We established a network of 27 in Cache Valley in 2017, close to Utah State University. The sites are arranged in a ‘fractal’ pattern, which (as well as looking pretty) allows us to more efficiently sample variation in community structure across space and environmental gradients. Each site has a micro-climate sensor that we used to detect when snow falls and melts and ambient temperature. In subsequent years, we have now expanded the network to include over 100 sites!
The best thing about fieldwork is the nice views, but a very close second is the data you get from it! In next year’s field season, we have funding to extend the sampling of our sites to:
- Expand our functional trait and phylogenetic dataset of the species in the system. More traits, and better-resolved phylogenies, are always useful!
- Place micro-phenology cameras to record when flowers bloom across the sites
- Establish more sites! We’d like to expand at finer and broader spatial scales, following the fractal pattern of the existing sites