It's Getting Hot in Here

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This species of Eulophia is a saprophitic orchid--a plant that does not perform photosynthesis.  Instead it relies completely on associated fungi for food.

By Hillary Burgess and Jennifer Possley

Today was our first day of field work.  We worked with Dr. Hong Liu and two graduate students from Beijing Forestry University to set up a pilot climate chamber in Yachang Preserve.  The day began with a trip to Leye to find PVC pipe.  We wondered if it would be available in such a small and remote city, but were happy to discover an abundance of PVC retailers.  We waited in the car while our driver negotiated a “local” price.  We assembled a miniature greenhouse in an area of high orchid diversity known as the orchid garden.  We are testing the greenhouse to see if we can replicate climate change conditions.  Even a temperature increase of <1.0 degrees can have a great impact on plant reproduction, fungal symbionts, soil moisture, and countless other factors.  When we finished constructing the chamber, we installed one temperature logging unit inside and one outside.  Tomorrow and for the next several days we will download the data to examine the difference.  If we are successful, Hong will use this method to study orchid response to climate change. 

Group Lunch

Several research teams stop at the at a ranger station for lunch.  There are groups from several institutions studying in Yachang right now. 

Climate Chamber

The team poses while assembling the climate chamber.