Andrews LTER

The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (AND) LTER is located in the Cascade Range of Oregon, and consists of 6,400 ha of conifer forest, meadows, and stream ecosystems. This mountain landscape experiences episodic disturbances, including fires, floods, and landslides. The question central to Andrews Forest LTER research is:

How do climate, natural disturbance, and land use, as influenced by forest governance, interact with biodiversity, hydrology, and carbon and nutrient dynamics?

Andrews LTER research illuminates the complexity of native, mountain ecosystems such as: forest-stream interactions; roles of dead wood; and effects of forest harvest and disturbance on hydrology, vegetation, and biogeochemistry over multiple time scales. Andrews LTER research has also been central to informing regional and national forest policy. Future research will address ongoing change in streams, forests, climate, and governance.

Teachers will have the opportunity to contribute to research projects already underway and to come up with projects of their own design.

Potential project mentors at the Andrews LTER site include:

  • Dr. Ivan Arismendi, Oregon State University (freshwater ecology)
  • Dr. Joseph LaManna, Marquette University (integration of population, community, and disease ecology in forest ecosystems)
participants examine the forest floor surrounding a fallen log

Credit: Lina DiGregorio / AND LTER

Sarah of the Pacific Tree Climbers.

Credit: E Zambello/LTER-NCO CC BY 4.0

smiling group photo of adults in waders and stream sampling gear

Arctic LTER

Arctic (ARC) LTER uses long term monitoring and manipulations of temperature, nutrient inputs, and community structure to understand how tundra terrestrial, stream, and lake ecosystems respond to climate change and climate-induced disturbances such as wildfire and permafrost thawing. Recent research explores biogeochemical and community openness and connectivity as ways to describe and predict how climate related changes propagate across the landscape.

The Arctic LTER research site is in the foothills region of the North Slope of Alaska, which was opened to research with the construction of the Alaska oil pipeline and Haul Road (later named the Dalton Highway) in 1974- 1976. The site includes the entire Toolik Lake watershed and the adjacent watershed of the upper Kuparuk River. This area is typical of the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, with continuous permafrost, no trees, a complete snow cover for 7 to 9 months, winter ice cover on lakes, streams, and ocean, and cessation of river flow during the winter. Tussock tundra is the dominant vegetation type but there are extensive areas of drier heath tundra on ridge tops and other well-drained sites as well as areas of river-bottom willow communities. 

Teachers will have the opportunity to contribute to research projects already underway and to come up with projects of their own design.

Potential project mentors at the Arctic LTER site include:

Arctic fertilization plots
shallow gravelly streambed with helicopter and tussocky hills in the background

Credit: Arial Shogren

Two techniciens extrude a long soil core

Credit: Michelle Mack (CC BY 4.0)

Santa Barbara Coastal LTER

Santa Barbara Coastal (SBC) LTER focuses on giant kelp forests fringing the coast of the Santa Barbara Channel in semiarid southern California. Kelp forests are prominent on shallow reefs at the coastal margin in temperate regions of the world and are highly valued for their ecosystem goods and services. Research at SBC LTER is dedicated to understanding how oceanic and terrestrial processes alter material flows to influence the ecology of these iconic coastal systems.

In its first 19 years, SBC LTER has demonstrated the surprising resilience of giant kelp forests in the face of natural and human disturbance and the key role of dispersal and connectivity in driving that resilience. Through the combination of sustained measurements, long term experiments, satellite imagery, and modeling, SBC LTER is developing a mechanistic understanding of ecosystem structure and function and is poised to predict the impacts of climate change and human activities on kelp forest ecosystems.

Teachers will have the opportunity to contribute to research projects already underway and to come up with projects of their own design.

Potential project mentors at the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site include:

 

Credit: Brandon Doheny