Archive for the ‘Summer 2013’ Category

Mirror Lake Survey Results

Some Results from the Mirror Lake Survey

Some Results from the Mirror Lake Survey


Happy (almost) fall everyone! Liza and I have been busy finishing off our summer research on Mirror Lake, and are excited to share a small sample of our results. We learned a lot this summer about the Lake and all the wonderful people who live on and use the area. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in and helped out with our research, we couldn't have done it without you!

Aubrey and Liza

Read Full Post »

     In 1976, The Endless Chain of Nature was first published. Written by Patricia Patterson Sturges (1930-2002), this book is based on the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, which began in 1963. Patricia was very involved at Hubbard Brook and her grandson later became the first "third generation" researcher at Hubbard Brook. Patricia dedicated much of her time to educating children about science. Out of this devotion came The Endless Chain of Nature, a book that is accessible to middle-school readers and older.

     The Endless Chain of Nature follows the scientific adventures of researchers, just like us REUs. Key ecological ideas are introduced while an engaging story of real scientists solving real problems unfolds. This story takes place at the beloved Pleasant View Farm, where I am currently writing this blog post! Although the house has changed quite a bit, characters remain the same. We (the students) still interact with teachers and great scientists everyday! The 50th anniversary of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study was a prime example of great minds sharing their knowledge. Even after 50 years, Hubbard Brook remains a world-renowned scientific research site, and we can thank Patricia Patterson Sturges for spreading the word. Her book is a great way to get into science, and we encourage everyone to check it out at: http://endlesschain.pressbooks.com/.


Read Full Post »

Mirror Lake Survey Raffle Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who completed and returned the surveys regarding Mirror Lake. Liza and I are busy analyzing the responses and are looking forward to putting all of our results together. For those of you who do not know, included in the survey packet created by Liza and myself was an opportunity to enter a raffle for a chance to win a kayak, ATV, or snowmobile rental for two from Kelly Chase at OutBack Kayak in Woodstock, NH (http://www.outbackkayak.org). Without further adieu, the winner is.......

Ticket number 607657!

If this is your ticket number, please contact Liza at lltetley@plymouth.edu and she will get you all set up with Kelly. Thanks again to everyone who participated! Special thanks to OutBack Kayak for donating their time and resources to our research!

Read Full Post »

Orchid Update

The week of July fourth, the long-awaited event happened- the orchids opened up and flowered!  I've spent a lot of time since then  visiting orchids that were known to be flowering this year and counting the number of pollinia that have been taken.  Pollinia are sacs of pollen that the orchid flowers have at their entrance so that anybody wishing to drink nectar will pick up these sticky capsules, bringing them to the next flower they visit.

A flowering round-leaved orchid in watershed 1. The red arrows point to pollinia.

I have been using the number of pollinia missing from the flower spike as an indicator of how much pollinator activity an orchid is experiencing this season.  I hope to be able to relate this to factors such as spike height, the number of flowers produced by the plant and the distance to nearest flowering neighbor.  This will tell us whether orchids benefit from having neighbors, and whether growing taller and producing more flowers increases their chances of pollination.

The other part of my orchid project has to do with motion-activated cameras which I placed on orchids to try and capture a sight of their elusive pollinator!  Unfortunately this didn't pan out like I had hoped although I did get this picture of what may be a bat?

A long-eared bat?

None of my cameras picked up any pollinators, so that was disappointing.  The orchid pollinator remains a mystery for now!  Hopefully as I start analyzing my data, some other interesting things will come from my project.


Read Full Post »

Salamander Update!

"It's definitely Science...or a pet store" - Geoff Wilson

Six weeks into the ten week program, I finally got my REU project off the ground!  These nine tubs, located in the Henrietta Kendall Towers Lab next to Pleasant View, were completed Monday the 15th.  Each tub is designed to reflect a small area of rocky stream bottom, and the water is kept oxygenated by aquarium bubblers.  Six Two Lined salamander larvae were released into each tub.  Three tubs were then left as controls, three had a larger Spring salamander larvae added, and the final three had a Spring salamander larvae added inside a small cage.  Sixty total salamanders were collected from Bagley Brook inside the Hubbard Brook Forest, and will be returned after my study is over.

What each tub looks like inside, notice cover objects and Spring salamander cage made of PVC pipe

The inside of a PVC cage. The Spring salamander is in the upper left and the much smaller Two Lined salamander is in the bottom right.

What the heck am I doing with 60 captive salamanders?  Besides giving myself a headache, since I had to weigh and measure each one, I'm hoping to learn something about how the predation threat of the Spring salamander affects the Two Lined salamander's behavior.  Every other night until August 2nd, I will using a red light to visit the tubs from 10 pm until 2 am!  Spending 5 minutes on each tub, I turn off the bubbler and write down how many salamanders I see, where they are in the tub, and if they are active or inactive.  I just completed my second full night of observations, and Russell saved my life by making me some coffee partway through.  Hopefully I can keep staying awake!  Stay tuned 🙂


Read Full Post »

Survey Update!

Our table at Mirror Lake

Liza and I have been busy creating, distributing, collecting, and analyzing surveys for the past few weeks. Our mail back surveys ended up being 40 questions long (we like to think it's a fun 40 questions), and take about 15 minutes. We hand delivered about 90 surveys to homes around Mirror Lake, on Mirror Lake Road, and up and down Rt 3. While the responses have been coming in slowly, it has been fun to see local opinions about the lake and how people value it. We have also been going to the beach at Mirror Lake to do a shorter survey with people using the area. We have spent the past three days interviewing people at the beach and are planning on doing a few more days this week since the weather is supposed to be nice.

Liza and Aubrey at the 250th anniversary ice cream social for the town of Woodstock

In addition to hand delivering surveys to homes and doing beach surveys we have tried to take every opportunity to talk to the general public about the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation and our project. We recently visited the ice cream social celebration for the 250th anniversary for the town of Woodstock. We talked to some locals, had some ice cream, and had a great time!

Back to the beach!

Aubrey and Liza

Read Full Post »

LTER Review (Free Lunch)

A couple weeks ago, we (Sam and Carly) were invited to sit in with various grad students talking to the LTER review board about their experiences working at Hubbard Brook. In exchange, we received a free lunch, brownie included. Because we were thrown into the mix at the last minute, it wasn't until after this meeting that we found out what LTER actually means. LTER stands for Long Term Ecological Research, which is a program that studies ecological projects over time scales spanning decades to centuries. They focus on ecological changes and attempt to predict future responses to change. LTER currently consists of 26 sites, one of which is Hubbard Brook. They receive most of their funding from the NSF (National Science Foundation) and federal agencies such as the USDA Forest Service, NASA, etc.

The review board was here to evaluate Hubbard Brook as an LTER site, which happens every few years. The meeting was mostly for the grad students, with the reviewers asking them where their funding comes from and what they plan on doing after grad school. At the end of the meeting, they asked us how we heard about the REU program at Hubbard Brook. We both heard about it through professors at our schools. They also asked how we felt about life at Pleasant View Farm. We told them that we were learning a lot and having fun doing it. We also enjoy living with a couple of  the grad students because they have really showed us the ropes.We enjoyed the meeting and hearing what life might be like for us in the future when we go to grad school.

-Carly and Sam

Read Full Post »

Ecosystem Services

"According to the UNEP study, an annual investment of $45 billion to biodiversity conservation worldwide could safeguard about $5 trillion in ecosystem services – a benefit to cost ratio of 100 to 1." -Bill Jones "Economic Value of Lake Ecosystem Services"

I was doing some research for my socioeconomic and lake ecosystem services project the other day when I came across this 2010 article by Bill Jones. It's a great (and short!) read on the economic value of ecosystem services that is absolutely worth checking out if you're interested in the subject. The above quote is my favorite from the article. And, just for kicks, below is a link to an infographic of exactly how much one trillion dollars is (now keep in mind, above he's talking about five trillion dollars). Enjoy!

Read Bill Jones' article here

See what one trillion dollars looks like here


Read Full Post »

REU Introduction: Tim Campbell

Ahoy! My name is Tim Campbell and I grew up in the wicked cool state of New Hampshire. I am a rising junior at Bates College where I am majoring in Geology and Political Philosophy. When not in the field or reading in the college coffeehouse, I enjoy backpacking, skiing, and playing ultimate frisbee.

This summer I am part of the crew researching groundwater seeps. Specifically, I am attempting to spatially characterize the various seeps in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest by conducting a valley wide survey.

As you read this you may ask yourself, “what is a seep?” Seeps are “wet” spots on the side of hill slopes and are controlled by groundwater upwellings. Seeps have drastically different water chemistry than nearby surface water catchments, suggesting that seeps originate from different sources and travel along separate flow paths than surface streams. Groundwater seeps exhibited perennial and persistent flow, unique vegetation, upslope accumulated areas smaller in area than common stream initiation sites, and higher pH values. Due to higher pH values than nearby streams, seeps have the  potential to buffer stream acidity within watersheds regardless of flow conditions. Before it is possible to evaluate the significance of seeps, understanding their spatial characteristics is required.

by Tim Campbell

open canopy
mud, sedge, moose poop everywhere
don’t step in; beware

no rain? it still flows
the water comes from below
it's perrenial

high pH, surprise
do not damage the GC,
lots of DIC

now what does this mean?
seeps are cool, but don’t know why.
stay tuned, there'll be more

Read Full Post »

REU Student Intro: Sam

Canoeing in the Adirondacks

Hello, my name is Sam Gersie and I’m from northwestern New Jersey.  Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty nice there.  I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont, with a major in Environmental Science and minors in Forestry and in Geospatial Technologies.  I love to hike, canoe, and listen to good music.


Here at Hubbard Brook I am working on a project reconstructing forest history.  I am working under the guidance of Drs. Scott Bailey and Charlie Cogbill. The project involves looking at tree cores that have been taken all over Hubbard Brook Valley and analyzing them for growth releases.  When a tree has a favorable growing season the ring for that year is larger.  These years normally occur when a tree receives more sunlight due to another tree next to it dying.  By finding these growth releases it is possible to tell when disturbances occurred in the forest.  The two main disturbances to happen in Hubbard Brook include logging in the early 1900’s and a hurricane in 1938.  Since we know the exact locations of the trees that have been cored, it is possible to tell when and where disturbances happened in the forest.  The second part of my project will be to enter this data into GIS format to present a spatial view of the disturbance history at Hubbard Brook.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »