Today the entire schedule took us about 30 minutes north of campus to the Arlington Agriculture Research center. After an overwhelming day in the labs, it was a chance to walk on a little more familiar territory! 

It was a grey day and the recent rains showed their presence in the fields. The alleys were a little too wet to have been mowed recently and so muddy that all 3 vans were stuck for a time! The morning was an introduction to the sustainability research on the replicated plots. The host scientists were Gregg Sanford and Gary Oates, who have both been with the project since it was first funded in 2008. Although there was a lot of repeat information from my shadowing the previous week at KBS, it was good to hear from other members of the large team. Another difference was the fertility of the soil in Wisconsin compared to Michigan.

In the afternoon, we were introduced to some of the impacts of changing agricultural practices. One that was focused on was biodiversity of the bugs and insects in different ecosystems. We worked in small groups to select a site that high diversity in plants and one that was low. We then swept through with bug nets  and counted the number of individuals, species, and the types (herbivores, predators, pollinators) that were collected. 
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Gregg Sanford welcoming the group to GLBRC plots at Arlington
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Mike Casler leads a tour of the plots where he is breeding variations of switchgrass
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Mike Cruse explaining how he measures LAI
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Gary Oates sharing data from greenhouse gas emission samples collected at Arlington
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Every row is a different variation of switchgrass
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The diverse collection from my sweep net.
 


10/01/2013 9:25pm

We then swept through with bug nets and counted the number of individuals, species, and the types (herbivores, predators, pollinators) that were collected.


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