Stacey Robbins - July 2018

Since my last post, I have visited each of the tree lines and began collecting data.  I don’t have preliminary findings yet, but I should be able to finish data collection after about three more full field days, and look forward to analyzing and tying up the project! The analysis will be looking for trends in tree density and age to describe tree line movement.  I’m also looking forward to when I have to go back to the same areas during the semester for seed collection to start the second half of the project.

The last three months have been a great first experience for doing research and field work.  I got off to a slow start, but I am glad to have learned a lot about the process of researching and designing a research experiment, adjusting plans and revising sampling strategies; as it goes, what happens in the field is often quite different than imagined when sitting at a computer and planning or reading out of a textbook! I’m looking forward to tying up this part of my research project.  My plans are to continue the next phase of this research question through the fall semester, which will begin with growing seedlings in the greenhouse on campus with the soil and seeds that I will have collected. 

Image 1. Increment borer inserted halfway through a tree to gather a core sample and measure age

Image 2. Tree core sample pulled from increment borer. Samples were stored in paper straws and brought back to the lab to count tree rings

Image 3. Recording GPS points at a site below tree line. As you can see, the density of trees makes for a long day counting and categorizing the population!

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