Team Beech enjoying their PB&Js in the Catskills
(left to right: 4 Colgate University undergraduates: Meghan Lawler, Andy Rumpf, Emily Weyburne, Tom Cuppernull, and Adam Boe- Colby College)
This summer we spent 6 weeks sampling "smammals" in 4 different northeastern regions experiencing various stages of beech bark disease. Our first site was in the Catskills at Frost Valley. We began to notice a shift from the dominant deer mouse of last summer to that of the woodland jumping mouse at the very first site. We later continued on to Huntington Forest in the Adirondacks, Miner Institute affiliated property in Altona, NY, and ended our sampling in Coolidge State Forest of the Green Mountains in mid-July.
Here is Meg scruffing an Eastern chipmunk.
We're sampling saliva from a Peromyscus spp. to determine if it is a deer mouse or white footed mouse in the lab.
This is a good example of a tree we'd rank a 4 on the beech bark disease scale (1-5)...it's not a standing dead tree yet, so we cannot rank it a 5.
Andy is measuring the diameter at breast height (dbh) of a beech tree in the stand while Adam helps to hang bucket seed traps to catch the beech nut seed rain in the late summer-fall.
Emily is getting our pitfall trap ready for Meghan to recess into the ground for invertebrate sampling.
Team beech also set pitfall traps to sample invertebrate and bycatch vertebrates that might be affected by beech bark disease. This is a nice example of a vial of insects that were identified to family and genus when possible.
Tom and Meg are hard at work at the scopes attempting identification of our bug samples.
"Smammals" weren't the only species we observed signs of in the forests. Team beech saw black bear claw marks on beech trees, as well as scat and evidence of some damaged traps. Andy and Emily spotted a pine marten in our Miner Institute site in Altona, NY. Vermont had a fair share of moose pellets as well to keep us on our toes!
STAY tuned as we work on our findings...