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  Andrews Highlights

Highlights from the Andrews Forest Program are listed below. Also see "LTER Transformative Science" for a list of important contributions to ecological science from the Andrews Forest program, compiled at the request of the National Science Foundation.

Teacher workshop on phenology at the Andrews Forest 2013. Photo by Jody Einerson. Season Trackers

The Andrews Forest program and OSU Extension are collaborating in a Citizen Science project on climate and ecology. The project, Season Trackers, enlists citizen scientists to make weather and phenology observations in their communities around the state by recruiting from the ranks of people already involved with Extension’s many programs statewide, including many in rural areas. The data will help Andrews scientists expand the scale and inference of their research activities beyond the boundaries of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.  Learn more about the program through the Oregon Season Tracker website. The website has information about how to become involved, upcoming trainings, and resources to help volunteers with observations.

Varied Thrush. Photo by Adam Hadley. Monitoring birds across the landscape with new tools

Andrews Forest scientists recently recieved a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop computer software that will identify birds by song, a tool that will allow researchers to more easily monitor birds across a landscape. Raviv Raich and Xiaoli Fern (OSU Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and avian ecologist Matthew Betts (OSU Forest Ecosystems and Society) lead the project titled “Computational Methods for Bioacoustic Avian Species Monitoring”. The main thrust of the project is further development of machine learning techniques for automated interpretation of recordings of bird song to identify species and their movement across the landscape during the summer season. Several years of recordings of bird songs at many locations across the Andrews Forest landscape (currently >12 TB of data) will be used to test the techniques and address ecological questions relating to phenological shifts in bird arrival in relation to food availability. The tool will be adaptable to many ecosystems, but will be tested first by addressing bird response to environmental change, including climate variability in the Andrews Forest and land use in Costa Rica.  See http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/bioacoustics-birdland and http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2010/07/birding-by-ear-online/ for more detail.

understory at the Andrews Forest. photo by Gabriel Shea Andrews Forest LTER Receives $6.7M Grant from NSF

The HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Long Term Ecological Research program has received a six-year, $6.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to examine how forested mountain ecosystems respond to changes in climate and land-use and how people interact with the forest through ethical decision-making. Research will be focused on a central question: How do climate, natural disturbance and land use as controlled by forest governance interact with biodiversity, hydrology and carbon and nutrient dynamics? Researchers will continue to address issues such as the transport of carbon and other nutrients through air and water flows. They will study the decomposition of organic matter and changes in the timing of events such as the blossoming of plants and insect emergence from streams.

Full press release on LTER7 at http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/oct/hj-andrews-research-forest-federal-funding-renewed

SCALER research team at the Andrews Forest. Photo by Lina DiGregorio Andrews LTER joins the SCALER cross-site stream experiment

In summer 2014 the Andrews Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site joined other LTER sites in the “Scale, Consumers and Lotic Ecosystem Rates” (SCALER) project, led by Walter Dodds (Konza LTER). Funded by the National Science Foundation, SCALER is a cross-site project designed to understand structure and function of aquatic systems.

At the Andrews  LTER site, scientists Alba Argerich (OSU) and Brooke Penaluna (US Forest Service Pacific Northwest station) led a team of researchers to assess the effects of consumers—including the Cutthroat Trout and the Pacific Giant Salamander (the largest salamander in North America)—on primary production, ecosystem respiration and nutrient cycling.

Read more and see photos in the LTER Network Newsletter, Fall 2014, Vol. 27 No. 3

Proposal figure. Haggerty and Wondzell. Hydrologic and biogeochemical controls of carbon flux

Researchers will be studying how carbon is processed, exported, and stored within headwater streams of the westetn Oregon Cascasde mountains, using the Andrews Forest as a primary field site. Roy Haggerty and Steve Wondzell will lead the project, funded by a grant from the National Foundation.  Their work on how hydrology and biogeochemistry interact to control carbon in headwater streams will help scientists understand the role of streams in the global carbon budget.  [Read More...]

Lookout Creek at the Andrews Forest. Photo by Tom Iraci, USFS Air Temperature Models Poor at Predicting Stream Temps

Andrews Forest stream ecologists examined historic stream temperature data over a period of one to four decades from 25 sites in the western United States to see if increases in air temperature during this period could predict observed stream temperatures. The lead researchers, Ivan Arismendi and Sherri Johnson, report that air temperatues were not a good predictor for stream temperatures. The study highlights the importance of long-term data, such as those collected at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Long Term Ecological Research site, one of the sites included in the study. Results from this work will help scientists create better models to anticipate changes in stream temperatures related to climate change.

Read more at http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/oct/study-finds-air-temperature-models-poor-predicting-stream-temps

H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Dashboard Story Map Dashboard of Webcams and Streaming Data

A Simple Story Map-based Real-Time Dashboard for the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. (new post in GIS and Science gisandscience.com/ )

As a charter member of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, the site contributes to the collection of long-term datasets to support research on ecological issues that can last decades.  Using Esri’s story maps technology, a simple map-based dashboard was developed to let researchers, administrators, and the general public view real-time data from 125 different sensors including webcams, stream gauges, and weather stations deployed throughout the forest.


Old-growth stand at the Andrews Forest. Photo by Lina DiGregorio Large, old trees fix more carbon than younger trees

Long-term vegetation study plots at the Andrews Forest were part of a global analysis that showed that growth rate increased continuously with tree size and that large, old trees fix large amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees. These findings go against a widely-held assumption that after an initial period of increasing growth, the mass growth rate of individual trees declines with increasing tree size. 

See more details in an article at http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/reaching-for-the-sky-study-shows-most-trees-grow-faster/article_223a4046-7fc7-11e3-bf31-0019bb2963f4.html

The full study, which appears in the journal, Nature, can be found at www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12914.html

Stephenson, N. L., A. J. Das, R. Condit, S. E. Russo, P. J. Baker, N. G. Beckman, D. A. Coomes, E. R. Lines, W. K. Morris, N. Rüger, E. Álvarez, C. Blundo, S. Bunyavejchewin, G. Chuyong, S. J. Davies,  á. Duque, C. N. Ewango, O. Flores, J. F. Franklin, H. R. Grau, Z. Hao, M. E. Harmon, S. P. Hubbell, D. Kenfack, Y. Lin, J.-R. Makana, A. Malizia, L. R. Malizia, R. J. Pabst, N. Pongpattananurak, S.-H. Su, I.-F. Sun, S. Tan, D. Thomas, P. J. van Mantgem, X. Wang, S. K. Wiser, and M. A. Zavala. 2014. Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size. Nature.

Vegetation crew members taking understory measurements in 2013. photo by Charlie Halpern. Studying 50 Years of Vegetation Change

The abundant herb and shrub communities that develop after disturbances, such as logging or burning, are drawing increasing attention as critical habitats for many invertebrates, birds, and other animals. Permanent vegetation plots established by Ted Dyrness in 1962, in two clearcut and burned watersheds of the Andrews Forest, provide the longest, most detailed records of changes in understory vegetation as these systems revert to closed-canopy forests. In a recent publication, Charlie Halpern (University of Washington) and Jim Lutz (Utah State) observed that over three decades of measurement in Watersheds 1 and 3, tree cover increased fourfold, and biomass more than two orders of magnitude. Surprisingly, during the same period, understory species richness and cover declined an average of only 30-40% and, in many plots, there was no evidence of a decline. For plots that declined in richness or cover, the decrease was largely attributable to loss of early-seral species, such as fireweed and ceanothus, that established soon after disturbance. In contrast, forest understory species that survived disturbance, persisted despite closure of the tree canopy. These findings run counter to a common perception that trees exert strong controls on understory vegetation during canopy closure. They also highlight the importance of long-term studies for elucidating patterns and processes that cannot be understood from short-term experiments or space-for-time substitutions.

The paper, "Canopy closure exerts weak controls on understory dynamics: a 30-year study of overstory-understory interactions" was published in Ecological Monographs, 83(2), 2013, pp 221-237.

Sensors on top of quarry at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, photo by Theresa Valentine As data flow, scientists advocate for quality control

As sensor networks revolutionize ecological data collection by making it possible to collect high frequency information from remote areas in real time, scientists with the U.S. Forest Service are advocating for automated quality control and quality assurance standards that will make that data reliable.

In an article published recently in the journal Bioscience, research ecologists John Campbell and Lindsey Rustad of the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station and colleagues make a case for incorporating automated quality control and quality assurance procedures in sensor networks. The article, "Quantity is Nothing without Quality: Automated QA/QC for Streaming Environmental Sensor Data," is available at: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/43678

Note that Don Henshaw from the Andrews LTER is a co-author on the publication.

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