Megan Lenss studies sea ice algae at both poles

Megan Lenss (middle) playfully pushes her mother, Shona (left), as they stroll a path Dec. 20 with her father, Marty, at Indian Creek Nature Centre in southeast Cedar Rapids. Megan Lenss will pay a visit to equally poles in 6 months as element of a Fulbright study system in oceanography. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sea ice algae feed the krill, which feed the fish, which feed the whales. So what takes place if the algae bloom also early or too late, leaving little one krill with no a food stuff resource?

These are the issues Megan Lenss, a Cedar Rapids Xavier and College of Iowa graduate, is learning as part of a Fulbright Review/Investigation Arts grant in oceanography in Norway this calendar year. She and other researchers do this do the job as Arctic sea ice shrinks simply because of local weather change.

“In the Arctic, the alterations are devastating,” Lenss claimed. “Even the more youthful scientists in their 30s, when they ended up my age, they were choosing ice floes that ended up not far too thick mainly because having a 5-meter ice core is not enjoyable. Where by now we’re looking for an ice floe that is massive enough to place your boat into.”

Lenss, 23, was in Cedar Rapids for the vacations to pay a visit to with her father, Marty, who is director of The Jap Iowa Airport, mother, Shona, and brother, Connor.

Instructional U-convert

Lenss arrived to science later on than some college students. She went to the UI as a Presidential Scholar preparing to examine English and then marketing. But a sequence of Earth and Environmental Sciences classes taught by Kate Tierney and her husband, Brad Cramer, changed Lenss’s intellect.

“I don’t believe I would have at any time considered I could do science right up until they were like ‘It’s in you’,” Lenss claimed. “I experience so grateful for individuals persons in my lifestyle.”

Science is not normally uncomplicated. Right now, Lenss is finding out how to code due to the fact coding language will allow scientists to much more quickly share their knowledge and workflow with other experts and the community.

“It may well as very well be Mandarin or Arabic. It’s just miserable,” she laughed.

But discovering these skills enables Lenss to interpret developments in the natural entire world and express them to the public and to policymakers. “I’m blessed plenty of to learn the language that the Earth has offered us to connect with it,” she stated.

Visits to both of those poles

Lenss, who acquired a bachelor of science in geoscience from the UI in 2021, now life in Tromsø, Norway, and operates in collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute and the University of Tromsø.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Software accepts only about 20 per cent of programs for grants to review, conduct investigate or educate English abroad for a 12 months.

Final summer months, Lenss visited the central Arctic on a 5-week research vacation to assemble sea ice samples — though striving to avoid polar bears. The animals are curious and will not hesitate to chomp an pricey scientific instrument, so a security crew watches for bears and seems a horn or fires a flare to continue to keep them absent.

“We want them (bears) to have a detrimental interaction with us,” Lenss stated.

On Jan. 10, Lenss will board a container ship at Cape Town, South Africa, for a five-7 days research cruise to the waters off the coastline of Antarctica. The voyage is a joint mission to resupply the investigate station and acquire water samples.

Mastering an additional language

Lenss ideas to end her master’s degree in spring 2024 and then begin a Ph.D. software. In the meantime, she enjoys Tromsø, a metropolis of additional than 70,000 earlier mentioned the Arctic Circle famed as a put for viewing the Northern Lights.

Norwegians set spikes on the tires of their cars and bikes to get all-around in the winter season, but it’s also a great place to take pleasure in wintertime sporting activities like cross-region snowboarding, which Lenss also did as a superior schooler in Cedar Rapids.

“The type of politeness in Scandinavia is distinctive from ours. They give each individual other far more space,” Lenss reported. “I blend in actually perfectly, people today often assume I’m Norwegian till I’m like “How are you?” I was accomplishing way as well considerably eye make contact with on public transit.“

Lenss is discovering to communicate Norwegian, which is a problem since there are so a lot of regional dialects.

“When you are speaking a different language you give up aspect of your temperament,” Lenss stated. “Everyone is building that sacrifice for me all the time suitable now. I’m so thrilled to get to know my good friends yet again in Norwegian.”

Megan Lenss smiles at her father, Marty, as she prepares to walk a trail Dec. 20 with him and mother Shona (not pictured) at Indian Creek Mother nature Middle in southeast Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Remarks: (319) 339-3157 [email protected]

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