December 15, 2011

CTFS-SIGEO Celebrates 20 Years of Service from Suzanne Lao

Suzanne Lao, CTFS-SIGEO data manager, began her career at the Smithsonian in Panama as a statistician for the Galeta Oil Spill Project in Naos, and then quickly shifted to CTFS, where she has stayed for almost two decades. Managing the data from the BCI 50 hectare plot has been Suzanne's main responsibility during her many years with CTFS. She recently mentioned that the high quality of the BCI data has also benefited from the great working relationship that she has with colleagues Rolando Pérez and Salomón Aguilar. Suzanne has taken experiences learned from BCI data management and used them to help other sites manage their data. Suzanne has also played a key role in training workshops for the network. Most recently, she has worked to migrate plot data into a modern web-accessible database system, helping transform the way CTFS partners manage and use their data.

Suzanne recently said that the best part of working for CTFS-SIGEO has been getting to know collaborators from different sites, first via email, and then through workshops. She calls the CTFS-SIGEO network a "family," despite differences in language, culture, and scientific approaches. Suzanne is proud of all she has achieved during her years with STRI, and is grateful for her colleagues, particularly Rick Condit, who supports her in learning new database and analytical tools. She looks forward to meeting new people and continuing to advance her knowledge as STRI and CTFS-SIGEO grow and change. The entire CTFS-SIGEO community thanks Suzanne for her commitment, expertise, and dedication to the global network.

December 14, 2011

California Temperate Forest Plot Joins CTFS-SIGEO Network

The University of California Santa Cruz Forest Ecology Research Plot (UCSC-FERP), located in the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve, will expand from its original size of 6 ha to 16 ha as it joins the CTFS-SIGEO network. This Mediterranean climate, mixed evergreen coastal forest plot was originally established in 2007 by PI Gregory Gilbert and colleagues, and contains 8,180 tagged stems from 31 species and 18 families. The four dominant species are Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), Shreve's Oak (Quercus parvula var. shrevei) and Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus); Fagaceae and Pinaceae together comprise three-fourths of all stems. Additional studies at the site investigate soil nutrients, texture, and moisture, as well as understory light conditions. There is also ongoing monitoring of phenology, micrometeorology, small terrestrial mammals, bats, fungi, and arthropods.

Plot expansion will bring several new aspects to the site, such as the ability to follow population dynamics, an expansion into different soil types, and the inclusion of an area that has undergone significant canopy mortality in the last two decades for unknown reasons. The expanded plot will also include a significant area of redwood-dominated forest. Over 100 students have already been involved in plot studies through undergraduate courses, senior theses, and internships, and this plot expansion promises expanded research and educational opportunities.

Dr. Gregory Gilbert in the UCSC forest dynamics plot