Dawn breaks before 3 a.m. in the Arctic July; dusk is short and doesn’t lead to night. Researchers trudge to the middle of ancient, drained lake basin. Thousands of years ago, the water from this frozen lake trickled out to a nearby river or seeped deep into the ground. The researchers aim to quantify how the plants in the basin breathe; that is how much carbon dioxide is taken in by the plant, and how much carbon dioxide is released from the microbial communities in the soils. One researcher stands over a clear small box, waiting patiently as the earth breathes in and out for her. The plants soak up the sunshine and drink in the surrounding carbon dioxide. She stands very still in a wetland, so as not to disrupt the system she is measuring. The cold water surrounds her boots; she drapes a black cloth over her box to mimic the night that is so rare this time of year; the plants pause their photosynthesis during this pseudo-night and the microbial activity is detectable. Measurements are finished for this plot. The researcher moves on to the next plot, the sun continues to shine; the earth breathes in and out.