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Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

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Trees and bugs in computers

August 10, 2012, by Yujia Zhou
Scientists often rely on sensors to collect data. However, sensors can go wrong due to various surprising yet possible reasons. Have you ever thought, what you would do if you lost a couple of hours’ data because a lightning destroyed the sensor? Also, your sensor may freeze during winter time due to low temperature. Moreover, certain sensors require calibration every year because of inexorable sensor drift. As a result, raw data is usually not very reliable before some special processing, or “quality control.” This summer, I worked with Dr. Emery Boose and Prof. Barbara Lerner on quality...Read more >

Visualization tools for digital dataset derivation graphs

August 10, 2012, by Miruna Oprescu
If you were a scientist working with more than 10,000 new data points every week, how well would you be able to keep track of all the changes you made to the data to obtain the final results? Moreover, if you were to look at your research 5 to 10 years from now, how well would you or any other scientist be able to reproduce your results from the original data? This summer, I am working with Emery Boose, researcher at Harvard Forest, Barbara Lerner, professor of Computer Science at Mt. Holyoke College and Yujia Zhou, rising senior at Dikinson College, to develop effective tools for creating,...Read more >

Team ragweed

August 8, 2012, by Tiffany Carey and Courtney Maloney
One of the many signs of Spring is the United States’ report on pollen counts across the country. These pollen counts are essential, due to the 35 million Americans who get hay fever every year from pollen. In our project, we investigated whether allergenic pollen concentrations from three ecotypes of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) produce more pollen in response to rising CO2 concentrations. Our objective was to test for differences in pollen production by ecotypes from these climatically distinct parts of New England. In order to predict when and where pollen allergies are most...Read more >

K-12 phenology lessons for the phenocam project

August 6, 2012, by Katherine Bennett
Katie Bennett and students.
  In the fall of 2011, the Ashburnham- Westminster Regional School District became the first of five schools to join Dr. Andrew Richardson’s Phenocam Network with the installation of a digital phenocam on the roof of Overlook Middle School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. As a part of the Phenocam project, students at the K-12 level have expanded the scope of phenological monitoring that is part of the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology Program protocol, Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming. In this protocol, students work with Dr. John O’Keefe to monitor buds and leaves on schoolyard trees to...Read more >

MODIS satellite imagery as applied to phenological assessment, team BU

August 6, 2012, by Erin Frick and Jose Luis Rugelio
MODIS tile
Observations of vegetation phenology can be collected not only from ground-level field studies but also space borne remote sensing instruments. In particular, satellite images may be used to assess vegetative phenophase transition dates such as spring onset, maximum vegetation cover and senescence across regional scales. One approach to such assessment entails analysis of data from the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument. MODIS provides measurements of light reflectance that can be analyzed to estimate phenophase transition dates with respect to variation in land...Read more >

Near remote sensing to track changes in phenology in forests, team Harvard

August 6, 2012, by Dmitri Ilushin, Sascha Perry, and Hannah Skolnik
A representative photo from Kenya of a water buffalo at a watering hole.
This year, the Richardson Lab of Harvard University and the Friedl lab of Boston University set out to study climate change using two different methods, remote sensing and near remote sensing. This summer, the two teams predominantly focused on honing the methods already established by other scientists to study the changing climate as well as widen the subset of biomes and localities studied. Team Harvard is comprised of Dmitri Ilushin of Harvard University; Sascha Perry, Lincoln University in Missouri; and Hannah Skolnik of Columbia University. We are under the direction of the Richardson...Read more >

Part one of biotic change in hemlock forests - Moose, deer, and porcupines

August 1, 2012, by Andrew Moe
This summer, along with my mentor Ed Faison , a research associate at Harvard Forest and ecologist at Highstead Arboretum in Connecticut, I have been working on a project investigating the impacts of herbivory by moose, deer, and porcupine on regenerating forests. More specifically, we are interested in looking at regeneration within stands of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Here in New England, hemlock forests are under attack. The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), an exotic insect already responsible for widespread mortality of hemlock throughout the Eastern U.S., has arrived in...Read more >

Part three of biotic change in hemlock forests - Ants and spiders

August 1, 2012, by Yvan Delgado de la Flor
Eastern hemlock is a foundation species in eastern North America and plays a critical role in the local biota. This tree deeply shades the soil, creating a unique microclimate for some species. Currently, hemlocks are dying rapidly due to the invasive woolly adelgid, a nonnative phloem-feeding insect, causing alterations to the understory microclimates. Hemlocks are being replaced slowly by hardwood forests. All of these changes affect the entire ecosystem and result in the local extinction of some arthropods; for example, some ants and spiders are very sensitive to changes in temperatures...Read more >

Part two of biotic change in hemlock forests - Rodents

August 1, 2012, by Elizabeth Kennett
3:40am my alarm goes off. I adorn my headlamp, throw on some field clothes, tuck my pants into my socks, and climb into my mentor Ally Degrassi's truck. We're going trapping. The afternoon before this we had been out to the Ridge block, one of our two. Each block consists of four hemlock forest treatments. The first two treatments are one plot that was logged out five years ago and is now full of young vegetation and the second is a plot in which the hemlocks within it have been girdled; killing the trees but leaving them standing, this was done to mimic the affect of the Wooly Adelgid, a...Read more >

Forest dynamics in former plantations

July 23, 2012, by Anne Cervas
This summer, I am working with my mentor, Audrey Barker Plotkin , to study former plantations at the Harvard Forest. We are working in the field to record the growth and changing vegetation dynamics as the former plantations grow back as native forest after a century of plantation forestry. We are also combining data from the Harvard Forest Archives to the data we collect in the field to study the growth and composition of the plantation forests compared to the native second-growth forest. Plantations were an important component of the Harvard Forest in the first fifty years after its...Read more >

Global warming and forest soil micro biomes

July 19, 2012, by Sonia Filipczak
Global Warming has become a topic under much debate, yet carrying implications that affect everyone. Whether you are young or old, plant, animal, or microbe, some of the obvious signs such as less snow in the winter and unbearably hot summers should remind us how much of an impact each individual has on our world. Among all of the individuals on this planet, soil microbes make up a large population and their response to climate change should be of concern. After all, there are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than people on Earth! Similar to us, microbial communities are affected by the...Read more >

The adventures of taco

July 16, 2012, by Candice Hilliard, Adalyn Naka, and Margaret Garcia
Our first task for our summer project was a giant scavenger hunt throughout the whole forest: find our 100 plots, where we were to take measurements throughout the summer. Armed with our Tacoma, also known as Taco, a GPS unit, a map, and three bug jackets, we began our search. Our plots consist of three short but wide pieces of PVC pipe, called collars, which are each marked by a flag. Here’s a shot of one of our plots—can you find the flags? The collars are where we measure carbon respiration of the soil. Using our lovely Li-Cor, we can get a reading of how much carbon dioxide the soil is...Read more >

Conservation awareness

July 11, 2012, by Laura Bartock and Emma Schnur
Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state, but it is also the eighth most forested with more than 60% of the commonwealth covered by woodland. Of all this vast forested land, private families own more than 75% of it. That means that the future of our forests is in the hands of families just like yours and mine. In order to understand how the forests may change in time, we need to understand how these families are making decisions about their woodlands. That’s why we’re here this summer. We’re working with Dave Kittredge of UMass Amherst on employing the fourth iteration of the...Read more >

Forest and atmosphere dynamics

July 9, 2012, by Alexander Kappel and Paul Quackenbush
Long-term scientific research estimates that northern mid-latitude forests, like the Harvard Forest, store nearly a quarter of the billions of tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere annually by fossil fuel burning ( http://www.lternet.edu/vignettes/hfr.html ). These forests provide an invaluable resource in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and slowing climate change. However, the mechanisms behind carbon sequestration in these forests require more investigation in order to begin to predict how these forests might continue to take in carbon over the coming years with...Read more >

Soil microbial respiration in a warming world

July 2, 2012, by Lauren Alteio
This summer, I am working with Jerry Melillo , Lindsay Scott, and members of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory to analyze the activity of soil microbes in response to soil warming. We study the extremely dynamic microenvironments within the soil to understand how the health of forest ecosystems can be affected by global climate change. Soil plots at Prospect Hill have been heated for twenty-one years, meaning the project is older than me! Initially in the project, scientists saw that the amount of carbon dioxide released through microbial respiration was greater in the...Read more >

Global climate change with ants and slugs

June 25, 2012, by Matt Combs and Katie Davis
Ants with Matt Combs Melting wax, digging through sand, and orchestrating the spectacular deaths of entire colonies of ants - seems more fitting for a preschooler than an undergraduate student, working a full-time job. Yet somehow, fate has landed this college senior his dream job: spending the summer in a professional scientific setting while doing things even a little kid would find cool. I represent one-half of the Warm Ants team this summer, which is a long-term research project working to determine the effects of rising air temperatures on ant ecology. We take measurements every month...Read more >

Hemlock trees and their pests

June 25, 2012, by Julia Brokaw and Vincent Waquiu
We got out of the truck at one of our research sites and saw two older women painting a picture of the forested road in afternoon sunlight. It was a beautiful scene, but what the artists didn’t know was that they were surrounded by stressed, thinning, and sick hemlock trees infested with the Hemlock Woolley Adelgid (HWA), the invasive insect pest currently attacking Eastern Hemlock Trees. Hemlock trees are a ‘foundation species’ of forests. They are long-living, shade tolerant conifers that usually grow in groups or are assembled with other tree species. Hemlocks contribute to watershed...Read more >

Pitchers and their tipping points

June 18, 2012, by Jennie Sirota
My project for this summer studies the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea . I am working with Aaron Ellison and Benjamin Baiser on a newly funded research project that studies the widespread issue of tipping points. Tipping points are the change from one state to another. These can occur in many different systems, such as in the atmosphere or even in the economy. While it is difficult to predict the changes, we study tipping points to attempt to prevent them from happening because it is energy and resource expensive to return from a change. To test tipping points, we...Read more >

Underground photography of root growth

June 13, 2012, by Samuel Knapp
I’m still shocked by the opportunity I have been given this summer. Being from the upper-Midwest, I was unsure what I would find when I arrived at the Harvard Forest. Much to my delight, the people of Massachusetts and Harvard Forest have been friendly and welcoming. The region is beautifully forested, and the surrounding communities live up to all the great things I’ve heard about New England culture (accents included). My research this summer at the Harvard Forest looks into the unseen world of roots, specifically the timing of their growth and decay. Trees allocate carbon to roots in the...Read more >

Butterflies and bumblebees

June 11, 2012, by Aubrie James and Kelsey McKenna
This summer, we’re studying animal movement with Dr. Elizabeth Crone and some of her “Cronies” (lab members and affiliates): post-doctoral fellow Greg Breed , Harvard OEB graduate student James Crall, and research intern Dash Donnelly. We’re looking at how anthropogenic landscape changes and resource availability affect population dynamics in two different organisms: bumblebees and butterflies. Since we’re both especially interested in morphological changes, we’ll sometimes stop fieldwork for a day and head out to the Concord Field Station in Bedford, MA where we’ll use high-speed cameras to...Read more >

Providing safe and clean water

June 4, 2012, by Tefiro Kituuka Serunjogi
This summer I will work with Dr. Betsy Colburn to advance a research project I started in high school. The objective of my original project was to investigate ways in which hygienic and clean water could be provided to the people of my local community back home in Uganda. My goal this summer is to build an implementable prototype of a filtration system and then test it for effectiveness, reliability and efficiency. Through my tests, I will look at how well the system purifies water, the life span of the system, and the logistics involved in maintaining the system. My filtration system...Read more >

What are you up to now?

May 30, 2012
Bennet Leon Summer Research Program '05 Mentors: Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Evolution of pit and mound microtopography 15 years after a simulated hurricane (abstract)  Hometown: Sudbury, MA College and major: Bates College, class of 2007, Geology What you miss most about the Summer Research program: Being around enthusiastic students with similar interests and spending all day in the hemlock forest or simulated hurricane experiment. What you miss least about the program: Having Lyme disease--check for ticks! What about the program has stuck with you: A better understanding of our...Read more >

Harvard Forest 2012 summer research program kicks off!

May 29, 2012
On May 21st, we welcomed 29 students to the Harvard Forest for our 2012 Summer Research Program. Our students were introduced to Petersham, Massachusetts after flying or driving into the Harvard Forest from all over the world. As one student from Uganda, studying at Grinnell College in Iowa, will work on economically friendly water sanitation techniques for the poor populations of Africa and a group of three from Cornell University, Brown University and Villanova University will study the soil carbon dynamics of the Harvard Forest, research at the forest this summer will be diverse and...Read more >

More summer research program alumni news

April 2, 2012
As we prepare for our 2012 crop of Summer Research students, congratulations are in order for a few program alumni: Israel Del Toro (REU '08), a graduate student at UMass-Amherst, has earned a Fulbright to study ants in Australia in 2012-2013. Maggie Wagner (REU '09) has earned an NSF GRFP fellowship to support her graduate work in conservation genetics at Duke University. Nick Povak (REU '02), Megan Manner and Donald Niebyl (both REU '04) have published a paper in Ecosphere with several Harvard Forest scientists on the density and distribution of the hemlock woolly adelgid.Read more >

Spotlight on summer students

January 17, 2012
Several of our recent Summer Research Program students have had their research featured in the news this year: Jakob (REU '11) via The New York Times! (pp3-4 + slideshow) Linn and Sofiya (REU '11) via Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts Alanna (REU '11) via San Juan College (p. 5) Tara (REU '11) via the U. of Massachusetts-Amherst Andrew (REU '11) via Ripon College in Wisconsin Sam (REU '11) via Middlebury College in Vermont Lindsay (REU '11) via Emerson College in Massachusetts Kevin (REU '11) via Notre Dame in Indiana Marcus (REU '11) via Clark U. in Massachusetts Kate (REU '11)...Read more >

Fine woody debris dynamics after an ice storm

August 23, 2011, by Jakob Lindaas
I used to walk through a forest, always looking up in wonder at the tall, sturdy trees and their vast canopies. But after this summer I have a newfound appreciation for what lies underneath these great sentries of the forest realm. Among the seasonal litterfall and the rotting remains of former protectors of peaceful succession, lay my study subjects. These are fallen soldiers of a war raged in December of 2008, between a mighty ice storm and the winter vigil kept by the mighty red oaks, their sidekick red maples, their hemlock allies, and their understory minions: beeches, yellow birches and...Read more >

Microbes in a warmer world

August 23, 2011, by Tara and Kelden
A major area of research here at Harvard Forest focuses on understanding the ecological changes within the forest due to a rapidly warming climate. These climate conditions are replicated at the forest using several experimentally warmed plots that are heated by resistance cables placed beneath the soil surface. In collaboration with the Marine Biological Labs (MBL), we attempted to understand microbial diversity and function within these manipulated plots, in order to investigate the roles of these microbes in the global carbon cycle in response to warming. This study was motivated by prior...Read more >

Ragweed in a changing climate

August 23, 2011, by Linn Jennings, Laura Hancock, and Samuel Safran
Ambrosia artemisiifolia , better known as common ragweed, is a leading cause of hay fever allergies. It grows in disturbed areas, like roadsides and abandoned fields. Increased atmospheric CO2 has been shown to increase the pollen production and growth of ragweed. Thus, with predicted changes in land use and climate, pollen production of common ragweed is likely to increase. Our team carried out three experiments – a presence/absence study, a demographic study, and greenhouse experiment – to collect data that will be used to develop maps of allergy risk under both current and future...Read more >

REU skydiving!

August 23, 2011, by Laura Hancock
After all the work and research is done, we definitely know how to have some fun! The last weekend of the program, three fellow REU students--Lindsay Day, Alanna Yazzie, Keke Mitchel, and I decided to do something extremely exciting and go skydiving! We've all wanted to try it, so to me it seemed like the perfect way to end the summer. About 20 minutes from Harvard Forest, in Orange, Massachusetts, is a top-notch skydiving facility, Jumptown . All of four of us decided to jump tandem, though you could go through a day of training and jump on your own. We exited the plane at 13,500 ft and...Read more >

Sampling the lyford grid

August 23, 2011, by Kate Eisen and Collette Yee
A permanent plot study provides an amazing opportunity for ecological research because it allows scientists to observe changes over ecological time. While many studies take place over a few field seasons at most because of funding or other limitations, permanent plot studies allow scientists to ask questions that only be answered over years or decades by providing a larger window into the dynamics of a site or population over time. For this reason, permanent plot studies are also essential to studying organisms like trees that grow slowly and often live for a long time. At 42 years old, the...Read more >

Urban ecology

August 23, 2011, by Ashley Golphin
Whereas most of the 2011 Harvard Forest REU group conducted research in rural forested areas, my research partner Stephan Bradley and I braved the streets of inner-city Boston to expand our understanding of how urban ecosystems function with regards to urban greening. Urban greening is the expansion and conservation of vegetated areas in cities through local stewardship practices. For this study we choose 7 urban green sites (community gardens and pocket parks) and paired them with 7 nearby non-green sites (abandoned lots) to explore how human use patterns, along with related measures of...Read more >

Water transport in trees

August 23, 2011, by Alena Tofte
Multitudes of tightly packed rings in an old, sturdy tree hide a secret – not only do they elucidate to a discerning viewer a historical record of how much the tree grew each year for the course of its life, but these rings also contain the remnants of its once-functional woody vascular tissue, the xylem. Xylem once threaded thin streams of water and vital nutrients throughout the growing tree’s roots, trunk and crown. Water transport in trees is a process ruled by a multitude of factors, including the porosity of the wood, the size of the vessels which comprise the vasculature, the species'...Read more >

"Warm ants"

August 3, 2011, by Natashia, Michael, and Kevin
The Warm Ants team is interested in examining the effects of climate change on ecosystem services, species interactions, and biodiversity. We are continuing monitoring of the open top heated chambers at the long term Warm Ants plot through monthly pitfall trapping, winkler sampling, vegetation surveys, and artificial nest investigation. Check out a video we made describing the experimental design of the heated chambers! Michael is studying the effects of climate change on ant-aphid mutualisms. He wants to see how species interactions will change under artificially warmed conditions. The Warm...Read more >

Climate change impacts on phenology and ecosystem processes of northeastern forests

August 3, 2011, by Bridget, Libby, Lakeitha, Rachel, and Isaac
Phenology is the study of changes in organisms due to the seasonal cycle. Phenological shifts in forest and other ecosystems, due to climate change, could have important impacts on carbon and nutrient cycling. Therefore, it is important to find easy and accurate ways of tracking phenology in numerous ecosystems over an extended period of time. The Harvard Forest has multiple digital cameras set up to take photos of the canopy. These cameras are part of a larger network of digital cameras known as the Phenocam network. Images from this network are used to evaluate changes in phenology based on...Read more >

Paleoecology lab

August 3, 2011, by Lindsay Day
This summer, I researched and contributed to the reconstruction of past ecosystems by working in the Paleoecology lab. Our main field research experience involved a lake-coring trip to Martha’s Vineyard. My mentor Wyatt, lab manager Elaine Doughty, Director of Harvard Forest David Foster and I loaded up the big green van with canoes and coring equipment and took the trip out to the Vineyard. Lake coring involves attaching a wooden board to two canoes and loading all sorts of tubes and poles into the constructed raft. The four of us rode the raft out to the deepest point in the lake and...Read more >

Summer winding down for student researchers but the fun isn't over just yet

July 28, 2011, by Moshe Roberts, Summer Proctor
As students wrap up their projects, polish their abstracts and start preparing their presentations for the annual symposium in August, they are still finding time for some exciting excursions to local cities, Boston and the coast. Students attended the midnight premier of the eighth and final Harry Potter movie on July 15, getting into the spirit by coming in costume! This summer has been one of the hottest yet, with many days topping 90 degrees, and students took the weekend as an opportunity to explore one of Massachusetts’ great State Parks on the coast at Plum Island. With salt marshes...Read more >

Interns explore boston

June 23, 2011, by Moshe Roberts, Summer Proctor
Throughout June, the interns have had the opportunity to explore their surroundings from the farmers markets and produce stands of Petersham to the local businesses at Taste of Amherst to the urban atmosphere of Boston. At Taste of Amherst, students were able to sample dishes from a variety of restaurants and eateries all gathered together in the beautiful town green for this annual food festival. While looking for farms to pick fresh strawberries, the students discovered Carter & Stevens Country Store, where fresh produce, wine and local products abound, along with a slew of farm animals...Read more >

Pitcher plant communities as model food webs

June 20, 2011, by Rachel Brooks
Covered in mud, and smelling similar to the stagnant swamp I found myself surrounded by, I peer deep into the small cuplike leaves of the Sarracenia purpurea (Northern Pitcher Plant), a long-lived carnivorous plant. Contained in these delicate green and red veined pitchers (which have become my life for this summer) an entire detritus-based food-web thrives. This community, consisting of bacteria, protozoa, rotifers, and anthropods, is diversified with numerous endemic species that can only be found within this unique little niche. Therefore, every morning, dripping in the cold early morning...Read more >

Soil carbon dynamics and its controls at Harvard Forest

June 9, 2011, by Moussa Bakari, Julianna Brunini, and Leticia Delgado
Like plants and animals, soils “breathe.” That is, the microbes and roots found in dirt release carbon dioxide as they respire, and then the CO2 diffuses its way into the atmosphere. Our project focuses on the rate of this diffusion, or the CO2 flux, because we hope to better understand processes that affect the storage and release of CO2 in soils. Whether the net flux is positive or negative will greatly impact future climate change, so understanding soil carbon dynamics is an integral part of understanding climate change. Interestingly, the amount of carbon found in soils is double that in...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 9, 2011
Dunbar Carpenter REU '07 and '09 Mentors: Kristina Stinson, David Foster, Jonathan Thompson Project: Landscape-scale Ecological Drivers of Alliaria Petiolata Invasion in Western Massachusetts (2007); Biomass Energy and a Changing Forest Landscape: Modeling the Effects of Intensified Harvesting of Massachusetts' Forests for Biomass Energy Production (2009) Hometown: Portland, OR College and major: Harvard College, class of 2008, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology What you miss most about the REU program: Being at Harvard Forest surrounded by great peers and scientists. Working closely with...Read more >

First weekend at Harvard Forest!

June 1, 2011
After roasting s'mores over a Friday night bonfire, the interns headed to Amherst for the day to explore the cultural festival happening at UMass Amherst, see some historical sites, and to catch a flick at the nearby mall. Whether students saw the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, or The Hangover Part II, all can agree it was a great day! The next morning was filled with baking and games. Cupcakes were enjoyed by all before an evening hike to the fire tower to watch the sunset. This gave students an opportunity to explore the woods and climb to one of the highest points in the...Read more >

REU students and mentors participate in art and cultural programs

June 1, 2011
On Friday afternoon, students explored an open studio hosted by Harvard Forest’s artist in residence and Bullard Fellow, Debby Kaspari. Tara Mahendrarajah, a student attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst exclaimed, “Her art was intricate and beautiful, depicting trees from Martha’s Vineyard and from across the region. She showed us her tools and instruments too and discussed her artistic process, taking photographs so she could remember what she saw. It was really cool, actually.” On Tuesday evening, the students had the opportunity to learn more about the local area at Orange’...Read more >

Welcome, REU 2011!

May 30, 2011
32 students arrived this week for the Harvard Forest summer research program in ecology. Students have come from colleges and universities all over the United States to participate in on-going ecology-based research for eleven weeks. These students will work on a wide diversity of projects, focusing on plant physiology, invasive species, insect ecology, land-use history, phenology, and climate change. Students also get to participate in seminars, discussions on ethics in science, and career-building opportunities. The program will culminate with a full-day symposium where each student...Read more >

What are you up to now?

May 10, 2011
Cassandra Rivas REU '08 Mentor: Audrey Barker Plotkin Project: Forest type transition directly influences the seed bank Hometown: Edinburgh, TX College and major: University of Texas-Pan American, class of 2008, Biology/Music What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the east coast forests, the fire tower (great for meditation & an easy get-away), afternoon thunderstorms, and all the wonderful people I met that summer. What you miss least about the REU program: The humidity and mosquitoes. What about the REU program has stuck with you: The field experience (botany/forestry) I...Read more >

Spotlight on summer students

November 22, 2010
Several of our recent REU students were featured in stories written by their home universities this year. Sarah (REU '10) at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin Lianna with Sofiya and Cory (REU '10) at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts Andrea (REU '10) at Humboldt State University in California Margaurete (REU '10) at Saint Leo University in Florida Mickey (REU '10) at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania Angie (REU '10) at Clark University in Massachusetts. David, Relena, and Jen (REU '03, '08, and '09) at Harvard and Wellesley Colleges in Massachusetts And check out Allison's...Read more >

'10 REUs say goodbye to Harvard Forest, for now

August 17, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
After their two-day Symposium and a final day of cleaning, organizing, and packing, the summer students at Harvard Forest had nothing remaining except to say their goodbyes before heading back home. For twelve weeks, the students lived together in two houses at the Forest, sharing stories about their homes and colleges, from Oregon to Texas to Wisconsin to Vermont. Now, it was time for them to disperse and begin telling their friends and family the stories about their summer in Petersham, MA. Thank you all for a fantastic program! Keep in touch, as all of our paths are bound to cross again in...Read more >

A final excursion before the end of summer

August 13, 2010, by Sarah Gray
Before tears were shed and goodbyes were said, a few of the REU students went for ice cream at Carter and Stevens, a local farm store. C&S is famous for their Friday night cookout, where they serve burgers, corn, and fresh veggies roasted over the fire. With none of Tim's delicious cooking at Harvard Forest and no reason to buy groceries since everyone was headed home the next day, a few of us went to chow down on locally-produced beef and delicious grilled veggies. The evening ended with eating fresh homemade ice cream, feeding the cows, and playing on the swings. It was a low key event...Read more >

REUs ace summer symposium!

August 12, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
In the final week of the Summer Research Program in Ecology for Undergraduates at Harvard Forest, all 33 students participated in the Student Symposium on August 11-12 in the Fisher Museum. Over a day and a half, all the students presented 15 minute talks to an audience comprising program mentors, university professors, Harvard Forest researchers, family members, and of course, their fellow students. As each student discussed his/her summer research, the audience was impressed with the diversity of projects presented ( Abstracts are available here ). Since Harvard Forest is an LTER (Long Term...Read more >

Harvard Forest get-together at the ESA annual meeting

August 10, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
This year, Harvard Forest organized a social event at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA. The goals of the social were to bring together past and current folks who have worked at the Forest to catch up with each other and to provide an occasion for any undergraduates attending the ESA Meeting to come learn about opportunities at the Forest. On August 3, 17 people attended the social at Olive or Twist, a martini bar close to the Convention Center in Pittsburgh. 7 past REU students, 5 past researchers, 4 current researchers, and 1 potential future REU...Read more >

Using models to project how climate change might affect oak species distribution

August 10, 2010, by Elisabete (Baker) Vail
Imagine if crystal balls which allowed us to catch a glimpse of the future, actually existed? What would you use them to see? Well, in a way – they do exist. In the abstract world of math and computers, “models” are fed datasets of current day information and asked to project future outcomes. Ecologists use them to forecast how current events will shape our future planet. This is what I have spent my summer, attempting to do. My project attempts to project the possible affects that increasing climate change may have on oak species distribution. Focusing on 27 oak species, located across the...Read more >

Vegetation sampling in wildlands and woodlands

August 9, 2010, by Maddy Case and Joe Horn
We have spent most of the summer traveling across New England to do field work at sites in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. At each site, we have been establishing permanent vegetation sampling plots for a long-term study comparing forest dynamics in managed and unmanaged forests. We carry 2-foot pieces of steel pipe into the woods (3 lbs per pipe x 3 plots x 4 pipes per plot + 10 lbs for other gear = Wicked heavy), use them to mark the corners of 20x20 meter plots, and survey these plots for herb-layer species, saplings, trees, evidence of historical disturbance, and environmental...Read more >

Exploring the abiotic and biotic drivers of soil respiration on the Harvard Forest Prospect Hill Tract

August 4, 2010, by Claudia Reveles, Joanna Blaszczak, and Maya Thomas
Our project is in the field of soil carbon dynamics, specifically looking at the rate of carbon dioxide efflux around Prospect Hill as well as areas that have been manipulated by different abiotic (nitrogen input and temperature) and biotic (adding leaf litter and removing roots) factors. A preliminary map was generated using GIS to identify areas (polygons) in Prospect Hill with unique stand (prominent tree species) and soil drainage types. A total of 59 areas were identified, but some were excluded due specific conditions (i.e. excessively drained areas like bogs and impervious areas),...Read more >

Using computer science at Harvard Forest to increase integrity of scientific conclusions

August 3, 2010, by Sofiya Taskova and Morgan Vigil
This summer, we have had the privilege of working with Dr. Emery Boose and Dr. Barbara Lerner on a project involving a mash up of ecology and technology. For the past few weeks, we have been inundated with the buzzwords "data provenance", "sensor network", "Process Derivation Graphs", "Data Derivation Graphs", "stream discharge", and "weirs". Our headquarters is located in the Shaler Common room (where we do most of our programming and computer work), but we do make a weekly trip out to the six hydrology sites in the forest to collect manual and logged data as well as water samples and...Read more >

The delicious food for the Harvard Forest summer program

August 2, 2010, by Sarah Gray
When I arrived at Harvard Forest back in May, I was shy, timid, and scared of my new environment. After meeting some of my fellow REUs, I became more relaxed with my surroundings. After the jitters of my first day subsided (having arrived at the Forest a week after the other students), I realized that I was starving! I asked my housemates if there was any food, and their reply was "Ohh, yes. There is food." Joe Horn, a fellow REU, led me into the kitchen and told me,"You know the old saying: ‘Never trust skinny cooks?’ Well, here at Harvard Forest, that is not the case." After eating one bite...Read more >

Using GIS to model how climate change and land use will affect the abundance of common ragweed

July 30, 2010, by Israel Marquez
The big picture of the project I am working in is to model how climate change and difference in land use will affect the allergenic potency of Artemisia artemissifolia , better known as common ragweed. This is the first year of a four-year study, so creating a database that will work for the rest of the project is indispensable. I am working on developing part of a geodatabase containing a myriad of GIS shape files, from “all roads” layers to layers containing parcel owner information and population densities. Using GIS, my team has created a layer that combines three different land cover...Read more >

Seminar: Good scientific presentation skills

July 29, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
Two weeks from now, all 33 summer REU students will be speaking in a two-day Symposium at Harvard Forest. They will have 15 minutes to discuss their research projects from this summer. For some, this will be their first public presentation. In preparation for their talks, David Orwig, Senior Ecologist at Harvard Forest, gave a seminar Tuesday night, “How to Give a Good Scientific Presentation”. Orwig discussed how the framework for a scientific presentation should parallel the structure for a scientific paper by including sections on objectives, methods, results, discussion, and conclusions...Read more >

Soil warming and hardwoods

July 27, 2010, by Sarah Gray
Here at the Harvard Forest, I am working on the effects of soil warming on various hardwoods. There has already been an experiment to test the effects of global warming on soil. The 20-year-long experiment found that with increased soil temperatures there was an increase in microbial activity. This increase in microbial activity led to more usable nitrogen in the system. Nitrogen is the limiting nutrient in tree growth; with more nitrate and ammonium availability, trees can continue to grow. Ammonium can easily be made into many amino acids, proteins, which the tree can use. However, nitrate...Read more >

Tracking moose and deer

July 26, 2010, by Carlyn Perovich and Mickey Drott
We have spent the summer happily crawling around in the forest, bruising ourselves under mountain laurel in pursuit of the holy Grail of our project, moose poop. We are studying the impact of deer and moose browsing on the regeneration of forests, specifically looking at hemlock and oak seedlings. This research is particularly important since the number of white tailed deer continues to increase, and moose recently reappeared in Massachusetts after being extirpated since the mid-19th century. All the same, you don't have to be very knowledgeable about forest life to know that moose don't fit...Read more >

Helping the wood turtles and learning about passion: REU students participate in annual service and career day

July 20, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
Last week, all 33 REU students got to take a day off from their regular research projects in order to participate in Service and Career Day, an annual event held each summer for the Program. For 4 hours in the morning, the students worked for The Trustees of Reservations (TToR) , a land trust established in 1891. On the Brooks Woodland Preserve, just a few miles from Harvard Forest, TToR is restoring habitat to be suitable for wood turtles, a threatened species. The turtles need to be able to travel between a small creek in the woods and a newly-created opening in the forest where they will...Read more >

Linking phenology to ecosystem processes in forests of the northeast

July 19, 2010, by Andrea Garcia, Adam Young, and Cory Teshera-Sterne
We are working with Dr. Andrew Richardson and two of his postdocs, Koen Hufkins and Oliver Sonnentag, to investigate ways of monitoring and measuring the phenology (recurring life cycle events, such as flowering, spring green-up or senescence) of North American forests using webcams and digital imaging. This project is highly analytical and employs the use of computer programming languages such as R and MatLab. These programs let us process thousands of images so we can isolate ideal conditions in which to measure the vegetation indices for a given day or season. There are a multitude of...Read more >

The effects of large-scale deforestation

July 16, 2010, by Crystal Garcia and Angie Marshall
We are working in the clearcut up on Prospect Hill near the fire tower. Previously, this area was a spruce plantation, but 2 years ago, it was deforested and timber was harvested. This area is now used as a research site to highlight the effects of large-scale deforestation efforts. A flux-tower was set up in the middle of the area to help capture the carbon, water, and energy fluxed between the land and the air. The data we are collecting will be used to put the flux tower measurements into context to better understand the effects of climate variability on carbon sequestration and release...Read more >

Whale-watching success! A beautiful day in Gloucester, MA

July 15, 2010, by Aleta Wiley, REU Proctor
Last Sunday, three students and I went whale-watching. Again. Several weeks ago , we had driven to Gloucester, MA, and spent four hours on a boat, in the midst of a cold, thick fog, and returned to shore with no whale sightings. Lucky for us, Cape Ann Whale Watch gave us vouchers to come back on a boat trip at no additional cost since they guarantee whale sightings on their trips. We knew we would be missing the final game of the World Cup, but we had high hopes it would be a good day for whales. And boy, did we have some sightings! It was a beautiful, warm day on deck of the Hurricane II,...Read more >

Red Oak vs. Tree of Heaven

July 14, 2010, by Leah Nagel
My project this summer is looking at the urban-to-rural gradient between downtown Boston and Harvard Forest. This research is a small piece of a larger project that is looking at the differences in a variety of factors along the gradient. These factors can include changes in the concentration of atmospheric CO2, nitrogen levels in the soil and in tree leaves, and pollution. My personal project is looking at how changes in all of these factors between the two endpoints of the gradient impact the growth rates of two trees: red oak (a tree that is native to Massachusetts) and the tree of heaven...Read more >

4th of July weekend

July 9, 2010
Over the 4th of July weekend, many students dispersed across the Northeast to entertain themselves for the three day break. Several students took advantage of the long weekend to visit friends and family in Washington, DC, New York, and Boston. Those who stayed at Harvard Forest found many ways to enjoy the beautiful, warm weather. One group went rock climbing at a gym in Worcester; another went Contra Dancing in Greenfield, and almost everyone went to the nearby Queen Lake to cool off with a swim in the clear, clean water. One night, several folks barbequed bratwurst, corn-on-the-cob, and...Read more >

Discovering how hurricanes have affected New England forests

July 7, 2010, by Meredith Kueny and Lianna Lee
Lianna and I are working on the Simulated Hurricane Long Term Ecological Research project out on the Tom Swamp tract of the Harvard Forest. As a part of this project we are collecting another year's worth of data and information on how the original trees are fairing as well as documenting new canopy regeneration and understory dynamics. This summer specifically we’ve worked on recording the current status of the original trees, quantifying the amount of dead wood, mapping new trees that have grown to 5cm Dbh (diameter at breast height), analyzing leaf liter, and observing understory...Read more >

Measuring carbon sequestration at Harvard Forest

July 7, 2010, by Fiona Jevon
Hi! I’m Fiona, and I work for Leland Werden, Bill Munger, and the Wofsy Group at Harvard University. The project that I am involved with this summer is looking at the influence of understory vegetation on carbon sequestration in the Harvard Forest. This is one small part of a much larger project, which has been going on here for the last 20 years, centered on the eddy flux tower. Over the past two decades, this tower has been collecting data on the amount of carbon that is released and absorbed by the surrounding forest. This summer, I’m focusing on how the understory affects the finding that...Read more >

Studying tree hydraulics and electronics on the ground and in the canopy

July 2, 2010, by Lisa Chen and Sarah Fouzia Choudhury
We are studying tree hydraulics; specifically, we’re measuring sap flow in trees to understand at a fundamental level how trees get water from their roots to their canopy. A large component of this project is to understand the methodology used to assess sap flow, which includes the granier and the pulse system. Furthermore, we are also interested in evaluating the effectiveness of the method and the best way to calibrate the data. We are currently collecting and analyzing the data that is coming in from the granier and the pulse system that we have installed. There is some de-bugging we have...Read more >

Fungal diversity in response to nitrogen deposition and soil warming

June 30, 2010, by Samuel Perez
Hello everyone, my name is Samuel Perez and I am working on microbial communities at Harvard Forest with Professor Anne Pringle from Harvard University. I am a rising senior majoring in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. This summer, I am working with decomposer fungi in the Chronic Nitrogen Plots and the Soil Warming Plots in Barre Woods. My project at the Harvard Forest is to study the effects of nitrogen deposition and soil warming on the species diversity of decomposer fungi. The process of decomposition is important because it allows nutrients sequestered in living organisms to return...Read more >

Further explorations of Harvard Forest

June 29, 2010, by Julianne Henry: Outreach and Communications Intern
On Thursday, I noticed that we were running low on our cache of blog posts. Based on this observation, I concluded that it was once again time for me to bust out my camera and go adventuring. And by "adventuring," I mean "cow visiting." Upon exiting the office I share with Aleta (an REU proctor) and venturing into the hallway, I was confronted by a curious sight. At first I thought it was some sort of experiment, but it turned out Maryette (another REU proctor) had set up a tent in the basement hallway so that it could dry. Making my way past the tent obstacle, I ventured outside to the field...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 28, 2010
Brian Warshay
Brian Warshay REU '05 Mentor: Jacque Mohan Project: Physiological Girdling of Forest Trees: Developments of a New Method to Understand Soil Respiration Hometown: Eastchester, NY College and major: Cornell University, Natural Resources & Environmental Engineering Technology (double major) What you miss most about the REU program:The people and friends met there and the good times we had after our work days were complete. What you miss least about the REU program: The mosquitoes and humidity. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My appreciation for the dedication and efforts that...Read more >

Students consider "right vs. wrong" in ecological research

June 25, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
Last Tuesday, all of the summer REU students participated in Ethics Day, an annual event held at Harvard Forest to help the students consider some of the ethical dilemmas they may face while conducting ecological research. The program started with a presentation by Ben Minteer, a professor of environmental ethics at Arizona State University. He began by posing a "thought experiment" to the group: If only one human being remained on the Earth, and humans would be extinct after his/her death, and for whatever reason, it would make this person really happy to wipe out other species to extinction...Read more >

Woodpeckers and tree care

June 24, 2010, by Autumn Alexandra Amici and Anthony Rivera
The overall goal of this project is to understand the effects of tree care practices on habitat for cavity nesting birds, primarily woodpeckers. Most cavity nesting birds seek out dead snags for creating a nest. As cavity excavators, these birds provide habitat elements for a suite of species and are therefore important for biodiversity. While the dead snags that are important for these cavity-nesting birds may go unnoticed in a preserved area, they can be hazardous in towns and cities. By assessing the prevalence of cavity nesting birds in snags throughout an urban to wild land gradient, we...Read more >

A weekend away from Harvard Forest

June 23, 2010, by Sarah Gray
Sarah Gray Local Ice Cream
Last weekend, I attended a summer solstice party with some of my friends. Christina Stinson, a researcher at Harvard Forest, was the host of the event and is the mentor of my friend. The party was quiet, but nice. With plenty of good food to eat and good company to share, it made for an eventful afternoon. We played games and relaxed on what was a beautifully sunny day. On Sunday, a group of students went hiking in the Blue Hills right outside of Boston. It was very muggy that day, and eventually led to thunderstorms that rained down on us halfway through the hike. It felt good though,...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 22, 2010
Alison Grantham
Alison Grantham REU '08 Mentor: Steve Wofsy Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Major/Minor: Biological Sciences/ Environmental Studies, '08 What you miss most about the REU program?: The setting and atmosphere was so nice for focusing on science and making great friends. I loved going for evening runs in the woods and taking weekend hikes and trips with other REUs. What you miss least about the REU program?: The mosquitoes. What about the REU program has stuck with you?: The project I worked on has guided my subsequent career moves, so I guess C and N dynamics and climate implications stuck. Have you...Read more >

"It's the network" - How personal connections shape land use decisions

June 21, 2010, by Megan Jones and Kristen Schipper
Megan Jones and Kristen Schipper
In the social science lab, conveniently located above the kitchen, we are working on the "It's the Network" project. Our goal is to assess - by means of a survey - how personal connections shape decisions about private forest use. We're interested in who people talk to (neighbors, foresters, loggers, friends, etc.), what they talk about (harvesting, conservation easement, selling their land, etc.) and the various levels of involvement and helpfulness of different types of people. We will be mailing our survey to 500 Vermont landowners in Windham County, and 500 New Hampshire landowners in...Read more >

Whale-watching from Gloucester, MA

June 18, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
REU Whale Watch 2010
Last weekend, 10 students drove to Gloucester, 2 hours from Harvard Forest, to go on a whale-watching boat tour. The weather was very drizzly and foggy, but the tour leaders were optimistic: "9 times out of 10, the fog lifts as we head out to sea", they said. As the boat puttered out of the harbor, students were treated to beautiful, though foggy, views of the New England fishing town, wooden sailboats, and quaint lighthouses. Unfortunately, the fog never lifted and we continued motoring around the Bay all afternoon with 300 feet of visibility. The educators on board from The Ocean Alliance...Read more >

Paleoecology - in the field, in the lab, and on film

June 17, 2010, by Allison Gillette
David Foster and Allison Gillette Paleoecology
Hi, my name is Allison and I am working on Paleoecology with Wyatt Oswald. About 5,000 years ago, all the Oaks and Hemlocks disappeared from New England, rapidly changing our ecosystem. Today, all the Oaks are dying on Martha's Vineyard in a similar fashion. Before our current ecosystem is radically altered, we would like to figure out what is causing this phenomenon. In order to do this, we travel to ponds across New England collecting sediment cores. The cores can be viewed like a timeline (the deeper the core the farther back in time). We then use the mud from the cores to determine...Read more >

Field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History

June 16, 2010, by Aleta Wiley: REU Summer Proctor
Meredith Kueny checks out specimens of two-headed snakes
L ast Friday, the whole REU program spent the day on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Split into two groups, the students visited five departments: Herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), Ornithology (birds), the Botany libraries and the Herbaria (plants), and Entomology (insects). Curators in each department spoke with the students about their methods for collecting specimens, the importance of preserving natural history collections for scientific research, and the different ways that they preserve and protect the specimens from damage and decay. The curators...Read more >

Community ecology of "sarracenia pupurea" pitcher plants

June 15, 2010, by Roxanne Ardeshiri
Pitcher Plant
My name is Roxanne Ardeshiri , I'm an undergraduate at the University of California-Berkeley, and I'm studying the community ecology of Sarracenia pupurea Pitcher Plants with Benjamin Baiser at the Harvard Forest. Because Pitcher Plants are essentially microecosystems, we are studying their community ecology to ultimately create model food webs for these systems.We will be measuring decomposition of prey (an ant) as a means of measuring the functionality of the system. This experiment will be conducted in the greenhouse, but all of the species we are using will have been collected from...Read more >

Luna moths on the nightshift

June 14, 2010, by Adam Clark and Margaurete Romero
Luna Moth
The Warm Ants project consists of many mini projects taking place within the chambers. One of these projects is a 24-hour baiting, which means that we must observe which ants are attracted to tuna baits set out in the different temperature chambers for all hours of the day, on the hour. Two of us – Margaurete and Adam – took the night shift from 10pm to 6am, and encountered an unexpected visitor. While waiting near the shed to continue the data collecting, a large insect flew right into us, startling the stillness of the night. As it landed, we were so surprised to see a large Luna moth...Read more >

“What these numbers actually mean”

June 11, 2010, by Aleta Wiley: REU Summer Proctor
Maya, Joanna, and Claudia using a Portable Photosynthesis System.
Yesterday, I tagged along with three students working on a collaborative project who were out, collecting data in the field, for the first time this summer without their research mentors. It is amazing how much they all have learned in less than two weeks here at Harvard Forest! For their project, they are studying changes in soil respiration under varying scenarios. Yesterday, they were working in the "dirt plots" – a series of 21 plots (each about 10 x 10 ft) in the Tom Swamp Tract of the Forest. The plots had been subjected to different treatments; for example, some had all of the detritus...Read more >

The warm ants group

June 10, 2010, by Adam Clark, Erik Oberg, and Margaurete Romero
Margaurete collecting butterflies.
In their third week, the Warm Ants Triumvirate has dived into both the long term "Warm Ants" project and individual projects with a burning desire to elucidate the effects of climate change on ants. Each member is responsible for helping with the long term "Warm Ants" experiment which involves a monthly 24 hour baiting study and monthly pitfall trapping. In addition, each is responsible for his or her individual project involving ant nests, mutualism, and thermal tolerance. Daily tasks have varied from spending time in the lab identifying ants, sorting pitfall collections from previous months...Read more >

Student highlight: Exploring Harvard Forest

June 7, 2010, by Julianne Henry: Outreach and Communications Intern
This cow did not appreciate the paparazzi treatment.
Does it count as exploring if the location is already well-documented? At any rate, as the commuting Outreach and Communications Intern, I usually don't see much of the Harvard Forest property apart from the office I share with Aleta (one of our proctors) in the basement of Shaler Hall. Today seemed like a good day to change that, so I picked a door and walked out of it, determined to familiarize myself with my surroundings. First word that comes to mind is GREEN. It's June, so everywhere you look there is bright greenery slamming itself straight into your eyeballs. This is more pleasant than...Read more >

Undergraduate interns arrive for summer program in ecology

June 1, 2010, by Aleta
REU Group Photo 2010
34 undergraduate students have arrived as part of the Harvard Forest summer research program in ecology. Students have come from colleges and universities all over the United States to participate in on-going research projects for twelve weeks. As thelargest cohort in the program's history, these students will work on a wide diversity of projects, covering topics such as land-use history, phenology, plant physiology, invasive species, insect ecology, and climate change. Students also participate in seminars, discussions on ethics in science, and career-building and community service...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Jessica (Scott) Pascoe
Jessica (Scott) Pascoe REU '00 Mentor: Rebecca Field Hometown: Albuquerque, NM College and major: Swarthmore College, Biology and Environmental Studies, class of 2000 What you miss most about the REU program: Being surrounded by amazing scientific researchers, and daily bird counts. What you miss least about the REU program: 55 mosquito bites on one hand, waking up at 4:30am every day for bird counts. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I met one of my best friends at Harvard Forest and we both maintain Harvard Forest was one of the best summers of our lives. Have you stayed in...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Charlotte Chang
Charlotte Chang REU '08 Mentor: Mike Kaspari Project: Soil salinity in a temperate forest ecosystem impacts ant foraging behavior (abstract) Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA College and major: Pomona College, Biology, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss Tim's cooking, the house full of REU love, and the woods. What you miss least about the REU program: Being far from home was about it. What about the REU program has stuck with you: The research skills I gained, the friendships I made, bike rides (soars?) down the steep hill to the left of Harvard Forest, and the cows...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Amanda (Park) Miller REU '03 Mentor: Dave Orwig Project: Vegetation and Nitrogen Dynamics Following Selective Hemlock Logging Hometown: Wolcott, NY College and major: SUNY College of Env. Science and Forestry, Syracuse U.; Environmental and Forest Biology, class of 2003 What you miss most about the REU program: It was an incredible experience for many reasons. The people you meet are fantastic, interesting, and intellectual, resulting in friendships that have persisted over time. The facilities at Harvard Forest were wonderful, from the labs down the housing! And of course, the research...Read more >

What are you up to now?

December 7, 2009
Gui Woolston
Gui Woolston REU '03 Mentors: Kathleen Donohue, Kristina Stinson Project: The influence of habitat on the demography, meristem allocation, and fecundity of Allaria petiolata Hometown: New Haven, CT College and major: Harvard College, Economics, class of '06 What you miss most about the REU program: The people, the fun, and the research. What you miss least about the REU program: Almost nothing. What about the REU program has stuck with you: Life-long friends. Have you stayed in touch with other REU students?: Yes. Whether your REU experience supported or changed your career plans: It got me...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Maggie Wagner
Maggie Wagner REU '09 Mentors: Dave Orwig, Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Mortality, coarse woody debris, and nutrient cycling over 20 years in a virgin Tsuga canadensis forest in New Hampshire (abstract) Hometown: Troy, MI College and major: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Plant Biology, class of '09 What you miss most about the REU program: The location-- I loved being in the forest with tons of opportunities for outdoor recreation. I also liked living with my friends and fellow students at Fisher House. What you miss least about the REU program: The fruit flies in Fisher House. What...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Megan Woltz
Megan Woltz REU '06 Mentors: Kristina Stinson, Kathleen Donohue Project: Garlic mustard population demographics differ among forest habitats at the Harvard Forest LTER (abstract) Hometown: Afton, NC College and major: North Carolina State University, Environmental Sciences, Ecology Concentration, Class of '07 What you miss most about the REU program: Sitting around Fisher House cracking jokes with other REUs and Tim's excellent cooking. What you miss least about the REU program: Poison ivy and mosquitoes that bite through carharts! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The conviction...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Jhessye Moore-Thomas
Jhessye Moore-Thomas REU '08 Mentor: Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Investigating Water Table Levels Affected by Topography and Clearcut Forest Harvest (abstract) Hometown: Tampa, FL College and major: University of Central Florida, Environmental Studies and Film, class of '09 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the mentors! They were so awesome! What you miss least about the REU program: The ticks and the deerflies! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The amount of hard work and the beauty of presenting what you have done and learned to other people. Have you stayed...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Naomi Clark
Naomi Clark REU '03 Mentors: Eric Davidson, Kathleen Savage Project: Comparing root respiration of three tree species Hometown: Harpers Ferry, WV College and major: West Virginia University, Biology, class of '04 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss so many things! For one, the people I met were truly amazing. The setting couldn't have been better, either! I'll never forget our weekend adventures or midweek climbs up the water tower! What you miss least about the REU program: Black flies! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The sense of community was really moving for...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Daniella Rodriguez
Daniella Rodriguez REU '09 Mentor: Shannon Pelini Project: Under warmer conditions, the advantage of improved foraging is negated by increased mortality in Aphaenogaster rudis (abstract) Hometown: Yuma, AZ College and major: Arizona State University, Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability, class of '11 What you miss most about the REU program: My mentor and the friends I made. What you miss least about the REU program: Living with 20 other people. What about the REU program has stuck with you: How to start and go about a science project - and that research can take a lot of work...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Rob Hanifin
Rob Hanifin REU '04 Mentor: Project: First year reproductive responses of two forest herbs to experimental soil warming Hometown: Deptford, NJ College and major: Dickinson College, Biology/Environmental Science, class of '06 What you miss most about the REU program: Tim's food. Interacting and working with so many interesting people, from a variety of backgrounds, studying different but interesting and relevant topics. What you miss least about the REU program: Four of us rooming together in the same room. What about the REU program has stuck with you: That there are many intelligent...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Jen Levye
Jen Levye REU '09 Mentor: Missy Holbrook, Jim Wheeler Project: Implications of Sectoral Variation in Red Oaks and Red Maples on Sap Flow Measurements (abstract) Hometown: Sharon, MA College and major: Harvard College, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, class of '11 W hat you miss most about the REU program: I miss the amazing people I met this summer. I miss being able to go on hikes through the woods after a day in the lab, and I miss my lab, with the awesome set-up we had going. What you miss least about the REU program: The mosquitoes. But more seriously, there were times when my job...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Tawny Virgilio
Tawny Virgilio REU '09 Mentor: Dave Orwig, Heidi Lux Project: The Use of Mixed-Bead Resins to Determine the Effect of Two Invasive Insects on Throughfall Nitrogen Dynamics Under Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis L.) (abstract) Hometown: Hinsdale, MA College and major: Westfield State College, Environmental Science/Biology, class of '10 What you miss most about the REU program: All of the people I met this past summer- the staff at the forest, the researchers, and most of all, my colleagues. What you miss least about the REU program: Worrying about whether or not I contracted Lyme Disease.....Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Corietta Teshera-Sterne
Corietta (Cory) Teshera-Sterne REU '09 Mentor: Emery Boose Project: A Software Engineering Approach to Scientific Data Provenance (abstract) Hometown: Seattle, WA College and major: Mount Holyoke College, Biology/Computer Science, class of '10 What you miss most about the REU program: Being around scientists all the time, the food, my friends, and the forest right outside my door. What you miss least about the REU program: The insects, indoors and out. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My project - it's continuing on to be my senior thesis, so I'll be stuck with it for a while...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Joanna Bate REU '03 Mentor: David Kittredge Project: Timber harvesting: a study of the effects of socio-economic characteristics and forest ownership patterns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire Hometown: Nashville, TN College and major: Haverford College, Biology, class of '03 What you miss most about the REU program: Living with smart, fun, creative people my age in a remote setting where we had to make up our own fun. What you miss least about the REU program: Sitting at a computer all day doing GIS was a little boring. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My friendships, and my...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Alana Belcon
Alana Belcon REU '03 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Distribution and diversity of bog vegetation at Tom Swamp Hometown: Arima, Trinidad & Tobago College and major: Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies, class of 2004 What you miss most about the REU program: The camaraderie between participants. It was awesome being with so many other young people who were all environmentally/ecologically minded. What you miss least about the REU program: Working in the bog (Tom Swamp) by myself. I enjoyed my project but it was difficult doing it solo. What about the REU program has stuck with you...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 7, 2009
Alyssa Hernandez REU '08 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Forest canopy loss affects the competition dynamics of carabid beetles [Carabidae] (abstract) Hometown: Camarillo, CA College and Major: Cornell University, Natural Resources, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: The fabulous group of REUers, being surrounded by the forest....and my mentor! What you miss least about the REU program: Mosquitoes, ticks, and trips to the medical center. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I came out of the program with a better understanding of field research and lab work. I...Read more >

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