You are here

Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

Printer-friendly version

'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 >