Summer on a Shoestring

The 2011 Field Season Begins!
May 25, 2011, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Fertilization, Shoestring Project

The Shoestring crew has arrived to Bartlett, NH and are already hard at work for the 2011 field season!

For newcomers to our blog here is a general project description (please learn more at

Researchers in the Multiple Element Limitation in Northern Hardwood Ecosystems (MELNHE) project are studying N and P acquisition and limitation through a series of nutrient manipulations in northern hardwood forests.  The project has also been known as the Shoestring Project, since work began on it years before it was funded.

Although temperate forests are generally thought of as N-limited, resource optimization theory predicts that ecosystem productivity should be co-limited by multiple nutrients.  To test the patterns of resource limitation, we are conducting nutrient manipulations in three study sites in New Hampshire: the Bartlett Experimental Forest, the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, and Jeffers Brook in the White Mountain National Forest.

At Bartlett, we have three replicate stands of three ages (~20, 30, and > 100 years).  At Hubbard Brook and Jeffers Brook, there are two stands at each site, corresponding to the mid-aged and mature stands at Bartlett (total 13 stands).  In each stand, there are four treatment plots, each 1/4 ha (50 m x 50 m), treated with N (30 kg/ha/yr as NH4NO3), P (10 kg/ha/yr as NaH2PO4), N+P, or control, beginning in spring 2011.  At 5 of the 13 stands, we also have a Ca treatment plot (3500 kg/ha as CaSiO3).

We are monitoring stem diameter, leaf area, sap flow, foliar chemistry, leaf litter production and chemistry, foliar nutrient resorption, root biomass and production, mycorrhizal associations, soil respiration, heterotrophic respiration, N and P availability, N mineralization, soil phosphatase activity, soil carbon and nitrogen, nutrient uptake capacity of roots, and mineral weathering.  Results will be posted as they develop.

This blog documents the experiences of the crew (Shoestringers) partaking in the field work for this project. 

Collaborators that have recently joined the study include Mark Greene from Plymouth University and Heidi Asbjornsen from UNH who will both be working on sap flow components of the study.

This year we welcome back SUNY ESF graduate student Kikang Bae, who will be working on filming the minirhizotrons installed last summer, and continuing with her soil respiration measurements.

We also welcome new graduate students Craig See, Shinjini Goswami, and Russell Auwae to the Shoestring Crew! Craig will be taking over the foliar nutrient resorption project under the guidance of Ruth Yanai at SUNY ESF. Shinjini and Russell will be working under the guidance of Melany Fisk at Miami University of Ohio. Shinjini will be taking control of the MELNHE stand inventory this summer.

We also welcome our undergraduate field crew members Lin Liu, Zhen Yu “Amos” Lim, Kelly Nywening, Neil Smeltzer, and Christy Tanner.

We are excited to have two science teachers joining our crew this summer! We are lucky to have back Lisa Lavalley, who teaches at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. Joining her this year is Sara Rice who teaches at Kennett Middle School in Conway, NH.

You will be hearing from each of our crew members this summer!

The big ticket item on this year’s agenda is stand fertilization! The crew is already in the midst of carefully spreading Monosodium Phosphate and Ammonium Nitrate on the forest floor in Bartlett. You will soon be hearing from a crewmember on the details of the fertilization process. C6 was our first stand to be fertilized and was finished yesterday. Today Kelly, Lin, and Shinjini are finishing fertilizing the plots at C1, our youngest stand. Craig, Becka, and Amos are finishing fertilizing C2, our second youngest stand. Both crews are then heading to C4 (one of our mid-aged stands) to start the fertilization process there. The going is slow, but we started in the most difficult stands, so bravo crew, way to go!

The fertilization countdown: 1 stand down, 12 to go.


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