Presenter's Name(s)

Gene Otello DesideraggioFollow

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Andrea Lini

Secondary Mentor NetID

awdamato

Secondary Mentor Name

Tony D'Amato

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Forestry

Second Program (optional)

Geology

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Secondary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Tertiary Research Category

Vermont Studies

Presentation Title

Understanding the Mutually Dynamic Relationship Between Tree Species Present and the Underlying Parent Material

Time

1:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Biological Sciences

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to identify trends in the correlation between tree species present in a forest and the underlying lithology across Vermont. I collected data at 24 FIA (Forest Inventory Analysis) plots across Vermont over Summer and Fall 2018. Several forest inventory metrics were recorded at each plot including trees present, vegetation vigor, and forest type. In addition to the forest data I used USGS maps to identify the bedrock underlying each plot, and measured soil pH of both the O horizon and B horizons. I chose these two soil horizons for my tests because pH of the O horizon is most influenced by the trees/vegetation, and the B horizon’s pH is primarily influenced by the geochemistry of the parent material.

Due to the variety of bedrock lithologies in Vermont, to simplify my research I divided my plots into four categories based on general rock types: Gneiss, Limestone/Dolomite, Quartzite, and Schist/Phyllite, based on mineral composition and relative weathering rates. I also investigated the effects of till and colluvium on soil geochemistry, because that and bedrock lithology ultimately dictate what plants can compete on the site vigorously.

In order to quantify the significance of finding a particular tree species on a plot, I found the pH preferences of each species from the World Climate Atlas and put each tree in one of three categories based on pH preference range. I observed that tree pH preference for each plot can be represented by average pH preference of the trees present, weighted by the width of the range of the tree’s pH preference. I also observed that soil geochemistry is dependent on a combination of bedrock, till and colluvium. This research helps scientists in Vermont quantify the inherent intersection between the forest cover and the geology underneath.

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Understanding the Mutually Dynamic Relationship Between Tree Species Present and the Underlying Parent Material

The purpose of this study is to identify trends in the correlation between tree species present in a forest and the underlying lithology across Vermont. I collected data at 24 FIA (Forest Inventory Analysis) plots across Vermont over Summer and Fall 2018. Several forest inventory metrics were recorded at each plot including trees present, vegetation vigor, and forest type. In addition to the forest data I used USGS maps to identify the bedrock underlying each plot, and measured soil pH of both the O horizon and B horizons. I chose these two soil horizons for my tests because pH of the O horizon is most influenced by the trees/vegetation, and the B horizon’s pH is primarily influenced by the geochemistry of the parent material.

Due to the variety of bedrock lithologies in Vermont, to simplify my research I divided my plots into four categories based on general rock types: Gneiss, Limestone/Dolomite, Quartzite, and Schist/Phyllite, based on mineral composition and relative weathering rates. I also investigated the effects of till and colluvium on soil geochemistry, because that and bedrock lithology ultimately dictate what plants can compete on the site vigorously.

In order to quantify the significance of finding a particular tree species on a plot, I found the pH preferences of each species from the World Climate Atlas and put each tree in one of three categories based on pH preference range. I observed that tree pH preference for each plot can be represented by average pH preference of the trees present, weighted by the width of the range of the tree’s pH preference. I also observed that soil geochemistry is dependent on a combination of bedrock, till and colluvium. This research helps scientists in Vermont quantify the inherent intersection between the forest cover and the geology underneath.