YSI ProODO 15 Who’s Minding the Planet? HEADLINE SURFACE WATER Summer Adventures In the Icelandic summer, the geothermally warmed streams of Hengill are crawling with snails and other invertebrates…and packs of scientists trying to make the most of the handful of long, Arctic days. “Summers are really short,” laughs Jim Hood, who was a Montana State University post-doctoral researcher on an ingenious stream warming project from its start in 2010 through its wrap-up in 2016, and a full-time Iceland resident for the first two years of the project. “It’s expensive to get to Iceland and we don’t have a lot of time. Summer lasts about 90 days. Everybody’s tired, but really excited, by the end of the summer.” With two to five undergraduate students, three PhD students and two master’s degree candidates hitting the field to participate in the research, simplicity and reliability were vital to getting the team up and running each summer. Principal investigator Jon Benstead of the University of Alabama notes that his collection of YSI ProODO meters were chosen for their versatility and plug- and-play interface. “They’re very rugged, simple to use,” Benstead notes. “It doesn’t take long for students to learn how to set them up—setting up the logger is pretty intuitive. It’s pretty simple to synchronize them all, the clocks are good in them, and there’s plenty of memory.” Still logging data since 2010, most of the team's ProODO meters have survived hard duty, from wintertime use to a few incidents with a truck. “The loggers are pretty bomber,” says Hood enthusiastically. “They’ve gotten really wet, taken a lot of abuse and they’re still working. “Seven years later, we’ve still got 14 left—and most of the ones that broke are because I ran over them,” he confessed. Remarkable Logistics There is nothing simple about conducting science at Hengill—not even getting to the research site. At 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, it’s a relatively quick ride in the summer, but a trial in winter weather. For Benstead, whose previous work in northern Alaska made him no stranger to the Arctic, a seven-month sabbatical in Iceland was a shock. “It was more difficult to work [at Hengill] than on the North Slope of Alaska,” he says. “We had a helicopter in Alaska, so it was a lot easier to get around. But there’s also a difference in winter weather. Most of the time, Alaska in winter is high-pressure—cold, but clear. It’s completely different in Iceland, which is in the middle of the North Atlantic. It can be 10° on either side of freezing on any one day. You can have freezing fog one day, a blizzard the next, and then rain.” Hood lived in Iceland for nearly two years, conducting monthlydatacollectioninthoseever-changingwinterconditions. That made the commute to work an adventure, he says. For starters, the four-mile dirt track that the scientists could drive in the summer became a four-mile hike when the road closed for winter. “We used every single approach you could think of,” Hood recalls. “We hiked in a lot. We skied in a lot. We snowmobiled in a lot.” The team even contracted with a local rescue squad whose Land Cruiser was outfitted with super-wide, low- pressure flotation tires to drive across the surface of the snow as if it was on snowshoes. Even that specially outfitted rig ended up buried in drifting snow. So did the team’s instruments, including nearly two dozen YSI ProODO handheld optical dissolved oxygen meters, some of which spent significant time in frigid temperatures.