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.