May 10, 2021
Two National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellows will Join the Holden Research Department
The NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology program has funded two postdoctoral fellows who will conduct research at Holden Arboretum.Read more
May 7, 2021
Conifer trait study using multiple arboreta as common gardens
We are excited to announce a new project using the conifer collection at the Holden Arboretum led by postdoctoral researcher Dr. Randy Long. He is using arboreta and botanic gardens across the United States to examine trait variation and plasticity in conifer species and how they are influenced by native range distributions.Read more
April 23, 2021
Katie Stuble Co-Author’s Paper in Ecosphere
Holden Scientist and Research Department Chair, Katie Stuble, is a co-author on a paper titled “Abundance of spring-active arthropods declines with warming.” This paper is in the April issue of Ecosphere and can be read here.
April 15, 2021
Beech Leaf Disease Workshop Includes Research from Holden
A recent workshop on Beech Leaf Disease included a talk by Holden’s Vice President for Science and Conservation, David Burke. The workshop was organized by the USDA Forest Service and reached over 500 people, including land managers and researchers. David’s talk was titled “Optimizing Rapid Detection Methods for the Nematode Litylenchus crenatae, the Associative Agent of Beech Leaf Disease.”
April 11, 2021
Na Wei Co-Author’s paper in Oecologia
Holden Scientist Na Wei is a co-author on a paper titled “Diversity and composition of pollen loads carried by pollinators are primarily driven by insect traits, not floral community characteristics.” The paper is in the April issue of Oecologia and can be read here.
April 9, 2021
Research from the Burke Lab Published in Special Issue of Plants People Planet
David Burke, Sarah Kyker, Adam Hoke, Charlotte Hewins, and former summer intern, Catherine Chervanek have published research on mycorrhizal fungi that colonize root mats in the forest of Pierson Creek. Research on these root mats, which are dense tangles of mature tree roots just underneath the litter layer in the forest, began during Catherine’s summer internship. The research is published in a special issue of Plants People Planet on “Mycorrhizas for a changing world: Sustainability, conservation, and society” and can be read here.
April 1, 2021
Holden Awarded a Landscape Scale Restoration Grant
David Burke (Vice President for Science and Conservation) and Katie Stuble (Research Department Chair) were partners with Holden’s Conservation Department on a grant funded through the Landscape Scale Restoration Program. The project, titled “Making a Young Landscape Old: Landscape-scale forest restoration to promote biodiversity and resilience to environmental change,” will be conducted in the natural areas of Stebbins Gulch.
April 1, 2021
Alexa Wagner Receives Student Restoration Research Grant
Holden graduate student, Alexa Wagner, has received a Student Restoration Research Grant from the Society of Ecological Restoration, Midwest Great Lakes Chapter. The grant will go towards funding Alexa’s research in restoration practices at The Working Woods.
March 19, 2021
Holden Scientists and Volunteers Gear Up for Spring in the Forest
I had a moment of panic last week. It was the crocuses that did me in, if you can believe it! Well, the crocuses and climate change. I’m a scientist, and an experiment was on the line.
This year will mark four years of spring phenology monitoring in Bole Woods. Phenology is the study of the timing of natural events, and we’ve been monitoring the timing of the spring greening of Holden’s forests. This sort of monitoring helps us understand how species may (or may not) be able to track the changing climate, and anticipate potential changes in our natural world.
March 15, 2021
Alexa Wagner Selected as a Botany in Action Fellow at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Alexa Wagner (graduate student at Holden) has been selected as a Botany in Action Fellow at The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This program provides support for emerging scientists aiming to promote plants, biodiversity and sustainable landscapes through research, scientific outreach and education.
March 12, 2021
Holden Scientists were Wildly Curious about Wild Leek
The old growth remnant forests in Stebbins Gulch are locations at Holden Arboretum that David Burke and his lab have been studying for years. Burke first began hiking to the old growth portions of Stebbins Gulch back in 2006. One thing that he and Charlotte Hewins noticed every spring was the immense cover of wild leek (Allium tricoccum) on the forest floor. “Come April when the leeks are fully emerged, there is nowhere to step that isn’t completely covered in them,” Hewins once told me. In April of 2008, I saw it for myself and it took my breath away. Forest floors were supposed to be brown and covered in decaying leaves. But, the forest floor of Stebbins Gulch that April (and every April after) was green due to numerous wild leek leaves unfurling toward the sun!Read more
March 1, 2021
Caleb Lumsden Receives Fellowship from the Garden Club of America
A former summer intern, Caleb Lumsden, has received the Fellowship in Conservation Horticulture from the Garden Club of America in collaboration with the Botanic Gardens Conservation International – U.S. The fellowship will bring Caleb back to Holden to conduct research on the hemlock woolly adelgid during the summer of 2021.
February 19, 2021
Detecting Changes in the Natural World
The Holden Arboretum is a stunning place to explore with its beautiful gardens and forests. I love to hike the trails with my family and watch the gardens transform over the seasons. But, as a scientist who studies the impacts of climate change, the Arboretum is also a treasure-trove of information. Natural areas like the ones protected by the Arboretum are increasingly rare and hugely important not only as sanctuaries for wildlife, but also as spaces in which to study it. And, given the stresses currently placed on the Earth, this role is perhaps more important today than ever.Read more
February 12, 2021
A Lady’s Slipper Update on the Eve of Orchids Forever
A lot of science and conservation is learning by doing, so I would like to provide an update on our lady’s slipper orchid conservation project. This is our first time growing orchids from seed. On December 11, 2020, Field Station Specialist Jing Wang and I sowed seeds of Cypripedium reginae, the showy lady’s slipper, collected in a Holden natural area. Details of the first steps can be seen in a previous blog entry here. It has now been nine weeks since we sowed the seeds, and we have good news to report. We have germination!Read more
February 5, 2021
Biotic Homogenization – Changes in biodiversity with urbanization in vacant lots
By Megan Herrmann, Graduate Student, Cleveland State University
The current biodiversity crisis seen in headlines has many overarching implications for ecosystems worldwide. Humans frequently aid in the dispersal of non-native species through both accidental and intentional introductions. Urban areas, as hotspots of human activity and disturbance, are thought to contribute to the spread of non-native species and create similar environmental pressures worldwide. Altogether, urbanization is thought to contribute to the increasing similarity of biotic communities, a process known as biotic homogenization.Read more
January 26, 2021
Stuble Lab Receives Invasive Plants Research Grant
Holden Scientist, Katie Stuble, and graduate student, Alexa Wagner, have received funding from the Ohio Invasive Plants Council. Their project, titled “Determining dynamics responsible for plant community responses to overstory thinning and invasive species management,” was awarded funding for $1,500. This support will help efforts to quantify the impacts management in Working Woods has on the survival and growth of young invasive species, as well as, the reproductive success of adult shrub species. This information will hopefully help predict restoration outcomes and inform management aiming to reestablish native plant communities.Read more
January 22, 2021
The Life Beneath the Snow
The month of January, with its freezing temperatures and leaf-less trees, is a time when it’s easy to think of nature as dormant. While this might be true for deciduous trees and hibernating animals, this is far from true for soil organisms, such as fungi. These decomposers are very active during the winter decomposing the leaf litter that fell just months prior! Snow cover is beneficial for this decomposition because it insulates the ground and keeps the soil from freezing. Snow cover does more than just keep the soil from freezing, it keeps soil temperatures stable. The soil ecology lab at HF&G has been monitoring soil temperatures in the forests of Stebbins Gulch since 2006. Soil temperature loggers record soil temperature every 8 minutes throughout the year. Year after year, soils in the winter are stable and typically just above freezing. Once the spring arrives and the snow cover is no longer constant, soil temperatures become much more variable. The now exposed soils can more easily freeze with cold night-time air temperatures and then thaw with the warmer air temperatures of the day.Read more
January 15, 2021
Meeting the Grand Botanic Garden Challenge at Holden Forests & Gardens
When we consider the major challenges facing humanity today, it is exciting to think that plants can provide a myriad of sustainable solutions. Problems with water quality, our dependence on fossil fuels, food insecurity, and even emerging human diseases can all be addressed, if only we can find the right plant for the job. Plants have amazing capabilities to alter ecosystem function and soothe our ailments, and over evolutionary time they have adapted and acclimated to inhabit nearly every environment on earth, with their ability to capture energy from sunlight forming the basis of life as we know it.Read more
January 8, 2021
How do deer and forest edges shape Northeast Ohio forests?
One of Northeast Ohio’s most charismatic consumer of plants within our forests is the white-tailed deer. Perhaps you’ve even noticed their impacts in your own backyard garden. As yards and people take up more space, there are fewer large tracts of intact forests to support predatory animals (e.g., bear or bobcat) relying on those habitats. This lack of predators combines with an abundant supply of food for deer (possibly the hostas planted in your backyard), to drive high numbers of white-tailed deer in most Ohio forests (and beyond).Read more
December 11, 2020
Sowing Orchid Seeds In Vitro
Orchids are among the most ornamental and diverse groups of plants in the world. We often think of them as epiphytes, growing on trees in the tropics. Many would be surprised to know that there are orchids native to Ohio and that they do not grow in trees. Our native orchids grow in the ground and are called terrestrial orchids. Ohio has approximately 47 native orchid species, and of them, the lady’s slippers may be the showiest.
Ohio has 5 native species of lady’s slippers (genus Cypripedium) and one naturally occurring hybrid. Holden has three of these species growing in our natural areas. Lady’s slippers are characterized by a modified sepal, or labellum, that is shaped, you guessed it, like a lady’s slipper. This labellum serves to attract pollinators, mainly bees, to the orchid. Once a lady’s slipper is pollinated, a fruit called a capsule forms and maturity splits open to disperse thousands of tiny, dust-like seeds.
December 4, 2020
The Biodiversity Belowground: Celebrating World Soil Day
When we think of all the organisms on Earth, it’s soil that holds a substantial portion of this biodiversity. In just one teaspoon of clean, uncontaminated soil there can be up to 1 billion bacterial cells and close to 1 million different microbial species. Soils can harbor tens of thousands of species of fungi that can help plants acquire essential nutrients, decompose organic matter, and fight pathogens belowground. Antibiotics, such as streptomycins and tetracyclines, are produced by soil bacteria and fungi. Soil biota can be essential for bioremediation, a process where pollutants are degraded and ecosystems are cleaned. Soil bacteria and fungi, along with a number of invertebrates, decompose organic matter, such as rotting logs and fallen leaves; this decomposition may be key for sequestering carbon belowground and helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.Read more
November 20, 2020
Bridging the Diversity Gap in Plant Science Internships
On November 18th Dr. Juliana Medeiros was invited to make a presentation about the Holden Research Internship Program for The Morton Arboretum virtual workshop: Bridging the Diversity Gap in Plant Science Internships. This workshop represents the first steps in building a network of science-based institutions that provide research internships, with the goal of promoting and enhancing diversity in the STEM workforce.Read more
November 13, 2020
Our Workhorse Forests and Acid Rain
Our forests are not only beautiful, but also environmental powerhouses, pumping out oxygen, filtering runoff, and storing carbon that would otherwise collect in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. In fact, forests are our most promising tool to naturally mitigate climate change. But, not all forests are created equal and they vary in their ability to take up and store carbon.
Last week, Holden scientist David Burke introduced you to an amazing and long-running experiment manipulating acid rain deposition within Holden’s forests. This experiment, running for 11 years now, deacidifies the soil in large forested plots at Holden to explore how forests likely functioned before the impacts of acid rain. David and his team have explored everything from tree growth and nutrients, to soil microbes in response to these experimental treatments. But, what might these sorts of chronic changes in our forests mean for their ability to store carbon, and ultimately mitigate climate change?
November 6, 2020
Ecological Paths Through a Yellow Wood
It’s that time of year when the woods turn yellow – or orange and red depending on where you live – and shine with the vibrance of fall color. This perennial autumn display represents the process of nutrient recycling and recovery by trees before they lose their leaves for the season. A process that results in the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorous, major plant nutrients that can be costly to obtain from soil, from dying leaves. This process of recycling is what reveals the yellow, orange and red pigments normally masked by the green plant pigment chlorophyll. But not all nutrients within a leaf can be recycled and many are lost when they drop from the tree onto the forest floor. This presents an opportunity for other organisms to use those nutrients lost by the trees (a process called decomposition which we’ll explore next week) and also an opportunity for plant scientists to explore how human change to our environment affects and alters tree biology. And that is the subject of this week’s post.Read more
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