Sandbox Germination Livestream

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created worldwide restrictions, one of which is the ability to easily cross borders. This is not a huge issue if you can easily work virtually but as a field ecologist whose field sites are in a different country, you have to come with creative ways to conduct experiments here at home. Our lab room was not getting much use since classes went virtual, so we decided to transform it into a sandbox germination experiment and livestream it so we can view the experiment any time, from anywhere. We used cotton fabrics and burlap in a half tent design and placed trays of Phacelia tanacetifolia (desert fiddlenck), an annual species native to the Southwestern region of the U.S.A, and Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa (buckhorn cholla), a native cactus, in the open and underneath tents. We also used temperature, light, and humidity loggers to monitor how microclimatic parameters are affected underneath the shelters and in the open. Additionally, we set up LED lights for UV and heat lamps to replicate the desert heat. You can say things are heating up in the lab!

A view of the entire setup with LED and heat lamps.
Phaclia and buckhorn underneath tent canopy with loggers.
seed trays in the open with loggers.