Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Well, we had our first snow of the season here in Madison last week, which means that's probably all for the ferns for this year. The blog will be pretty quiet until the spring, when things start to wake up and there will be fiddleheads to photograph again! There will be big changes for me in the spring, too, as I defend my PhD and graduate from the Botany Department at UW-Madison. You'll hear all about that, and I'm also planning a trip to Arizona in early April, which will hopefully afford some interesting plant stories even while it's still cold in Wisconsin. So please stay tuned for those upcoming posts and any others I can come up with over the cold winter months!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I've visited this population before, and it grows in a hemlock dominated forest at Bear Pen Gap turnout on the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the benefits of working along the Blue Ridge is being treated to views like this:
Another neat thing we saw, quite unexpectedly, was this.
What's neat about this, you ask? Look closer...
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Crowdog Native Ferns and Gardens set up to house the Dryopteris species used in this study. He built this structure, which has plants in three light levels that were achieved using shade cloth over the roof, and cared for all these plants over the course of the growing season. They had to be regularly watered, randomized and moved around within the treatments, etc. No small task, and I'll be eternally grateful to Tom for all his help with this project (and especially for killing the red wasps that had made a nest over some of the plants in the back of the greenhouse, and for moving two GIGANTIC writing spiders to quarters that wouldn't bring me into contact with them; I'm not a fan of spiders).
Monday, September 5, 2011
* The photo up top is a hemispheric photograph taken with a special fisheye lens mounted on a regular camera. The photo is taken at about plant height, and can be used to measure the percent of the canopy that is open and affording access to sunlight for the plants; you can also get more sophisticated and use it to figure out the total amount of light a given location under the canopy will receive over the course of the growing season, given is elevation and lat/long. I have used these photos to quantify the light environments of my species, as light is the primary environmental variable whose potential influence on evolution I'm interested in quantifying.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This second installment on Australian ferns focuses on more diminutive specimens (except for the tree ferns above), including some gorgeous filmy ferns (family Hymenophyllaceae) that we found growing in a probably perpetually-moist splash area around a culvert.
Monday, August 15, 2011
You may have noticed a distinct lack of ferns in the last few, Australia posts... that's because I've been saving the best for last! We did indeed see lots of ferns Down Under, though unfortunately I know very few of their names. All of these photos were taken in the various eucalypt forests we drove through, and there will be three of these fern-centric posts to round out my series on this summer's Australian adventures.
This is a tree-fern stump that was burned in the recent, awful fires that consumed thousands of acres around Marysville in January 2009. This fern didn't survive, but the vascular structure that remains inside the trunk is beautiful.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Our drive through Victoria culminated with a visit to the Little Desert National Park, which is at the extreme eastern edge of the state, where it borders South Australia. This is the beginning of the outback, and the vegetation is appropriately scruffy, though with beautiful flowering things if you were careful to look for them...