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Litter Decomposition: Collaborative Multi-campus Project Karen Kuers Department of Forestry and Geology The University of the South ESA Annual Meeting:

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Presentation on theme: "Litter Decomposition: Collaborative Multi-campus Project Karen Kuers Department of Forestry and Geology The University of the South ESA Annual Meeting:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Litter Decomposition: Collaborative Multi-campus Project Karen Kuers Department of Forestry and Geology The University of the South ESA Annual Meeting: Montreal Sewanee: The University of the South ESA Annual Meeting: Montreal Aug. 2005

2 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

3 History One project planned per year Stream Macro-invertebrate study 2003/04 - Litter Decomposition Study 2004/05 - Litter study repeated Acid deposition study

4 My Objectives… Preliminary set-up The study itself Current project status Available online data and resources Project strengths What we learned……

5 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 )

6 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 CAWS Litter Decomposition Study Led by Dr. Karen Kuers, Sewanee: The University of the South and Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, West Virginia Wesleyan College

7 PrecipitationAir temperature Soil temperatureSoil moisture Forest species composition Elevation Other Variables of Interest

8 Fall 2003 Site selection, acquire supplies, develop data sheets Dec. Install study Collect at 2 month intervals: Feb Apr June Aug Dec Timetable

9 Fall 2003 Site selection, acquire supplies, develop data sheets Dec. Install study Collect at 2 month intervals: Feb Apr June Aug Dec Timetable Students in spring semester classes

10 Eastern White Pine (1.0 ha) Eastern White Pine (0.4 ha) Virginia Pine (0.6 ha) Mixed Hardwoods (21 ha) Forest Types Flume Weather station Wet site Dry site Site Selection

11 Collect leaves - fall 2003 Dry and press leaves Mail to other CAWS schools Supplies

12 Split Creek Installation – Dec Ridge Site Drainage Site At Installation: Position litter bags Take soil samples Inventory forest canopy Collect forest floor samples Install temperature sensors

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15 Soil Sample in February 2004 February Litter Collection-Wet Site

16 Forest Ecology Students Sorting Forest Floor Samples

17 Mass determination: Leaves Wood Reproductive tissue

18 Data Entry Statistical Analyses and Interpretation

19 Presentation of the results at Sewanee’s science poster session

20 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 CAWSCAWS Watershed Procedures eManual)

21 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

22 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)

23 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

24 Questions or Comments?


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