Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacuuming Dirty Plants and a Creepy Bee

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass."

-From Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"
(I heard it in my car while driving back to HJA to count grass)

This week, we have been working with Joseph A. Antos from the University of Victoria.  He and Charlie are old friends and colleagues.

Over lunch, they described working on Mt. St. Helens just before and just after it erupted.  They were studying the response of the plant community to the ash.  In order to accurately compare the effects of the ash, they needed an identical control group free of ash to provide a comparison.  This meant "cleaning" all of the plants.  It is the first time I've heard of anybody vacuuming the forest to keep it clean.  While the volcano was still active no less.

Joe formerly worked with Charlie on Bunchgrass Ridge, so he and is wife came back to visit and help for a couple of days.

We have begun measuring reference meadows on Bunchgrass Ridge.  The experimental design includes forest plots that have not been altered, treatment plots that have had the trees removed, and now reference meadows that should represent a typical meadow community.  The treatment groups can be compared to the other two communities to observe if it is transitioning, and if it is, how quickly.  

It seems that the majority of the plots that I have observed have fewer forest species and more meadow species.

 Nico caught a bird.  It's a juvenile grey jay, Perisorius canadensis.  It may have fallen out of the nest.  It didn't seem quite ready to fly yet.

Shannon also found a garter snake this week.  I wasn't quite quick enough to see it.  I wonder if it would eat the tree frog that I found last week.  There are a lot of grasshoppers to eat.  I wasn't sure if they actually eat grasshoppers, but I looked it up and the internet says that they do.

There are a lot of grasshoppers to eat.

Carex pachystachia inforescence
I found this fungus growing on a charred log

 There are new flowers blossoming every week, while the flowers from only four weeks ago are dried and wilted.  I didn't realize how short lived flowers are and how quickly they are replaced.  For example, the tiger-lilies are all gone and they are no replaced with these thistles (Cirsium sp.).

This one has a spider on it. 

This creepy bee is about to interrupt this young blister beetle couple.

Tragopogon from last week

Tragopogon this week

Slender phlox, Microsteris gracile

 Liam and I were trying to make it to a rocky outcrop called, "Thor's Hammer."  We didn't make it, but that's okay.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I enjoy reading your posts and seeing the pictures. Thanks for sharing!