End of the first week in wetland ecology! (PLE day 5) (with video!)

A female goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) clutching a still-alive moth. This duo hitchhiked into the lab on a collected specimen of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

A female goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) clutching a still-alive moth. This duo hitchhiked into the lab on a collected specimen of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

This morning the Pymatuning wetlanders finished up with wetland biogeochemistry and discussed environmental controls on production and decomposition in wetlands.  We then went to nearby Hartstown Swamp to learn more plant species in anticipation of Monday’s data collection in the swamp.  We also walked to nearby pond to highlight the differences between narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia, an invasive) and common cattail (Typha latifolia, a native). Although the leaves are generally wider in the native species, there is overlap between the two; therefore, one of the best ways to tell them apart is by looking at the distribution of the male and female flowers on the shoots.  In common cattail the male flowers and female flowers are continuos along the stem, or separated by less about half a centimeter of bare stem.  In narrow-leaved cattail there is a distinct gap, typically 2-12 cm long, between the two flower types where there is only bare stem.  Just to make field identification more fun, there are also hybrids between the two species that are intermediate in both leaf characteristics and the width of the gap between the two flower types (Typha x glauca).

Looking up the spelling of scientific names with a smartphone.

Looking up the spelling of scientific names with a smartphone.

The students then spent the rest of the afternoon pressing their plant collections, working on a wetland hydrology problem set,  beginning a biogeochemistry assignment, and starting to prepare for the midterm which is on Wednesday.

Below is a video highlighting some of the fun that we had this week! (a bit low-fi, but the upload speed is very slow here.  I’ll replace with a better one after the course is completed)

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Posted on June 7, 2014, in Teaching, Wetland Ecology & Management (PLE) and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love your wetlands blog and will be following closely.

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