28 June, 2001
Bright, sunny day in the high 40, low 50'3 feels almost tropical! We worked without gloves most of the day. This weather is most welcome but every good thing has it's opposite mosquitoes are not far behind. They were flying around but there was enough of a breeze to keep everyone happy.
Glen and I completed the plant counts today. All 18 plots are counted and put into a simple file to be compared to the 2nd and then the final time measurements are taken.
Michelle and Lety finished setting up their plots today. In all they have 8 randomly placed, meter square, plots, which they have blocked off with string. They are working from the same plots but asking different buy complimentary questions.
Michelle wants to find out if there is a difference between wet and dry tundra in plant productivity. One's initial answer might be to think the more water available to plants the more productivity but remember the 5 growth variables for tundra vegetation mentioned a few journals ago? Up in the arctic that is not necessarily true, there are other factors that interplay with each other. Michelle also is looking into the interaction of fungi and the root systems of 2 arctic shrubs. Does soil moisture and root biomass have a connection with fungal infection rates?
Lety is investigation soil respiration and nutrient levels. Her research asks the question, if soil nutrients are present will soil respiration increase along with them? There a number of ways to test for soil nutrients Lety chose to use resin bags that she placed into the plots. She made two slits in each plot and placed 2 resin bags in each slot. These resin bags look like tea bags but they contain a cation and the other an anion that attract nitrates if they are present in the soil. When the bags are removed from the plots, usually bi-weekly, they will be sent to the lab at SDSU to be analyzed. Two 5-inch circular rings have been set in each meter square, one enclosing vegetation and one without vegetation Each area will be measured by the LiCor to get flux data. These flux measurements will be compared to the nutrient levels to see if there exists a correlation between the two.
All the research by the San Diego team is centered around climate change and what effects it will have on the arctic system. Walt Oechele's group has spent many years here in Barrow, Dr. Oechel did work here in the 70's, gathering data on both local, and regional scales of the north slope of Alaska.
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