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The hydrology team gets to work!

The hydrology team of the project over the next two months consists of Maafaka Ravelona and Bob Zwartendijk

Part 1Bob and Maafaka     

We will carry out infiltration methods at the same sites as where the Biodiversity and Carbon work-packages are working.  After the fieldwork launch meeting on Monday the 10th of February 2014 at LRI with the Carbon and Biodiversity teams, we moved to the campsite of Mitsinjo at Andasibe. After some reconnaissance the first transect was set-up and the teams started with their measurements!

double ring infiltrometer

The hydrology team started with three different methods, namely: soil surface infiltration, soil core samples and the dye experiment. We determined the soil surface infiltration capacity at five points per sample site along the soil and butterfly transect. The soil surface infiltration capacity is determined with a double-ring-infiltrometer.



sampler and cylinders

The soil core samples are taken with the use of a sampler and cylinders.





weighing soil samples

Within these samples the porosity, drainage at field capacity and the bulk density are determined at two depths (between 12.5 and 17.5 and between 22.5 and 27.5 centimeter below the soil surface). These samples are also taken at five different points along the transects. When we’re carrying out our methods it is very important (and a challenge) to disturb the soil and the environment as little as possible. This is quite difficult when the vegetation is very dense or when there are lots of roots or rocks in the soil.



dye spraying

With the dye experiment the infiltration patterns will be determined per sample site. This is done by imaging a precipitation event by spraying blue colored water (dye), which of course is not harmful for the environment, onto a square meter.






infiltration pattern determinedA day after spraying, the soil is excavated along six sections within the sprayed square meter.  

Two weeks after the fieldwork launch, we have already collected 60 soil cores, 30 soil surface infiltration measurements and three dye plots!



Our challenge for the coming weeks: carrying out saturated hydraulic conductivity measurements (with an Amoozemeter) and arranging logistics and campsites together with the biodiversity team.

Date - 3 March 2014