Text by Kaia Kask
From 28th of March to 13 of April senior scientist Astrid Kännaste and PhD student Kaia Kask were visiting professor David Ellsworth in the Western Sydney University in Hawkesbury, Australia. The purpose of the visit was to measure VOC-s and photosynthesis of 16 different species. Plant VOC-s were collected on multibed cartridges and photosynthesis was measured with Li-Cor 6400. Measured species were located in the EucFACE experimental site and in Davies park, Springwood.
Most of the time we were lucky to measure the whole day as there was no rain, but during hot and sunny days, especially after midday, we had to pause photosynthesis measurements as plants were not “collaborative” with us. Stomata closure and reduced net assimilation rate would give wrong numbers on measured species. Therewhile we continued work inside the station, weighted leaves and measured leaf area; or collected extra samples from each species for later analyses in Estonia.
For measuring in the EucFACE site, long trousers, closed shoes and walkie-talkies were obligatory equipment for everyday measurements, as the most venomous black and brown snakes could be on the site territory. Actually we could not even distinguish snakes from the fallen branches and Eucalyptus bark, as these seemed also like snakes. Sometimes we used bigger branched to make some noise or check the area around us. Astrid was the lucky one to see a juvenile brown snake on the pathway in front of the station house. Also while looking for species for measurements we saw kangaroos. Hat and a water bottle were in our ever day equipment as well, because temperatures were mostly up to 35°C.
We also managed to visit some botanical gardens, like Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. We were amazed from what we saw. Similarly, a visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship was impressive.
We would like to thank David for his valuable time and suggestions and all his team members who helped us.