Wetland ecology at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology – Day 13

Examining the macrofossil composition of peat from Titus Bog.

Wetland Restoration and the Future of Wetlands.  Today was the first day of the course that we did not go into the field, although we did take a brief trip back in time.  This morning, we spent a few hours thinking about wetland restoration and treatment wetlands.  In particular, we looked in detail at the objectives and challenges of the ongoing Florida Everglades restoration and briefly discussed the application of created wetlands to the treatment of municipal wastewater and other pollutants.  We then contemplated the future of wetlands and wetlands-related research.  Like most scientific fields, many questions remain unanswered in wetland ecology and there are lots of opportunities for scientists to make significant contributions to our understanding of these valuable ecosystems and their connections to the broader earth system.  I briefly reviewed the course structure and organization, attempting to provide a summary of what we have accomplished over the past few weeks.  We really did manage to cover a semester-long course in three weeks and it has been an intensive learning experience for both the students and the instructor!  I am convinced that the all-day course model is highly efficient and conducive to learning, particularly when the field and classroom experiences are integrated.

Plant macrofossils (seeds and other plant fragments) that were deposited prior to establishment of the peat mat at the coring site. Abundant Najas flexilis (nodding waternymph) seeds and occasional Nymphaea odorata (water lily) seeds indicate a shallow pond environment preceded the transformation into a Sphagnum-dominated peatland.

In the afternoon, the students examined the peat  that we collected yesterday at Titus Bog.  We quickly sketched out the developmental history of the bog, noting how the sediment and macrofossil composition changed from the bottom to the top of the core.  In a little under an hour, we progressed through several thousand years of history!

Tomorrow is the final exam…. followed by a canoe trip down French Creek where we will have some fun and learn a bit about riparian conservation.



Posted on May 31, 2012, in Wetland Ecology & Management (PLE) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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