Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
|Forest next to Kingman Farm|
On the other side of the newly-planted field was a swampy area with mostly grass and cattails. Each step there made me grateful for my mud boots, as the cool mud and welling water swallowed them up to above my ankles. Behold: Kingman Farm Marsh!
|A view of the marsh at Kingman Farm|
|Yearling (or so?) cows at the Organic Dairy|
|The marsh at the Organic Dairy|
|Marsh vegetation at the Organic Dairy|
|Berlese funnels (not my photo)|
|Old-timey inventor of these funnels, Antonio Berlese. Gotta love the moustache!|
|Fire ant rafting behavior (not my photo)|
Thursday, December 22, 2011
As winter break begins, I want to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday. I'll be celebrating Chanukah, Solstice, and Christmas (in that order) this year, so I have most of my seasonally-festive bases covered. Otherwise, if you need to find me over break, look no further than my computer where I'll be reading as much as I can and working on my experiment (see my last post). I'll also sink my teeth into Joshua Schimel's book, Writing Science: How to Write Papers that Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, which my advisor just gave me; it looks quite well-written (one should hope so!) and I'm looking forward to perusing its words of wisdom.
Oh, and did I mention I'm heading to Puerto Rico for a quick vacation? This winter break is going to be epic!!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
- Ethics in Research and Scholarship, which fulfilled a requirement of my program, as well as a college-wide requirement for Ph.D. students. It's a complex topic, and this class covered some foundations in a broad range of ethical issues related to conducting research, many of which I had never considered before,
- Research Methodology & Statistics I, taught by an excellent prof from the Psychology department who really made the subject come alive. Although I took a Stats class as an undergrad, it's through this class that I feel I'm really starting to understand it.
- Soil Ecology, another great class taught by my (I hope) future committee member Serita Frey, all about the microbes and other organisms that live in the soil, their interactions, life strategies, and involvement in terrestrial--and global--ecological processes, including carbon and nitrogen cycling (my favorite!).
Monday, August 22, 2011
- To boldly install soil mesocosms attached to lysimeters (check out the photo below). An intact soil core in the mesocosm is re-buried in its original hole; in another month or so, our postdoc will add wheat litter with isotopically-labelled carbon to the soil surface in the mesocosm, which will allow him to trace where the carbon goes--into microbes, attached to clay particles, in aggregates, in molecules of interesting/complex chemistry, etc. Any carbon lost by leaching out during rainfall events will be caught in the lysimeter.
- To boldly gather roots and shoots from biofuel crops including corn, switchgrass, big bluestem, and miscanthus, as well as a big cooler full of soil, for our other postdoc's lab incubation experiment to look at decomposition dynamics of above- and below-ground residues.
I'm dwarfed by this stand of miscanthus, which is native to Europe and is even taller than this at full height!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Reflections upon reading "The Biology of Soil" by Richard Bardgett...
What controls soil processes? Of course the answer has to be:
There is never an easy explanation, is there? I suppose that is what makes something worth studying, though.
Also, it seems to make soil (along with deep ocean) one of our Earth's final frontiers. Have I stumbled into an Ecologist's goldmine? I hope so!