Exam day (PLE day 8)
The Pymatuning wetlanders had a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of wetland hydrology, biogeochemistry, and vegetation this morning. The first part of the exam was written and focused on the conceptual material, and the second part was in the field and focused on wetland plant identification. They seemed very prepared, although a bit tired.
We then completed a laboratory experiment examining the ability of Sphagnum moss to acidify its surroundings, and the students were able to use the results to understood how and why Sphagnum does this. This was followed by a literature-based activity examining top-down controls on Spartina productivity in salt marshes, with small groups reading and presenting the results of several recent studies to the rest of the class. The class then synthesized the results of all of the papers into a simple feedback diagram highlighting the many controls on salt marsh productivity. We ended the day by discussing our next field project, which will be focused on wetland macroinvertebrates. The students practiced their netting skills along the edge of Lake Pymatuning in preparation for tomorrow’s fieldwork.