In the lab we have two sets of field-sites: one that we have already developed at Right-Hand Fork in Utah (USA), and the other that we are developing at Silwood Park (UK). Below we give details about Right-Hand Fork; details about Silwood Park will be posted here once we’ve finished collecting the data.

Right-Hand Fork

Our fieldsites are located approximately 40 minutes drive from campus on the Right-Hand Fork of the Logan River. They span roughly 1000 feet of elevational change, and include rangeland, sagebrush-steppe, and sub-alpine habitats. This variety makes them ideal for studying all sorts of ecological assembly processes, even if the terrain is sometimes a little tough on the knees…

Site design

Our sites are arranged in a fractal design, and in 2017 we established the core 27 1m x 1m plant survey plots (with soil temperature sensors) in 2017. In 2018 we extended the fractal ‘in’ to cover 81 sites, and took soil samples for texture analysis and bacterial and fungal sequencing. In 2019, we extended the sites ‘out’, surveying additional sites to cover gradients in grazing and (starting next year) prescribed burns that will be carried out by the Forest Service. We also began pilot work looking at the bee and wasp communities at some of the sites. To complement these data, we are also collecting plant functional trait and phylogenetic data.

Future work

As we continue to use our sites to understand the controls on ecological community assembly in the area, we are also building in more kinds of data. We would love to measure plant phenology at the sites, or to expand our taxonomic coverage to include other taxa (beetles? birds?) but right now we’re a little limited by person-power. Perhaps you would like to help?…