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Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

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July 30, 2010, by Israel Marquez

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

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
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