Student Research at Marlboro College

 

As part of the General Ecology Lab course at Marlboro College in Fall 2015, taught by Professor Jaime Tanner, students were asked to design and carry out their own ecological research projects. Three students in the class focused their research on questions related to successional stages and collected their data at Hogback.

 

Liliana Hollertz, a junior, investigated the effects of successional stage on soil invertebrate diversity. She collected multiple soil samples from three locations at Hogback and put each soil sample in a funnel trap to collect invertebrates, after identifying invertebrates she calculated diversity indices for the samples from early, mid and late successional habitats and found that there was much greater diversity in the early successional habitat than either the mid or late successional habitat.

 

Sophie Ackerman, a sophomore at Marlboro, investigated the effectiveness of brush thatching as a control mechanism for hay-scented fern, which acts as a native invasive species. To do this, Sophie measured hay-scented fern biomass at sample sites on the Meadow slope to compare biomass at sites where brush piles (thatching) were left and those where there was no thatching. She found that there was significantly less hay-scented fern at the thatching sites and concluded that this appears to be an effective management tool to reduce hay-scented fern biomass in an area.

 

Eddie Manno, a junior, also investigated hay-scented fern at Hogback although he was investigating the effects of successional stage on hay-scented fern density. He collected an extensive data set on several sites located on the Meadow, Ripperoo and Sugar Slopes by counting individual fern stalks in several study plots. He found that there was a much higher density of hay-scented fern on the Ripperoo and Sugar Slopes than on the Meadow slope and concluded that this could either be due to the earlier successional stage of those two slopes or due to the differences in management of these slopes.

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Located less than four miles from Hogback as the crow flies, Marlboro College, like the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, is a significant part of the community of Marlboro.  Here's how Marlboro College describes itself on its website.

 

An Independent College for Independent Thinkers

 

Marlboro College cultivates a close-knit, intentionally small learning community where independent thinkers can explore their deepest interests, collaborate with faculty as colleagues, and set the course for their own intellectual and professional pursuits. Located in southeastern Vermont, Marlboro comprises an undergraduate campus in the town of Marlboro and a graduate center in nearby Brattleboro. Combined enrollment for undergraduate and graduate programs is less than 500 students.

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