In the field with the students. Here a marine biologist is about to teach me to distinguish between male and female crabs!
I was warming in other ways too: finding out where int he environment your modern forams live is quite nice in itself, but only becomes properly relevant when you use that information to apply it to the fossil record. But then you first have to core that fossil record up. And on the Monday, that was exactly what we did! So that was my day off from the lab, and finally got some sun on my skin. It had been veritable summer weather the entire fieldwork, but I had pretty much always been inside at least between 12 and 7.
Samples in the oven, drying out for dry sieving and dry picking!
There were some other issues; two or three core catchers breaking, and one ball bearing of the jacking system falling apart, which inspired a bit of lying in the sun waiting for the problem to be fixed and the coring to resume. We cored two locations, and the students did geophysical measurements on the subsurface in between; later they'd join the whole shebang up. A nice day!
Students jacking a core barrel out of the ground, with a nice quarry as the backdrop
And then the last day came and went. Every bit of kit the students were done with was immediately cleaned and put away. Before dinner my entire lab was packed up! That was nice. There was a bit of a hoo-ha that evening due to a student feeling unwell, but otherwise all went well. And the next day we packed up our personal stuff and cleaned out the chalets, and that was the end of the fieldwork! I had had a great time. And I think the students did too; just before we left they got asll of the staff that wasn't already gone together, spoke words of appreciation, and gave us a card, a box of beer, and flowers for Suzie. Such sweethearts! I think I'll be involved in a practical course in autumn, with a fair number of the same students. I look forward to that!
I did feel like I had been thrown into the deep, but it felt like I had managed to swim. And I learned a lot! So I do hope I'll get the chance to do at least (or maybe ideally) part of the fieldwork next year. The teaching part of my contract will have expired, but in most contracts there is a bit of flexibility. Would be nice to do this properly prepared! And that saves James having to do the full six 14-hour days on his own...
When a lab turns back into a living room