Monday, July 22, 2013

Busy Scientists

Grizelle Gonzalez
photo credit: U.S. Forest Service
After numerous sessions of phone/email tag I finally set up an interview with Forest Services Dr. Grizelle Gonzalez who is the Acting Project Leader for the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. I'm enthralled to interview Dr. Gonzalez, and even more intrigued to hear what she has to say about her involvement with Colorado Art Ranch and the El Toro Wilderness Residency that was put on by CAR in March.  Her interests include soils, decay, nutrient cycling, and soil organisms. Dr. Gonzalez recently conducted canopy trimming experiment in El Yunhque National Forest. The experiment was designed to separated the two main effects of hurricanes-canopy removal and deposition of litter to the forest floor and to investigate the serrate abiotic and biotic consequences of hurricane type damage and monitor recovery processes.  After the study they found that by opening the canopy  soil moisture, and light levels increases by litter moisture decreased.  They found that the plots with the most  canopy disturbance and debris acquired, had the lowest invertebrate diversity and biomass. Gonzalez and long term ecologists found that hurricane disturbances have a long lasting effect on litter communities and may, delay detrital processing, depending on the intensity of canopy damage and rate of regrowth.

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