Amazing how dramatic a single place can be in drylands in a season with some rainfall. Photos courtesy of Dr. Mike Westphal.
Biology for environmental management class was an examination of the capacity for biological and ecological levers from primary research to be used for management and social good.
Ok, our competition trials never look that good.
- Aboveground harvest: clip from soil surface.
- Belowground harvest: need to harvest entire plant at once by removing plants and roots from pot experiments (for instance) and gently washing to remove all soil but keeping roots and shoots intact. Then, snip aboveground growth from below.
- Depending on level of replication and lowest possible independent sample unit, harvest one individual, one species, or all individuals of one species per pot into independent paper bags.
- Place in ovens at 68F for at least 2 days.
- Leave all plants in paper bags in oven until the moment you are ready to weigh.
- Remove from paper bags to weigh for small plants. Typically, I weigh to 3-4 decimal grams for small desert annual plants.
- Return plants to bag, do not return to oven, store in a paper box for a few weeks or until all data entered and checked.
Code, data, and exploration on GitHub.
Do native species density trials at two scale – micro and mesoscale using pots and large plastic buckets. Mix of potting soil and sand best – 50:50.
Consider intra and interspecific competition series – with replacement, i.e. keep net densities per pot consistent. Finally, perhaps consider competition with an exotic such as red brome.
then a*b, a*c, b*c
Or run each out in solo then against red brome.
We had a more ambitious set of goals this season.
- Habitat use frequency estimates. Tools: a. telemetry of blunt-nosed leopard lizard with a total at least 1200 relocations split between AM/PM with an estimate of shrub-open and behavior. b. cam traps at shrub-open on still mode.
- Behavior estimates. Tools: a. cam traps on video mode at a total of 100 hours recording time. b. direct observation (with recording too) by humans of lizards and grasshoppers at a total of 100hrs.
- Shrub-plant-animal interaction estimates. Tools: exclosures at two sites to exclude different taxa in shrub-open mesohabitats. a. cages. b. cams c. vacuums. d. sweeps.
- Temperature profile estimates. Tools: a. pulse of collars on lizards b. loggers at microhabitat scales.
- Census grasshoppers. Tools: stick, sweep, and vacuum. Also do direct observation to assess whether they are significant consumers.
1a. Mario and Steph. Goals 1,2,3,5.
1b. Malory and Nargol. Goals 1,2,5.
2. Emily and Kat. Goals 1 & 4.
Deploy one set of cam traps on still mode at a total no-shrub zone.
Get a solid handle on behavior by verts and inverts in the context of paired interactions with plants (at micro-scale) and shrubs at mesoscale.
Need an assay of insect diversity.