For the summer of 2013, research mentors will work with REU students on the following projects. Interested students should review these projects and indicate their preference in the application process.
Food Web complexity in low-productivity environments (one student): In this study we are assessing how salamanders increase energy retention in headwater streams. Specifically, we are interested in how salamander predation reduces insect exports and how intraguild predation between salamander species reduces the export of salamander biomass from headwater streams. The REU student working on this project will have the opportunity to participate in salamander surveys, insect emergence surveys, and the use of experimental mesocosms while designing their own research within this broader topic. This work will increase our understanding of energy transport between stream and terrestrial ecosystems at Hubbard Brook, while also expanding our knowledge on the role of predators in energy retention. (Dr. Winsor Lowe and Dr. Jon Davenport)
Hydrology and Soils
Hillslope hydrology (one student): The overall objective of this project is to document varying flowpaths that water takes through soils in its journey through hillslopes on its way to streams. An REU student will work closely with a team with graduate students installing and operating tensiometers and pore water samplers, and collecting and characterizing soil samples. The approach of this project follows the emerging discipline of hydropedology, with implications for understanding water quality regulation and spatial patterns in forest habitats. (Dr. Scott Bailey and Dr. Kevin McGuire)
Forest vegetation and carbon:
Plant population ecology (one student): The forest community ecology team (Fahey, Battles, Cleavitt) at Hubbard Brook would like to host an energetic and engaged student interested in plant ecology and demography. Opportunities exist to examine the population of round-leaved orchids and the in-coming pine and oak seedlings. New projects ripe for a summer project include establishing our base line smapling in hemlock areas that are likely to be affected by the hemlock woolly adelgid in the coming years. Other research topics that include a significant field component and are related to the ongoing research on tree population and community ecology in the Hubbard Brook Valley are also possible. Ideally the research project will be related to the community research and education aspect of the REU experience. (Drs. John Battles & Dr. Natalie Cleavitt)
Reconstructing forest history (one student): Watershed 3 at Hubbard Brook is a 100 acre study area that is a center for research on forest hydrology and soils. Historical ecology can elucidate knowledge of how forest composition and structure have changed over the last 150 years and may help explain spatial variation in soils through a longer time frame. This project can include several aspects of historical and vegetation ecology research including compilation and analysis of historical land use records, presettlement land survey records, collection and analysis of tree cores to date disturbances, measurement of vegetation plots to determine current forest composition and dynamics, examination of windthrow disturbance, and canopy structure through LiDAR, and the compilation and analysis of these data in a geographic information system. (Dr. Charlie Cogbill & Dr. Scott Bailey)
Tree physiology and forest community dynamics (one or two students): The research in my laboratory involves using elevation transects to promote research and education about effects of climate change on tree species composition in NH’s northern hardwood forests. The primary research goal of my work is to provide insight on how climate may affect vegetation in the Northeast by studying the influence of temperature and other environmental factors on plant life phases (phenophases, e.g., bud break, leaf-out, fruiting, flowering, leaf color-change and leaf fall), species composition and ecological physiology (e.g., soil properties and plant water and carbon budgets). Students will have research project options within this larger effort centered on an elevational transect at Hubbard Brook. (Dr. Michele Pruyn)
Groundwater Seep characteristics and distribution in the Hubbard Brook Valley (one student): Surface groundwater seeps offer clues to watershed geomorphology, hydrology and nutrient export, in addition to hosting uncommon biological communities. This project will locate and map seeps (using GPS and GIS) throughout the 7,800 acre Hubbard Brook Valley, and sample selected sites for water chemistry. Potential student research questions will include questions on the uniqueness of seep chemistry, water residence time, groundwater contributions to watershed nutrient budgets, and relationships between groundwater seeps and biological ‘hot-spots’. (Dr. Scott Bailey and Don Buso)
Chemistry and hydrology of Mirror Lake (one student): The Mirror Lake study, adjacent to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, has been operating for almost 50 years and has resulted in two books and numerous scholarly publications. It has been called one of the most studied lakes in the world and thus provides a rich context for student work. REU students on this project will be exposed to many facets of the study and have the opportunity to develop independent projects on topics including, but not limited to: time series analysis of nutrient loading, road salt contamination, groundwater interactions, introduced species, and physical limnology and hydrology. (Dr. Gene Likens and Don Buso).
Socioeconomics / Ecosystem Services:
Public use and attitudes at Mirror Lake (one student): Mirror Lake (described above) lies in the town of Woodstock, NH and has public beach and boat access. While the physical and biological characteristics of the lake have been well-documented, very little is known about the public attitudes towards lake ecosystem services, usage patterns, or the knowledge the public has regarding the scientific importance of the lake research. This REU project will use quantitative survey and interview techniques to provide a baseline of information regarding public perceptions of lake recreation, including usage patterns, attitudes, economic valuation, and knowledge of the existing scientific studies. (Dr. Gene Likens, Dr. Joe Boyer, and Don Buso).
For 2013, we will be accepting 8 students for the above projects. Please visit our application page for more information.