One of the blogs of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) has a nice feature about field rucksacks. Scientists reveal what they pack into their rucksack when they departure for field work. I have already introduced you to my field work at cockchafer infested sites in Germany, and now you will also get a chance to peek into my field rucksack.
But before I can unpack my field rucksack at a measurement site, I first have to get there. What I really like about Germany is the fact that one can reach almost any location by public transport. I usually take the train and for covering the distance between a train station and a field site, I have my bicycle. The bicycle is also very useful to carry the spade used for soil excavations.
And here is a list of all the items you can find when unpacking my field rucksack.
- A small suitcase with audio equipment (microphones and an external amplifier) for spying on cockchafer larvae in the soil.
- A folder with data sheets (one for each excavated soil plot).
- 35 glass test tubes (110 ml volume each) with rubber stoppers for a) incubation of larvae to quantify their methane emissions, and b) transport of bulk soil samples.
- A suitcase containing a sensor and data logger for measuring soil moisture and soil temperature at different soil depths. The suitcase can also be used as a small table.
- Stainless steel cylinders with caps to collect undisturbed soil samples. Undisturbed soil samples are necessary to quantify dry bulk density and gravimetric soil moisture content.
- A knife.
- A small scale to weigh excavated cockchafer larvae.
- A plastic box with useful small items (pens, batteries, hollow needles for syringes, ect.).
- A stop watch to time larval incubations in the glass test tubes.
- The other half of my audio equipment – headphones and an audio recorder.
- A water and dirt proof field book for taking notes in addition to what is recorded on the data sheets.
- A small shovel.
- A spoon (which I actually never used…)
- A box containing evacuated glass vials for gas sample collection and storage, and two plastic syringes (one spare) for gas sampling.
- A mobile, handheld weather station for measuring air temperature, air pressure, relative air humidity, and wind speed. A GPS device to determine the exact position of each dug up soil plot.
- From left to right: a tool to insert stainless steel cylinders into soil without disturbing it, a knife to remove protruding soil from the cylinders after sampling, a hammer to drive the steel cylinder tool into the soil, a folding yardstick, and wooden sticks to mark the plots for excavation.
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, disposable gloves (cockchafer larvae are not “house-trained”), plastic bags for bulk soil samples and trash, and tape.