Summer on a Shoestring

Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study – 47th Annual Cooperators’ Meeting
July 20, 2010, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Hubbard Brook Meetings, Isopods

Notes from Lisa Lavalley – our resident Research Experience for Teachers (RET) participant

If one has never been to a Hubbard Brook Cooperators’ meeting, they will find it overwhelming as I did. I was not aware of the variety and depth of research being done. I guess that is the ultimate purpose of having this type of meeting- to see what is being done in the forest and to elicit suggestions from the myriad of experts attending. Undergraduate, Graduate, and  Ph.D. students , as well as RETs’ like myself are all traipsing around in the woods performing studies to better help us understand the forest. The one thing that is very apparent is the in-depth knowledge every researcher has for their particular study as well as their obviously love of the forest!

I enjoyed listening to the presentations, the banter, as well as the suggestions folks made during the question and answer session at the end of each presentation. The camaraderie during the meals and at the barn dance attests to the relationships these individuals share-some long term! One can only imagine the work behind the scenes organizing 50 some odd presentations, lunches, dinner, and the much anticipated barn dance.

As I listened to my own group-the Shoestring Project-not only was I filled with pride for the hard work and effort these researchers have undertaken, but I also gained a much better understanding of what and why studies were being done at BEF. It made me glad I could be a little part of it! The shoestringers have been more then welcoming; willing to  take time to teach me the techniques, and willing to let me step up and try my hand at whatever chore needs to be done!

As far as my isopod study is concerned, we discovered that  at the several stands we placed  isopod exclosures, not one was found. We followed through with our suggestions; using organic potatoes, setting out and collecting the exclosures during a rain event, placing out many more exclosures than the original twelve, and still no isopods. Why? Perhaps BEF is too nutrient poor for them to survive, perhaps the pH is too low. So for now, I am simply part of the shoestring crew, working harder than I ever physically worked before, getting dirtier than I ever got  before,  and learning many new things. And loving it!


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Thanks, Lisa! We’re happy to have you, even without the isopods. In fact, we didn’t even want those isopods, if they don’t want us… Maybe they’ll like us better after we add calcium to some plots.

Comment by Ruth Yanai

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