Who are these yellow creatures?


What are these creatures we found on Yellow Birches from Jeffers Brook Forest?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who is eating our sugar maple leaves?

We found these pretty sugar maple leavs from Jeffers Brook.  Does anyone know what insect does this?  –Nidaa Aljabbarin–


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The 2016 Litter Year is Over! Enter in 2017!

The very last leaf litter sample, C2-4-A3, from 2016 has finally been sorted on November 5, 2017. Just in time for the 2017 leaf samples to come in later today!


Nidaa Aljabbarin, Fidaa Aljabbarin, and Shahad Abdulameer were the lucky researchers who finished up the last few samples!

– Gabriel Deutschman-Ruiz

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tips for Taking Off Your Gloves

Did you know that our hands have a lot of sodium on them, and the leaf samples we are studying have very little? The 2016 Fall Litter Samples are being chemically analyzed, therefore we are wearing gloves when dealing with these samples so as not to contaminate them. It’s important to wear gloves and when putting on, wearing, and taking off the gloves to not touch the outside of them. Using the method described in the video you can take off your gloves if necessary and be able to put the same gloves back on without contaminating the outside of the gloves or needing to get a new pair.    –Maria Scheibel

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sorting 2016 leaf litter has begun!

The 2016 Leaf Litter is going to be handled differently from previous years.  Nat, Maddy, Cindy, Melany, Gretchen, Dan, Ryan, Adam, Grace, and Maddy (again) collected litter four (4, count them) times this fall:  Oct 7-9, Oct 17-18, Oct 21-23, and Nov 4-6.  This means that Melany’s crew in Ohio can get nutrient contents (as in 2012, which was also collected 4 times (better for nutrient analysis than letting them sit in baskets all fall starting to decompose).  It also means that we can look at whether our N and P treatments affect the rate of leaf fall (Griffin is working on this).  And Dan and Gretchen are comparing litter nutrient concentrations to the green leaves they shot in August, to study nutrient translocation.

Most of these samples do not require sorting, but:


We are going to analyze leaf litter by species, which requires sorting, in C1 and C9 control plots, which will contribute to a paper by Craig, Tim, and Ruth that shows how N and P decline over the course of the fall.  We will also use this time series to evaluate the “fresh” litter samples that Dan and Gretchen collected in the pouring rain on Oct 21-23.

Here is Phuong teaching species ID to Alex, our newest lab member and a grad student.


Here is an important question for our collaborators. What should we do with the “non-leaf” material?  When we sort, we don’t include this, but for all the stands where we are not sorting, these would be ground along with the leaves and analyzed!  So far, we have found a red-backed salamander, a worm, and an unknown insect pupa (can  anyone ID?), and two millipedes!



Here is another important methodological question. For all the bags that got crushed, ground, and are being ashed and digested for nutrient analysis, we analyze everything in the bag. However, for the samples we are sorting and analyzing by species, should yucky leaves from the wet corner of a basket (below) be included with the species samples?  One idea is to put them with the “unknown” species crumbles. Everything will be weighed, composited, and analyzed; including the unknowns, so that we also get total nutrient flux in the baskets.


Until you are 18, you can’t grind, ash, or digest samples, but some of you can do this and we’ll post pictures for the rest of you!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Useful for Reuse!!


Say goodbye to clutter! These litter collection bags are packed, clipped, and ready for action in the 2017 field season.  They are already labeled by stand, plot, and basket.


Our very own Grace Lockwood has done an exceptional job double checking the Spring and Summer litter from 2015 and 2016.  We don’t need to keep these (the attic is filling up with the more valuable Fall litter collections) so she dumps them into a garbage bag after looking for non-leaf material and counting cherry pedicels, birch catkins and bracts, and today only, a red spruce cone.  We thought she was all done, and we had a bonfire to burn the samples and celebrate Yang Yang’s PhD candidacy exam.  But it turned out there were more samples hiding…  We will have another bonfire to celebrate Kara’s thesis defense, hopefully on December 19.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rescued from Oblivion

Last weekend DeZhane noticed that the sharpie was rubbing off the ziplock bags of the litter from trip 3 2016. To prevent losing the identity of the samples,  we printed  labels to place into the bags. Now the samples really know who they are. #nomoresoulsearching



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment