… with the sand base in place, the concrete slopes on the front and back, and the lights about to be mounted, we are nearly ready to send the plants on their short forklift truck journey into the flume building…The first members of the non-residential science team have now arrived from the University of Cambridge and Hamburg, to be joined soon by more from the UK and the Netherlands.
The day today was spent at the builder’s merchants to collect bits and pieces required for specific ecological and soil measurements. The construction of our ‘surface elevation monitoring’ bar provided a particular challenge. This has to be a rigid bar, extending over at least 4m width of the test section, that will be mounted along one edge of the mobile walkway platform that is to be placed over the marsh surface at set locations whenever the water level will be lowered. The distance between the top of the bar and the soil surface can then be recorded with vertically guided pins to detect any erosion or deposition of material at fixed locations. The discovery of a shelf mounting steel bar with holes of the exact required diameter and distance apart for the pins was a relief!
The team also dismantled the watering system that has kept the plants in such a good condition throughout some tough times over the past year… The rain over the past two days is making sure that the soil is well watered! Finally, the nice wooden labels from the builder’s merchant were put to good use to identify all those individual marsh blocks that will be used for the front section of the experimental layout – where detailed ecological measurements will take place during the experiment itself.
So, once the lights inside the wave tank are working, the plants can move home once more…