This past Sunday we went on a fun lab outing—we canoed ten miles along the Winooski River from Waterbury to Richmond. In what may be a first, every member of the lab came, eleven people in five canoes. And there was only one partial capsize! We ate lunch on a shoal halfway through the paddle and ended the day with a meal at Hatchet in Richmond.
It was a busy spring, but we finally got all three of our common gardens in the ground (or bed). Our NSF-funded red spruce experiment, detailed in previous posts, went into five raised beds at UVM's Hort Farm in May. We planted 2,450 trees—grown from 340 parent trees—in two days. Whew! Our colleagues in Maryland and North Carolina did the same. We're already collecting data on budset.
Brittany's research examines the spatial scale of intraspecific adaptation in red spruce, with raised beds at three different elevations on the same mountain: Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's tallest peak. The one at the top definitely has the best view of any of our gardens.
The new poplar garden, discussed in the last post, went in the ground in June, also at the Hort Farm: 1,098 trees spread over one acre in another beautiful spot. Check out more photos of all three plantings in the Photos tab.
The gardens have taken up a lot of our time of late, but they represent only part of the Keller lab's research. We hope to post about some of our other projects over the coming months.
We've finished building the raised beds for our red spruce common garden experiment! Last month, a truck delivered six tons of soil to the hort farm (UVM's Horticultural Research Center). Our collaborator John Butnor's unrivaled tractor skills came to the rescue that day—and again when eight tons of gravel arrived a few days later. Then we sawed, drilled, shoveled, pitchforked, raked, and stomped—check out more pictures under the Photos tab. Our colleagues in Maryland and North Carolina are building identical common gardens, and we'll all plant our spruce seedlings in the spring.
An article on our spruce research was published in Burlington's Conservation Newsletter! See the excerpt below and click the link to read the whole article.
A lot has happened in the Keller lab in the last year. We’d like to share them in this fire-hose of a blog post. Many congratulations are in order!
Last but most important, our research program forges ahead! We launched our NSF-funded red spruce project and now have over 10,000 healthy seedlings waiting to be planted in a common garden next spring. Our new ancient DNA lab awaits samples of ancient spruce pollen preserved in pond sediment cores. Cuttings from every tree in our poplar common garden are leafing out in the greenhouse, waiting to be transplanted to a new garden at UVM next spring. All of these activities will be featured in upcoming blog posts! For now, check out more pictures of lab work and fun under the Photos tab.
Very nice article on using environmental DNA (eDNA) to study invasive species just came out in The Scientist. They feature our work just published in Diversity and Distributions on using eDNA to track the invasive freshwater diatom Didymo (aka, rock snot) in Maryland and Pennsylvania streams.
Didymosphenia geminata in West Branch Pine Creek, PA. Photo credit: Matt Shank
Lots of good news to report from an active spring 2017 semester. Some highlights:
We inaugurated the first of what we hope to be many annual lab ski trips this winter! A beautiful sunny day and snow in abundance as we gathered at Trapp Family Lodge, near Stowe. For many, it was their first time on skis...
After getting geared up, we skied about 4km mostly uphill up to the Cabin, where we stopped for a picnic lunch, and a snowball fight. The trip back down was fast and exciting, and full of bumps and turns. We then went to nurse our wounds at the Bluestone in Waterbury afterwards. Soooo fun -- see you next year!
We had a great (but busy!) Fall 2016 semester. Here are some updates on what's been happening: