Summer on a Shoestring

Hubbard Brook
July 23, 2014, 6:52 pm
Filed under: HB Meetings, Hubbard Brook Meetings

Stephanie Suttenberg: REU ESF

This week the whole crew drove out to Hubbard Brook for the 51st annual Hubbard Brook Cooperators’ Meeting; we arrived the day before the meeting so we could set up tents, practice and make any final adjustments to our presentations.  We brought the 3 bedroom vacation home tent which was everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a tent. It was beautiful (with some minor McGayverying done by Adam to fix a broken piece) and dwarfed all the other tents surrounding it. Truly majestic. Sadly, no such pictures of it exist because a mere few hours after it was put up, it was violently torn down by a huge thunderstorm. Several other smaller, more practical tents were set up that people actually slept in. I’m not sure the 4 or so of us sleeping on the couches and floor was appreciated by the people living there.

The actually meeting was the next morning, and following the shoestring tradition, we were up to present first.  Adam and Lisa went first and gave an overview of the MELNHE project as well as an update on Project Sweeter Sap. Eli presented his findings on tree growth, I presented on my snail population findings, Sophie on sap flow and Justin on soil moisture. It was a relief to finally be freed of the weight of the presentations on our shoulders. With our talks done, we settled in to listen to the rest of the presentations. There were occasional – and much needed –stretch breaks and a lunch break throughout the day.

Dinner was served in the barn that evening, and following it was the annual barn dance. It’s a Hubbard Brook tradition to have a dance in the barn following the first day of presentations.  Luckily, no previous dancing experience was needed; the band would call out what we needed to do as the song progressed. It was a very sweaty but very enjoyable experience.


Before the dance was over, and while it was still light out, Sophie, Eli, Justin, Hannah and I walked over to the actually Hubbard Brook. We went rock hopping and tried to get to the other side of the brook with some success. Eli, Justin and Sophie made it over, but Hannah and I tried taking a different path that didn’t work at all. No one fell in the water and a good time was had by all.


The second day of presentations was similar to the first, but only half a day long. The final presentation that wrapped everything up was done by Don Buso; he gave everyone some parting words on Hubbard Brook, advice for the future and some funny stories about past work and events.

The picnic followed the second day’s presentations, the undergrads went out to buy everything we needed at the grocery store, while everyone else attended a Shoestring meeting. The BBQs were set up by the lake, and after a bit of a struggle, grilling began. There were burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, watermelon, chips, hummus, and cookies. It was a pretty impressive spread of food. It was a great BBQ; tons of food, lots of people and a lake a mere 20 feet away to go swimming in.


When we got in the car to drive back to Bartlett, someone spotted a fox in the distance. Justin got out of the car and tried to befriend the fox. I snapped the picture, and shortly after the fox ran back into the woods. It made for a very memorable end to a very interesting trip.


The 49th Annual Hubbard Brook Cooperators Meetings
July 24, 2012, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Hubbard Brook Meetings

After the 49 years of successive sharing of scientific news I finally attended the annual Hubbard Brook Cooperators Meeting.  Of course, I missed the first few because I wasn’t born yet.  Since then however, I have had little excuse and realize that in missing the goings on described in the many talks I have missed out on the development of one of the most significant data sets available today!

To be honest I hadn’t heard of the Cooperators Meeting until sometime in the past few years, although I had know about Hubbard Brook and some of the ground-breaking work conducted during the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Experiment.

Because the Cooperators meeting is a place-based meeting there is a broad diversity in the areas of research presented.  For me this was a great opportunity to learn about work in some areas very different than my background.  It was also evident the benefit of this cross-disciplinary meeting had for the many scientists present.  To be able to ask questions in such a well described system and have the people there who can look at work from so many different angles can only lead to better results.

The Shoestringers kicked off the talks describing recent data, mostly from the Bartlett MELNHE sites.  Each did a great job and I learned a great deal more than what I had had an opportunity to glean from papers and conversations.  Great job Shoestringers!

Beyond the Shoestring presentations I began to learn about hydrology for the first time in my life.  Admittedly some of this went over my head (not just the evapotranspirationJ) but I now have a better appreciation for how hydrology fits into the biological systems I am used to thinking about. There was great session on species effects in ecosystems including indirect interactions between birds and moose, landscape level effects mediated by beavers, inverted biomass pyramids in a tree, caterpillar bird food chain and a look at the litter fauna at Hubbard Brook.

All in all it was a great time full of good conversations and a lot of learning.  I am looking forward to next year and hopefully I will be able to present too!


Crew Times

Sorry Shoestring subscribers for not getting a blog out sooner. The crew is busy, and will continue to be busy until the time most of us leave (Aug. 5th).

Anyway, what’s up?! I’m supposed to talk about the Hubbard Brook Meeting, but it was so long ago. The Shoestring crew presented their work very well. There’s so much work being done here. I’m surprised we haven’t run out of questions to ask. It was nice seeing old faces from the Cary Institute. I can’t really say much about the Meeting other than it being informative. Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Missing a star because of the AC situation. Those who were forced to sit near the AC wall vents know what I’m talking about.

Now, let me shift to what we’ve been up to lately. Here’s a photo of me, Craig, and Neal, trying to take on the “Death by Burger” served at Woodstock Inn. $15 for 18 oz. of burger. It’s as big as my head! The manliest of the three of us is Neil, who finished his burger all in one sitting.

Tim Fahey came over on Tuesday to give a talk for our Science Night. He talked about his Arnot Forest study where he and his team traced 13C through belowground communities. Interesting stuff! I personally took interest in the earthworm part of his study. Earthworms increase soil CO2 emissions, but they also sequester carbon, which he observed through tracing the amount of 13C in their burrows. However, this sequestered carbon doesn’t stay in the ground for too long due to microbial activity. I was thinking of doing a similar study but using the urban LTER plots in Baltimore. We’ll probably observe the same thing as Fahey’s study. Maybe it’ll be a side project for me.

Shinjini and I just finished collecting soil cores from C7, 8, and 9. We had to separate the cores into Oe, Oa, and mineral soil. Separating Oe is easy! Just remove the leafy stuff. Oa is a bit tricky because sometimes it could be just a tiny sliver. But we got it done! 144 cores.

Craig and Neal just finished hiking the Presidential Traverse. Something like 25 miles or so, all in one day! Congrats guys!

For the next couple of weeks, we will be doing tree inventory for all 13 stands, installing resin strips, and fertilizing ingrowth cores.

This will probably be my only blog entry for this summer. I’ll probably be here again next summer. If you’re going to ESA, I’m giving a talk on Thursday at 8am or so about soil respiration in the urban forests of Baltimore.



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!