Hi! My name is Karla Sorensen. Please join me while I travel to Maryland to study Climate Change and Fragmented Forests.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Litter and Earthworms and Ticks, Oh My!

Today was a beautiful day to be out hiking, so we did plenty of it! In the morning we hiked around to find 4 different plots. Remember, each plot is 1 hectare, which is a little smaller than a track field. In each plot, we had to find the red buckets that previous volunteers had set up. Leaves fell into them, just like they fall on the forest floor. We can collect the leaf litter from the buckets, measure how much mass they have, and then multiply that number by how many buckets would fit in one hectare. That way we know how much carbon is returning to the forest.

We hiked for 5-10 minutes just to find the plot in the forest, and then we had to find all the red buckets within the plot. Click on this picture and post How many red buckets do you see in this picture? It wasn't too hard because all the leaves had fallen, but how would finding the buckets be different in the middle of summer?

We walked by another scientist's research project--Earthworms and Forests. He stuck metal rods into the soil in small areas and would come and send electricity through them. What do you think would happen?

After lunch, we went hiking in another part of the forest where there are 10m x 10m cages that prevent deer from eating the plants. We measured the length and diameter of all of the big dead branches (called coarse wood debris) that had fallen to the ground. Our group of 9 teachers was able to measure 16 small plots, but there are 64 total that needed to be measured. What fraction of the data did we collect today?

Lastly, we had to check for ticks when we came back...and I was the only one who had one on me! It wasn't the kind that spread Lyme's Disease, but it was still pretty gross. I got to tape it to the wall of ticks and label it--I'm kinda famous now!

Last question
(to make sure you were reading): What are 2 things you can measure to see how much carbon is returning to the forest?

Thanks for reading, and keep up the great research!

Be Safe and Dream Big!


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