Journey into the past (PLE day 13)

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Examining plant macrofossils from Titus Bog.

After learning about the role of wetlands in the broader earth system, human impacts on wetlands, and the laws that have been used to protect wetlands in the United States, the Pymatuning wetlanders spent the afternoon playing with mud. A few of them also managed to work on mounting their plant collections on herbarium sheets…so we not only got to play with mud, but also elmer’s glue, paper, and scissors.  Almost as fun as a day in Kindergarten! (without the nap time…although one student started nodding off a bit during the wetland-law overview)

The mud (and peat) took up most of the day. We subsampled the the sediment core collected yesterday at Titus Bog, and sieved the samples to isolated plant macroremains. The students then examined, identified, and quantified plant macrofossils. In one afternoon, we were able to piece together the general ecological history of the site. A summary of our results is shown in the figure below. Approximate ages are shown in years before present, these ages were very roughly estimated from previous work at the site (although we went deeper in the sediments than previous studies).

A partial ecological history of Titus Bog put together by students in the 2013 wetlands course at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Estimated ages are inferred from Ireland & Booth (2011), although the students were first to examine the older portion of this record.

A partial ecological history of Titus Bog put together by students in the 2013 wetlands course at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Percentages of macorofossil types are plotted against depth and time, with the oldest portion of the record at the bottom. Estimated ages are inferred from accumulation rates in Ireland & Booth (2011). The site was a shallow lake dominated by nodding waternymph, white water lily, and pondweed prior to the establishment of peatland. More than 6 more meters of lake mud lie below the sediments shown here.

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Posted on June 19, 2013, in Teaching, Wetland Ecology & Management (PLE) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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