Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project
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Litter Decomposition: Collaborative Multi-campus Project. Karen Kuers Department of Forestry and Geology Sewanee: The University of the South ESA Annual Meeting: Montreal Aug. 2005. Why Multi-Campus Studies?. Promote interaction of faculty and students at different locations

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Litter Decomposition: Collaborative Multi-campus Project

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Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Litter Decomposition:Collaborative Multi-campus Project

Karen Kuers

Department of Forestry and Geology

Sewanee: The University of the SouthESA Annual Meeting: Montreal

Aug. 2005


Why multi campus studies

Why Multi-Campus Studies?

  • Promote interaction of faculty and students at different locations

  • Compare results to other locations

  • Provide a larger context to student projects


History

History

  • One project planned per year

  • 2002 - Stream Macro-invertebrate study

  • 2003/04 - Litter Decomposition Study

  • 2004/05 - Litter study repeated

  • 2005 - Acid deposition study


My objectives

My Objectives…

  • Preliminary set-up

  • The study itself

  • Current project status

  • Available online data and resources

  • Project strengths

  • What we learned……


Preliminary set up

Preliminary Set-up

  • Key: Choose a project leader(s)

  • Leaders’ responsibilities:

    • Project design and written plan

    • Creation/Distribution of Data Forms

    • Set (negotiate) timetable

    • Send reminders

    • Collate data and disseminate (web or email)


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

CAWS Litter Decomposition Study

Led by Dr. Karen Kuers, Sewanee: The University of the South

and Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, West Virginia Wesleyan College

  • The objectives of this study were to compare litter decomposition rates:

  • between two species (chestnut oak and red maple)

  • at two landscape positions (drainage and ridge)

  • in six different watersheds of the Southern Appalachians


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Other Variables of Interest

PrecipitationAir temperature

Soil temperatureSoil moisture

Forest species composition

Elevation


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Timetable

Fall 2003

Site selection, acquire supplies, develop data sheets

Dec. Install study

Collect at 2 month intervals:

Feb Apr June Aug Dec


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Timetable

Fall 2003

Site selection, acquire supplies, develop data sheets

Dec. Install study

Collect at 2 month intervals:

Feb Apr June Aug Dec

Students in spring semester classes


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Forest Types

Site Selection

Flume

Mixed Hardwoods

(21 ha)

Eastern

White

Pine

(1.0 ha)

Wet site

Weather

station

Dry site

Eastern

White

Pine

(0.4 ha)

Virginia

Pine

(0.6 ha)


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Supplies

Collect leaves - fall 2003

Dry and press leaves

Mail to other CAWS

schools


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Split Creek Installation – Dec. 2003

Ridge Site

At Installation:

Position litter bags

Take soil samples

Inventory forest canopy

Collect forest floor samples

Install temperature sensors

Drainage Site


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

February Litter

Collection-Wet Site

Soil Sample in

February 2004


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Forest Ecology Students

Sorting Forest Floor Samples


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Mass determination: Leaves

Wood

Reproductive tissue


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Data Entry

Statistical Analyses and

Interpretation


Litter decomposition collaborative multi campus project

Presentation of the results at

Sewanee’s science

poster session


Online resources

Online Resources

Web Pages….Project instructions (html)

Downloads: Project Instructions (MSWord, pdf)

Blank Data Sheets (Excel, pdf)

Data sets, site maps, and graphs of completed project

CAWS Watershed Procedures eManual)


Project strengths

Project Strengths

Data from multiple locations available for analysis and interpretation

Use of new technology (data loggers and computer data download)

Student interest heightened by simultaneous work by students at other locations

Interaction of faculty in different disciplines

Carry project data into second year of students


Problem areas

Problem Areas

Time involvement in set-up (project too complex?)

Difficulty of “simultaneous” data collection

Failure to meet planned timeline (too ambitious?)

Initial design was incomplete (we were still learning)


Lessons for future projects

Lessons for Future Projects

Willing “Project Leader” is essential

Simplify

Shorten time involvement or plan for use of data over a 2 year period

Reasonable expectations

Have data submission sheets prepared before project begins


Questions or comments

Questions or Comments?


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