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Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

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July 29, 2010, by Aleta Wiley

Seminar: Good scientific presentation skills

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
July 27, 2010, by Sarah Gray

Soil warming and hardwoods

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
July 26, 2010, by Carlyn Perovich and Mickey Drott

Tracking moose and deer

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
July 20, 2010, by Aleta Wiley

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

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
July 19, 2010, by Andrea Garcia, Adam Young, and Cory Teshera-Sterne

Linking phenology to ecosystem processes in forests of the northeast

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
July 16, 2010, by Crystal Garcia and Angie Marshall

The effects of large-scale deforestation

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
July 15, 2010, by Aleta Wiley, REU Proctor

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

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
July 14, 2010, by Leah Nagel

Red Oak vs. Tree of Heaven

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,
July 9, 2010

4th of July weekend

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
July 7, 2010, by Meredith Kueny and Lianna Lee

Discovering how hurricanes have affected New England forests

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
July 7, 2010, by Fiona Jevon

Measuring carbon sequestration at Harvard Forest

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
July 2, 2010, by Lisa Chen and Sarah Fouzia Choudhury

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

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
June 30, 2010, by Samuel Perez

Fungal diversity in response to nitrogen deposition and soil warming

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
June 29, 2010, by Julianne Henry: Outreach and Communications Intern

Further explorations of Harvard Forest

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,
June 28, 2010

What are you up to now?

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
June 25, 2010, by Aleta Wiley

Students consider "right vs. wrong" in ecological research

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
June 24, 2010, by Autumn Alexandra Amici and Anthony Rivera

Woodpeckers and tree care

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
June 23, 2010, by Sarah Gray

A weekend away from Harvard Forest

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
June 22, 2010

What are you up to now?

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
June 21, 2010, by Megan Jones and Kristen Schipper

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

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
June 18, 2010, by Aleta Wiley

Whale-watching from Gloucester, MA

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
June 17, 2010, by Allison Gillette

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

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
June 16, 2010, by Aleta Wiley: REU Summer Proctor

Field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History

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,
June 15, 2010, by Roxanne Ardeshiri

Community ecology of "sarracenia pupurea" pitcher plants

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
June 14, 2010, by Adam Clark and Margaurete Romero

Luna moths on the nightshift

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
June 11, 2010, by Aleta Wiley: REU Summer Proctor

“What these numbers actually mean”

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
June 10, 2010, by Adam Clark, Erik Oberg, and Margaurete Romero

The warm ants group

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
June 7, 2010, by Julianne Henry: Outreach and Communications Intern

Student highlight: Exploring Harvard Forest

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
June 1, 2010, by Aleta

Undergraduate interns arrive for summer program in ecology

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,
April 12, 2010

What are you up to now?

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
April 12, 2010

What are you up to now?

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
April 12, 2010

What are you up to now?

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
December 7, 2009

What are you up to now?

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:
October 6, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
October 6, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
October 6, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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!
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
September 18, 2009

What are you up to now?

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.
April 7, 2009

What are you up to now?

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
April 7, 2009

What are you up to now?

Ernesto I. Rodriguez REU '07 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Effects of Deer Population in Ant Density in Black Rock Forest, Quabbin Reservoir, and Simes Tract (abstract) Hometown: Yuma, AZ College and major: Northern Arizona University, Environmental Sciences with Biology Emphasis, class of 2009 What you miss most about the REU program: The food and the tranquility of the forest. What
March 26, 2009

What are you up to now?

Jonathan Mejia REU '08 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Measuring Niche Overlap Between Spiders and the Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) in Tom Swamp (abstract) Hometown: NYC College and major: University of Vermont, Biological Science, class of 2009 What you miss most about the REU program: The people there were great and so was the house. It was seriously the best
March 26, 2009

What are you up to now?

Samantha Hilerio REU '08 and '09 Mentors: Aaron Ellison, Clarisse Hart Projects: Canopy Type Affects Habitat Preference in Web-Building and Hunting Spiders; The Presence of Spiders Reduces Ant Activity in Bogs Hometown: Barre, MA College and major: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Aerospace Engineering, class of 2012 What you miss most about the REU program: Doing my job in the woods, what
June 19, 2008

Exploring Petersham and the surrounding areas

"While the area might not provide much in the way of urban entertainment, the North Quabbin region has plenty of places to go outside and play. I was lucky enough to bring my canoe with me, and while I have not taken it out yet there are a ton of places around to paddle. Tully Lake is a beautiful lake
June 5, 2008

Orientation and first week

Day 1 "Very exciting first day here I woke up early and went for a run before breakfast. After breakfast we had orientation all day. The morning was filled with an introduction to the forest history in the area (complete with a slideshow with the voiceover of a movie preview style narrator, so it was very dramatic and appropriate for
March 11, 2008


Welcome to the Harvard Forest REU Program blog. Here, our summer students will share their experiences and photographs from 12 weeks of ecological research at our field station in Petersham, Massachusetts. For more information on the Harvard Forest REU Program, visit the main Harvard Forest Summer Research Program webpage.
September 11, 2001

What are you up to now?

Julia Ka'iulani Nelson REU '03 Mentor: Kristina Stinson Project: Effects of soil disturbance and mowing on demographic structure and seedling performance in garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata) populations Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii College and major: Stanford University, Anthropological Sciences/Archaeology, class of 2004 What you miss most about the REU program: Too many things! Mostly the wonderful people I met there, but also
September 11, 2001

What are you up to now?

Jennifer Popham
Jennifer Popham REU '09 Mentor: Ed Faison Project: Seedling & Sapling Composition Influences Browsing Intensity of Ungulates in Massachusetts (abstract) Hometown: Gardner, MA College and major: University of Massachusetts, Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the people I worked with and spending every day outdoors in the woods. What