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Litter Decomposition Experiments
Involving Young Technicians
Rick Biche and Team 2 (2012-2014)
A. Crosby Kennett Middle School
Context
Nutrient and
carbon cycles
Students will…
• develop a model to describe the
cycling of matter and the flow of
energy among the living and
non-living parts of an ecosystem
C. VanDyne
Mass Loss of Litter in the MELNHE
Stands
• Nutrient Addition (N, P, N+P)
• Stand Age
– Litter mix
– Incubation stand
• Litter Arthropods (via mesh size)
Shoestring2014 5-decomp
Young Stand Mix
American Beech 1.0±.02g
White Birch 0.75±.02g
Pin Cherry 0.5±.02g
Red Maple 0.5±.02g
Mature Stand Mix
American Beech 1.25±.02g
Sugar Maple 1±.02g
Yellow Birch 1±.02g
Litter mixes based on data collected in 2009 and 2005 (C7) by Matt Vadabancouer,
Marty Acker, Craig See, Corrie Blodgett, and the 2010 Field Crew
Building Litter Bags
Shoestring2014 5-decomp
Assignment
• Simplified data set
• Question
– What was the effect of mesh size on the loss of
mass from litter?
– Did fertilization alter decomposition?
– How decomposition different between young and
old stands?
• Use the data to support an answer to the
question.
R. Steward
Grade 8
R. Steward
Grade 8
M. Jones
Grade 7
M. Jones
Grade 7
Student hypotheses
• Young stand litter has more nutrients
• There are dead bugs in the large mesh bags
• Mature stands have a better environment for
decomposition
• Young stands have less good soil
• The fertilizer is taken by the plants before it
gets to the litter
P > Con
p=0.03
Shoestring2014 5-decomp
P > Con
p=0.03
P > Con
p=0.04
Multiple R-squared: 0.8061,
Adjusted R-squared: 0.6364
p = 0.022
Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
PlotAvgPO4 1 0.0019015 0.00190153 6.8244 0.031017 *
Treatment 3 0.0002064 0.00006881 0.2470 0.861309
Stand 3 0.0071567 0.00238557 8.5616 0.007044 **
Residuals 8 0.0022291 0.00027864
Resin strip data from Fisk, M. C., Ratliff, T. J.,
Goswami, S., & Yanai, R. D. (2014). Synergistic soil
response to nitrogen plus phosphorus fertilization
in hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry, 118(1-3),
195-204.
• Shoestring crews 2012-2013 – Field help and
inspiration
• Geoff Wilson and Jackie Wilson – Support and
opportunity
• Craig See, Adam Wild, Matt Vadabancoer - Reviews
• Ruth Yanai, Melany Fisk, Christy Goodale – support
and guidance
• Sean Littlefield – field assistance
• Kevin Richard - trust
• Team 2 (155 student technicians)
Acknowledgements

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Shoestring2014 5-decomp

  • 1. Litter Decomposition Experiments Involving Young Technicians Rick Biche and Team 2 (2012-2014) A. Crosby Kennett Middle School
  • 2. Context Nutrient and carbon cycles Students will… • develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and the flow of energy among the living and non-living parts of an ecosystem C. VanDyne
  • 3. Mass Loss of Litter in the MELNHE Stands • Nutrient Addition (N, P, N+P) • Stand Age – Litter mix – Incubation stand • Litter Arthropods (via mesh size)
  • 5. Young Stand Mix American Beech 1.0±.02g White Birch 0.75±.02g Pin Cherry 0.5±.02g Red Maple 0.5±.02g Mature Stand Mix American Beech 1.25±.02g Sugar Maple 1±.02g Yellow Birch 1±.02g Litter mixes based on data collected in 2009 and 2005 (C7) by Matt Vadabancouer, Marty Acker, Craig See, Corrie Blodgett, and the 2010 Field Crew
  • 8. Assignment • Simplified data set • Question – What was the effect of mesh size on the loss of mass from litter? – Did fertilization alter decomposition? – How decomposition different between young and old stands? • Use the data to support an answer to the question.
  • 13. Student hypotheses • Young stand litter has more nutrients • There are dead bugs in the large mesh bags • Mature stands have a better environment for decomposition • Young stands have less good soil • The fertilizer is taken by the plants before it gets to the litter
  • 16. P > Con p=0.03 P > Con p=0.04
  • 17. Multiple R-squared: 0.8061, Adjusted R-squared: 0.6364 p = 0.022 Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F) PlotAvgPO4 1 0.0019015 0.00190153 6.8244 0.031017 * Treatment 3 0.0002064 0.00006881 0.2470 0.861309 Stand 3 0.0071567 0.00238557 8.5616 0.007044 ** Residuals 8 0.0022291 0.00027864 Resin strip data from Fisk, M. C., Ratliff, T. J., Goswami, S., & Yanai, R. D. (2014). Synergistic soil response to nitrogen plus phosphorus fertilization in hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry, 118(1-3), 195-204.
  • 18. • Shoestring crews 2012-2013 – Field help and inspiration • Geoff Wilson and Jackie Wilson – Support and opportunity • Craig See, Adam Wild, Matt Vadabancoer - Reviews • Ruth Yanai, Melany Fisk, Christy Goodale – support and guidance • Sean Littlefield – field assistance • Kevin Richard - trust • Team 2 (155 student technicians) Acknowledgements

Editor's Notes

  1. Sorting and Combining Litter Litter from the same age stands and nutrient treatment plot was combined and mixed.
  2. Collection – 3 reps chosen randomly, returned to lab, litter is removed, dried and weighed.