PSU Deer Study

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From the Northern Veg Crew:

Week four is in the books and we are getting closer and closer to the halfway mark for the field season! The weather is still incredibly mild in the north—aside from occasional rain, it is almost always comfortable and the temperature rarely goes above 75°F. That doesn’t stop us from breaking a sweat, though! 

With the end of the fawn survival study, there aren’t any cute fawn photos. But we’re here to help! Kaj and I left the deer fence to bring the truck around.  Zach followed our tracks shortly after and nearly stepped on this fawn! 

Kaj and I heard a loud, terrified scream—and apparently the fawn made some noise, too. It ran over to our fence and laid back down. We cautiously took some photos and left it alone to await the return of mother. 

The next day (as if this work can’t get any more unpredictable), we headed back to the same area and found a huge cherry (Prunus serotina) lying across the road! It was an impressive tree! 

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Just kidding…Zach actually walked about twenty feet up the road and squatted for this photo. Still, this tree prevented us from accessing our plot and we had to take another scenic drive around the mountain! In doing so, we found the Peak-a-Boo vista overlooking Lyman Run State Park! 

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We also found some creepy fungus that seems to be growing on almost everything in this area! We saw it on firmoss (Huperzia sp.), beech leaves (Fagus grandifolia), and this maple seedling (Acer rubrum)! We have no idea what this is.  If there are any mycologists reading this, let us know! 

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I’ll leave you now with some photos of plants, spooky spider, and other critters! 

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea Polyphemus)
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Orchard orb-weaver (Leucauge venusta)
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American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) that Zach and Rosa named “Beef.”
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Slime mold (Ceratiomyxa sp.)
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Forget-me-not (Myosotis sp.) 
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-Jacob
North Veg Crew Leader


 

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From the Southern Veg Crew:

After three weeks of intense vegging, the team had a relaxed week. With a lighter work load, we had a chance to think about the ecosystems that we are surveying and how variables (deer browse, soil acidity, location, etc.) influence the vegetation that is there. 

This gives us a chance to look at plants that we see less often and get more familiar with them. This also means we have time to stop and experience things that we would not have had time to appreciate before. For instance, our encounter with a northern slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) and a wood frog. 

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The plot was rather beautiful too. 

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On Wednesday nights, the southern crew started a tradition of going out for dinner. This is something we look forward to every week.  Can you say team bonding!  After our data choirs are complete, we head out to our favorite establishment for some laughs and talk about our days in the field.

Some of the plants that we saw this week include flowering Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) and Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora).

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We completed our first optional plot on Thursday which was something we were not able to do in previous weeks. Being ahead of schedule gave us the opportunity to hone our botany skills and enjoy our work.  

-Jonathan
Southern Veg Crew


 

 

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