The Forest in Summer: Researchers back in BRF

As you make your way throughout the Forest you might notice flagging on the trees near the Upper Reservoir, or the nest boxes as you make your way up to the Stone House, or maybe your favorite trail is closed that day for shotgun sampling. With many projects put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, researchers have been eager to get back to the field in 2021. When Black Rock Forest was established as a research forest in 1929 by Ernest Stillman, he intended that the Forest remains “constantly useful and constantly flourishing”. Researchers set out for their summer field seasons to collect and analyze data in a variety of methods. Some of the research includes putting GPS transmitters on turtles, surveying nest boxes for songbirds, and determining the impacts of invasive species on our hemlock trees. Researchers gathered virtually at our 12th biennial Hudson Highlands Research Symposium on June 28th to share their work with fellow scientists. This event allows researchers from various disciplines to explore recent and ongoing work, right here in the Hudson Highlands and surrounding areas. Several of these projects stemming from work done right here in Black Rock Forest. A short list of BRF research projects that were featured in the symposium can be seen below. To learn more about ongoing research here in the Forest, or to explore more about BRF’s research objectives please check out the research page on our website. 
Dmitriy Aronov- Flexible use of memory by food-caching birds.
  • Suzanne Macey- High-resolution tracking of turtles at Black Rock Forest: Development of new tools for wildlife conservation.
  • William Schuster- Long-term trends in forest carbon storage.
  • Andrew Reinmann and Emilia Peleganotitmus - Three years into the Black Rock Forest environmental gradient study: soil moisture as a mediator of tree response to climate stress.
  • Robert Fahey- Using experimental defoliation to study tree and forest response to repeat defoliation and disturbance interactions.
  • Mukund Rao- Seasonal changes in canopy vegetation at Black Rock Forest after oak loss derived from drone based remote sensing.
  • Isobel Mifsud- Nitrogen fixation in the larvae of the xylophagous beetle Ceruchus piceus (Weber). 
  • Sarah Bruner- The portfolio effect in forests: linking tree diversity to community function.
Photo: Andrew Reinmann PhD, Using the Li-Cor equipment on the lift near the BRF Science Center. Researchers are quantifying leaf-level production of volatile organic compounds and photosynthesis simultaneously. This work is being done across an urban-to-rural gradient from NYC to BRF to better understand how trees and forests influence atmospheric chemistry.