Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A hike in the woods

Tree Hugging Experiment

(candid shot of Dr. Rood!)

Pretty little things in nature

(Wild ginger plant)

Wild ginger was one of the many plants that we were able to see in our hiking lab. The wild ginger was not what I was expecting, but it was more abundant than I thought it would be. It ranged in color from light to dark green, and is described by wikipedia as the following: "may refer to any of a variety of plants, often with a similar appearance, odour or taste to cultivated ginger"

(Southern pine beetle)

(Effects of the Southern pine beetle)
(Images courtesy of Google Images)
The Southern pine beetle is a small beetle that is gradually wiping out the pine population. These beetles are responsible for the brown-like trees pictured above. 

(Leaf litter decomposition)

Definition: Decomposition of leaf litter is a major source of nutrients in forest ecosystems. As leaves are broken down by insect and microbial decomposers, organically-bound nutrients are released as free ions to the soil solution which are then available for uptake by plants. In this exercise students will measure the rate of decomposition of leaf litter during winter, spring, and summer at contrasting sites using the litter bag technique. 
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