The Root of the Problem

This last week of summer research has flown by. I can’t believe it’s all over! After returning from Maine, I was quickly put to work entering all of the data for newly recruited trees into a spreadsheet, which took about two full work days. Not the most glamorous of jobs, for sure, but I’m happy to have gotten it out of the way early.

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The Great American Chestnut Trip: Maine Edition

After finishing up in Vermont, we drove east about 5 hours and ended up in (very rural) Atkinson, Maine. The tiny town we stayed in was great; bordering a river, and full of history. Our group lived in a 100 year old farmhouse with antique furniture and a huge wood stove that made me feel like I was a million miles away from civilization. I had so much fun cooking meals and playing cards with everyone in the kitchen, and then swimming in the river after a long day of field work.

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The Great American Chestnut Trip: Vermont Edition

After an 18 hour car ride and an enormous amount of Dunkin Donuts coffee, I’ve finally returned from my research trip to the northeastern US. What an amazing time! The environment, abundant with hundred- year old trees, green rolling hills, and crystal blue skies is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The people, too, were always friendly and accommodating to this eclectic group of ecologists.

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Into the Woods, and the Start of New Adventures

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American Chestnut project update

The last month has gone by incredibly fast! At the beginning of the summer, we set out all of the American Chestnut and Red Oak seedlings at Sullivan Greenhouse, near the law school. So far, all are growing well and look extremely healthy. ¬†Olivia and I have been out every week or so to either apply fungicide or take measurements on plant growth. It’s really just a big waiting game at the moment, as the mycorrhizae in the plant soil will not be ready for analysis until the end of the summer. In the mean time, my biggest project-related job will be to learn how to perform the experimental procedures (both PCR and root staining) that we will be doing later on to identify the quantity and type of mycorrhizae living on these tree roots. Hopefully all of our materials will come in within the next week so that I can start practicing on tree roots that we’ve collected from the college woods.milkweed2

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