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Daily archives "March 20, 2017"

8 Articles

Day 4

Today was a full day of plant surveying! I learned a lot about the cypress tree and the current problems this species is facing in the southern deciduous forest here in Louisiana. 

As shown in the picture below, the roots of this tree (and many others) are completely exposed. This is not normal. Typically the roots are completely covered by soil and water. However due to humans the soil level has dropped. That’s right, the soil has become so compact due to the loss of water and organic material that it caused soil levels to drop. 

What’s causing the water to disappear? Humans. When humans moved to Louisiana they started to drain the wetlands in their desire to inhabit the land. As population size increased, the demand for more land also increased. Therefore causing humans to drain more and more water from the land. Over the years the extraction of water from these wetlands has caused a dramatic decrease in soil levels. This decrease has caused the roots of the trees to become more exposed to oxygen. Furthermore allowing bacteria, fungi, and microbes to attack it and begin decomposition. As the roots become decomposed, the tree slowly becomes to weak to hold itself up. The end result is the collapsing of cypress trees and a decrease in the population. 

3/20 Blog Post

Posted from Austin, Texas, United States.

Today my group and I finished our first full complete transect. We finally picked up the hang of things and found an adequate efficient way to record our data. It was interesting to see the variety of plants and the locations where each landed. Before taking this course or doing this field research, I never knew how important these types of things mattered.

Oh blackberries how we hate thee

Posted from Austin, Texas, United States.

We had our first full day of surveying. My team got a good amount done so that was good (3 full 100m transects and a half). Before we went on the trip Sean told us that blackberries will be the bane of our existence. I personally thought that it was a little bit of an exaggeration, no no it wasn’t. We had to hack our way through a few walls of this evil plant. It has a lot of tinny tiny little thorns that just snag everything that it touches. We all got a few little pricks here and there, for me on my arms and my back. These are the worst because then you can’t really see it and you can’t tell where it is/where it is from. But Jayla totally crushed it at whacking the blackberry bushes out of our way. If there was no blackberries today would have been perfect. We say a lot of spiders (yes we consider this cool), some crickets, A LOT of caterpillars, a small brown snake (we think it was  a gardener snake), there were a few armadillos that we could hear it waddling around. So it was over all a good day of animal sighting and Katie, Jayla and I were all able to keep smiling and laughing the whole time. Can’t wait for the next few days. 🙂

Jayla and Katie at work

a caterpillar

an ordinary spider

me holding a machete!

a REALLY big spider

another spider

yet another spiders

The team left to right Jayla, Katie and me (Hayden)

A little grasshopper

A quick recap of day 2 fieldwork!

Posted from Austin, Texas, United States.

Today was hot and gnarly in the swamp. I had my first personal encounter with the swelling bushes of blackberry. Some people found it horrible, but I found it exciting!

Why might you ask? Because we got to machete the heck out of it. With great power comes great necessity. And it sure was necessity to destroy this nature God had bestowed in this transect.

Always excited for the next encounter!

Aside from that…

Our group knocked out almost 4 complete 100 meter transects today. I think the best parts were the in-betweens where you were waiting around and observing nature. The amount of biodiversity in the woodlands is outstanding. I mean, most are spiders but it’s still fun to observe. I could just sit out there between those maple trees, eat mullberries, and look at critters all day. Now I’m E xcited for tomorrow’s field day!

Photo of our hardworking awesome team!

Woodlands Trail

Today was our first full day of work in the wetlands. We hacked our way through tons of BlackBerry and come upon some very beautiful areas of the forest while collecting data. It was very tough, but we conquered the day together.

Relieved to find…

The Louisiana woodlands ain’t so bad!

The Voodoo Dolls had some challenges today, having to backtrack a bit before completing our first transect. But then we moved on to our second and suddenly we had a groove. It’s hard to fight the thirst and hunger, which become an annoying disruption in what would otherwise be an efficient process, but other than that, some pointy sticks, and some bugs, it’s mostly just a nice walk though beautiful woods. 

We felt like explorers as we got quicker identifying plant species, curiously watched critters, marched through clover beds, and Julianna even dabbled in some archaeology. 

Our feet hurt and we reach a wall every now and then but for the most part, we feel pretty comfortable in these woods. It’s an nice feeling, a boost of confidence, and a sense of accomplishment. We can definitely say we are proud of our team.