Do you want to build a forest? Well, I'm here to give you the recipe in 8 simple steps. It will require a lot of ecological succession, or change over time. We'll start with a disaster. Perhaps a fiery tornado has torn through the land and nothing remains, or maybe you want a forest on a lava flow. The first step is to allow primary successors to colonize the land. These are the things that can live on seemingly nothing, think lichen. Then perennials will move in, annuals, small trees, and soon enough you'll have a forest!
These past few week I have been working on setting the stage for my experiment. My project has changed a bit since my first post, and I am now studying the impact of an injury on the rate of sap flow in Pin oaks. Choosing the trees and installing the sap flow meters was a process that was completely new to me.
A main portion of my research this summer is analyzing root exudation. This analysis measures the amount of carbon put into the soil by the tree roots. It is an important below ground process that contributes to overall soil health and tree health.
My office is the great outdoors. The view from my "desk" is the beautiful clear blue skies and bright green leaves of the trees. The fresh air keeps me energized as I wonder the forest collecting soil samples and analyzing root systems.
It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over and the Undergraduate Research Fellowship is coming to a close. I'll use this final blog post to tell you about the results of the science I did here this summer and how this fellowship impacted me as a scientist and a person.