Down the redox ladder and into the marsh (PLE day 4)

A happy and muddy wetlander.

A happy and muddy wetlander.

The Pymatuning wetlanders started day four of wetland ecology by fearlessly clutching the rungs of the redox ladder and descending into the wetland biogeochemical environment.   They learned about the landlords of these ecosystems – the microbes, and how the activities of these organisms control the way that these ecosystems function.  For many students, this material is the most challenging part of the class.  However, this group of students is full of questions, which keeps things lively and a lot of fun  – not to mention that it keeps the instructor on his toes :)

After their brains were swamped with biogeochemical cycles (the students also have started complaining about my bad puns), we headed off to Pymatuning Creek Marsh to collect plant community data as part of a comparative study of marsh and swamp vegetation. The students laid transects from the edge to the interior of the marsh, and used their recently acquired plant identification skills to estimate changes in the abundance of plant species along this environmental gradient.  It was a beautiful afternoon, and the students seemed to enjoy practicing their marsh-plant identification skills.

Collecting vegetation abundance data at Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

Collecting vegetation abundance data at Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) nesting in cattails (Typha latifolia) at Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) nest in the cattails (Typha latifolia) at Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

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Posted on June 7, 2014, in Teaching, Wetland Ecology & Management (PLE) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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