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.
Andrews Forest Children's Book, "Ellie's Log"
"Ellie's Log, Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell" by Judith L. Li. Illustrations by M. L. Herring.
Ages 9-12 (Grades 4-6). Companion Teacher's Guide. Color Illustrations. 112 pages.
Publication date April 1, 2013
After a huge tree crashes to the ground during a winter storm, ten-year-old Ellie and her new friend, Ricky, explore the forest where Ellie lives. Together, they learn how trees provide habitat for plants and animals high in the forest canopy, down among mossy old logs, and deep in the pools of a stream. The plants, insects, birds, and mammals they discover come to life in colored pen-and-ink drawings.
The forest and animals described in Ellie's Log are based on those found at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest.
An engaging blend of science and storytelling, Ellie’s Log also features:
• Pages from Ellie’s own field notebook, which provide a model for recording observations in nature
• Ellie’s advice to readers for keeping a field notebook
• Ellie's book recommendations
• Online resources for readers and teachers—including a Teacher’s Guide—are available at www.ellieslog.org.
See the Ellie's Log Trailer
Researchers Track Arrival of Spring
Researchers at the Andrews Forest are tracking the arrival of spring by watching bud break in native plants. Phenocams, weather-proof cameras positioned in the field, help researchers track bud break over a wide area at a daily interval. They also can help scale up from ground observations to monitoring through satellite imagery. Comparisons of the timing of bud break from site to site and year to year can tell scientists about microclimate drivers and trends over time. Phenology observations across trophic levels may help us understand more about the effects of climate change on ecosystems. More information on this project at the Andrews Forest can be found on our Phenology pages (http://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/research/lter6/current.cfm?pid=55&topnav=244)
Nitrogen Trends in Reference Watersheds
A cross-site collaborative study from the Andrews Forest and seven other Experimental Forests (4 of which are LTER sites) compared water quality trends in forested streams across the country that are largely undisturbed by land use or land cover changes.
The researchers analyzed 559 years of stream nitrate and 523 years of stream ammonium data from 22 streams in 7 experimental forests across the country. They found that even these near-pristine forested streams are subject to change, as stream nitrate has declined in the Pacific Northwest, in the Northeast, and in Puerto Rico, but has increased in the Mountain West and the South. They also observed that, within a forest, trends were not always in sync—at some sites, two streams within an experimental forest had opposing trends for the same type of nitrogen for the same period of time, suggesting that the controls on stream nitrogen concentrations may vary among and within sites.
The study's findings are summarized in an online video available at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014039
The work was also recently featured in Phys.Org: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-explores-long-term-quality-trends-near-pristine.html
Art and writing from the Ecological Reflections program will be displayed in Washington, D.C., at the National Science Foundation Offices with an opening associated with the annual Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Mini Symposium. Works created by 39 artists and writers depict the world of 11 of the 26 Long-Term Ecological Research sites, including the Andrews Forest. The items on display include paintings, fiber art, poetry, prose, and sculpture; the creators’ intents range from simple, personal expression to public outreach. The LTER Mini Symposium is hosted by the National Science Foundation and includes attendees from other agencies and entities in the DC area, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the US Forest Service, and the National Park Service. The exhibit opens February 28, 2013, and runs through mid-June. For more about the Arts and Humanities programs at the Andrews Forest LTER, see http://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/lter/research/related/writers.cfm?topnav=167 . The Ecological Reflections network of 20 sites is described at: www.ecologicalreflections.com.
Bark beetle galleries on the side of a log in Lookout Creek at the Andrews Forest inspired this painting by Eugene artist Leah Wilson during her 2012 Artist-in-Residence visit. Gouache on paper. For more of Leah’s work see: http://leahwilson.com
GREENHouse at the Andrews Forest. Seeking Support.
The GREEN House is a 2200-sq-ft residence building which will house visiting scientists, scholars, writers, and artists, and the Forest Director. The building design incorporates careful attention to energy efficiency, including monitoring to assess energy use and loss. Thus, the building will be valued for its utility and as a learning opportunity.
Throughout the winter we will be focusing on interior finishing and installation of systems to monitor the building environment and energy use. Soon we will be streaming monitoring data and posting other performance and educational materials on our website. To attain our ultimate goal of net zero energy, we continue to explore photovoltaic and solar water heating options.
The Andrews Forest needs your support for finish work and to suitably outfit the building with furniture, appliances, and alternative energy systems. Please consider being part of this exciting project by making a donation to the Andrews Forest Fund at the OSU Foundation. Call 541-737-8480 or make a donation online. Thank you!
Michael Nelson wins gold at 2012 All-Scientist Meeting
Andrews Forest new PI, Michael Nelson, brings down the house with his 2-Minute Lightning Round about the Andrews Forest and brings home the grand trophy from the 2012 LTER All-Scientist Meeting. The trophy will be engraved with "Andrews Forest" and will remain at the Andrews until the next ASM 2015. The Andrews wins the inaugural competition and sets the bar high for 2015. The 2-Minute Lightning Round was a chance for site PI's to describe their sites and site research in 2-minutes or less. Michael donned a Lorax hat and described the Andrews Forest with the following poetic rendition of "We are the Andrews" - (View video)
Automated Monitoring of Bird Songs
Researchers at Oregon State University have created a new computer technology to listen to multiple bird sounds at one time, to identify which species are present and how they may be changing as a result of habitat loss or climate change. The system, one of the first of its type, should provide an automated approach to ecological monitoring of bird species that is much more practical than a human sitting in the field, hours on end.
Much of the initial bird song recording and analysis for this project was performed by researchers at the Andrews Forest, including graduate students Forrest Briggs and Sarah Hadley, and Assistant Professor Matthew Betts.
Maddy Case on Bunchgrass Ridge
In May 2011, Maddy Case ’12, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major earning a certificate in environmental studies, received the Becky Colvin Memorial Award from PEI. The award was established in 1995 by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Colvin in memory of their daughter, Becky Colvin ’95. Becky was an ecology and evolutionary biology major who was very interested in field research. The annual fund supports summer environmental field research projects following the junior year, in support of the senior thesis. Last summer Maddy conducted research for her senior thesis in Oregon under the mentorship of Charlie Halpern at Bunchgrass Ridge.
Stream temperatures don't parallel warming climate trend
A new analysis of streams in the western United States with long-term monitoring programs has found that despite a general increase in air temperatures over the past several decades, streams are not necessarily warming at the same rate.
Several factors may influence the discrepancy, researchers say, including snowmelt, interaction with groundwater, flow and discharge rates, solar radiation, wind and humidity. But even after factoring out those elements, the scientists were surprised by the cooler-than-expected maximum, mean and minimum temperatures of the streams.
Ivan Arismendi, a postdoc with the Andrews Forest program, and coauthors analyzed long term stream temperature data from streams at the Andrews Forest as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest. Results of the research, which was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State University, have been published online in Geophysical Research Letters:
The study also points out the value of long-term data from streams that have had minimal human impacts, such as the streams being monitored at the Andrews Forest.
BioScience takes a retrospective look at LTER
As the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network enters its fourth decade, ecological scientists are taking stock of the contributions and future directions of the nation’s largest and longest running ecological research network. In a series of six papers in the April issue of the journal BioScience, teams of scientists drawn from across LTER take a critical look at the program’s 30 years of service to science and society in an era of unprecedented environmental change.
BioScience’s retrospective look at LTER and its network of scientists, observations, and cutting-edge experiments comes at a time when public agencies and other entities charged with stewarding the nation’s environmental health are increasingly challenged to provide a sound scientific basis for their decision making. The BioScience special section demonstrates how LTER provides resource managers and policy makers the relevant information they need to address the nation's environmental challenges and secure a more sustainable future.
For more information, please read Long-term research reveals causes and consequences of environmental change