You are here

Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

Printer-friendly version

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 >