Population and Community Ecology

Spring 2009

Wildlife Ecology

Environmental Science Seminar 

Ecology Lab 

Teaching Colgate University

Teaching Colby College

Teaching St. Lawrence University

Home for research and pictures

This semester we are commencing work in the greenhouse with experiments using aquatic and terrestrial plants. We are using Salvinia rotundifolia and rearing them with initial low density and high density populations, in addition to running a high density population with a treatment (manure, road salt, legume vs. nitrogen fertilizer, color light filter, antifreeze, etc.) to assess population growth trends, determine r, and K.

Aquarium stock of our Salvinia spp. floating fern. It went into shock over the weekend and we are trying to revive them and await a more fresh sample.

Mike (left) and Ian (right) are setting up their treatments using our stock plants. They are careful to not break delicate fronds.

Lee (left), Britney (middle), and Paul are en queue awaiting a selection of floating fern.

From left to right: Steph, Allison, Josh, and Meagan are painstakingly selecting the most-green individuals. FUN!

Look at all the activity in my office. Students busy at work cutting 2L soda bottles and creating ecosystems. 

Dana is placing her soil funnel into the bottle once the wick was measured.


Jeff and Erin are filling their bottles with water in the greenhouse.

View from the greenhouse window looking in at all the bustling activity!!!


Even with her broken wrist (thanks to her snowboard), Kate contributes to the construction of her group's experiment...what a trooper.

Seeds of Wisconsin fast plants (Brassica rapa) are being sewn in the soil-vermiculite mixture.

Here is one experimental design.

Ryan is pretty psyched about his experiment.

One ecosystem ready to head to the greenhouse for germination! Can't wait to see that turnip mustard!!!


Expt question: does legume N fixation aid in growth moreso than N-fertilizer?

Stay tuned for ...


 antifreeze treatment!

 Well, looks like antifreeze isn't enhancing plant growth!

Kevin and Steph apply manure (left)...

...Dana and Kevin apply manure (right)...LOVELY!


Look at that bean! Talk about overshading!! Interestingly enough this treatment w/ no nutrient-enriched soil experienced the fastest germination rates. The legume is certainly helping here. I wonder if their growth will now be stunted w/ self-thinning? We are waiting to see the effects of ammonium nitrate as compared to the legume N-fixation.



How about pesticides? Not much has changed in terms of growth trends when you compare the treated versus controls for this group. Bummer!

How about color filtration?...we shall see. Growth looks pretty good right now for Salvinia.

Here is the elaborate handi-work of Charles Cross et al. to construct a red cellophane cover over their Wisconsin fast plants.

Seedlings seem to be growing just fine. It will be interesting to compare their growth to that of the controls!

Check out the new Salvinia recruits...let's see what happens as we approach K...STAY TUNED!!!!!!!!!!

ATTENTION...immigrant rogue herbivores have been spotted!!!