When Jaco and I came out of the field, he basically was ready for the actual fieldtrip. He knew all he needed to know about the site, but I wasn't done yet. I could be certain of nothing at all until I had seen my samples under the microscope. So when I got out of the field I went straight into the lab. I wanted to sieve out these samples, so they could go into the oven to dry, and I would be able to have a look at them the very next day. And so it happened! It was completely weird to be back in the lab. I hadn't really spent any time on campus since the start of the first lockdown. And I hadn't done much lab work for a while before that. So it was a veritable trip down memory lane!
|Our eighties-style lab|
The next day I came back. This time I came straight from home, so I was on bicycle! That was the first in quite a while. But no time to ponder that too much; it was time to take the samples out of the oven, and put them under the microscope. As soon as I put the first sample under the microscope I knew things were okay. There were forams everywhere! And they were looking good.
During the morning I went through all the samples. The upper marsh looked the best! And there was a clear change in assemblages from the upper to the lower marsh, even though by the looks of it, the difference was small both horizontally and vertically. One thing that was a bit disappointing was the lowest sample; these tend to be the most spectacular, but this one wasn't! I didn't spot any exotic species. I probably had not sampled low enough. That's why you do recce's like this; then you can spot such things and rectify before the actual field work takes place.
I also bumped into a colleague, who I hadn't seen in a long time (of course). We caught up a bit! Then he alerted me to some people having coffee on the balcony at 11, and he even made a pot of coffee for the occasion. I didn't have any coffee accoutrements with me, so that was appreciated! And it was nice to have a first coffee break with colleagues in 1.5 years.
I only had the lab booked for the morning, so I made sure to tidy up and clean and be out of the lab by noon. I know enough now to be able to have a good think about how exactly I would want to do my foram business on the actual fieldtrip. I figured I could get a bit more thorough than I would have done in the south. There just are things you can do in a dedicated teaching lab big enough for 150 students (in times without social distancing) you cannot do in a holiday chalet!