Monday, September 5, 2011

Late summer fern fieldwork

After returning from two weeks in Australia this summer, I had about a week's respite at home in Madison before heading out into the field in the US for my last field trip for the ecophysiological portion of my PhD. This three week trek started with a week in Pickens, South Carolina measuring seven Dryopteris species that have been grown and cared for in a greenhouse by my good friend and colleague Tom Goforth of Crowdog Native Ferns and Gardens. We also visited and measured a population of D. campyloptera in the Great Smoky Mountains. Then we drove east to Raleigh and Hertford, North Carolina, where we were led to populations of D. ludoviciana and D. celsa by fern fancier Jessie Perry. I then headed north toward western New York via Norfolk, Virginia, narrowly missing hurricane Irene in the process. In Hamilton and Ithaca I measured the final two species I needed for these studies, and celebrated the end of my PhD fieldwork with friends! The next few posts here will document this whirlwind journey and the plants I encountered along the way. Most will be well known to anyone familiar with this blog, but it's always fun to visit the same species, and in some cases, the same populations, again year after year; many of them have become like old friends to me after five years on this project.

* 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.


RaipurFlorist said...

Keep up the good work. Best of luck. From

Rachel said...

Are you still making posts to this blog? I just found it, and saw your last post before "hibernation" - was just wondering if it would be back online again.



Emily said...

Yes! It's been a busy year for me, finishing my PhD and moving from Wisconsin to Arizona. And apparently I stopped getting emails about comment moderation at some point... but yes, I plan to start blogging regularly again!