Then water from each chamber is pumped through an oxygen sensor and monitored for 3 minutes to measure the decline in oxygen over that time (via animal consumption/breathing). This process is repeated multiple times for several hours and is called intermittent flow respirometry.
Fortunately, some colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were able to collect some krill for me off the coast of Rhode Island recently so that I could test out my respirometry system and get some background data on krill that I can later compare to much larger Antarctic krill (Thanks, NOAA!).
Now that I have the equipment up and running, it is time to break it all down, pack it up and ship it out so that it gets to Antarctica in time for our field season. Because we are extremely isolated there, we have to ship EVERYTHING from our home institutions. This takes a long time, so we have to have everything shipped down 3-4 months before we actually go ourselves.