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Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

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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 >