“It only gets a little deeper” (Pymatuning wetlands 2015, day 3)

Best picture of me ever.

Best picture of me ever.

In the morning the Pymatuning wetland students continued learning about wetland hydrology, particularly how different wetland types are defined by differences in hydrology, including differences in hydroperiod, water source, and hydrodynamics. We also discussed how ecosystem processes like decomposition, primary production, and nutrient cycling are affected by differences in hydrology. Things then got a bit peaty, with a discussion of some of the unique features of peatland hydrology.

The students learned how to setup and launch data-logging pressure transducers, and suspended these in PVC surface wells in preparation for our fieldwork in the afternoon. We also setup four camera traps and brainstormed a bit about how we wanted to position them to assess differences in animal activity within a few microhabitats in a marsh. They clearly want to “capture” a muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus).

Installing a well in Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

Installing a well in Pymatuning Creek Marsh.

Pressing Onoclea sensibilis.

Pressing Onoclea sensibilis.

We spent most of the afternoon at Pymatuning Creek Marsh in Ohio. It was a sunny and warm day in the field, although the deer flies were particularly abundant and thirsty. We all donated a little energy to the ecosystem, but it was well worth it for the opportunity to add so many plants to our “must-know” list. The marsh was very dry this year, and walking through it was much easier than in years past; however, a few students did manage to find the holes in the muck. We installed wells in areas characterized by different vegetation, including an area with abundant spatterdock and standing water, and an area dominated by willow shrubs. The students also mounted camera traps in different microhabitats, and began their plant collections. We returned to the lab to press plants.

Tomorrow we will return to the marsh to collect quantitative data on the plant communities along a moisture gradient…

 

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Posted on June 3, 2015, in Teaching, Wetland Ecology & Management (PLE) and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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