2014

December

  • Andrew was in Boulder and visited with NEON collaborators Sandra Henderson and Rebecca Cheng to talk about the crowdsourcing project, as well as NCAR’s Rosie Fisher to talk about CLM modeling.
  • The lab was well represented at the AGU fall meeting in San Francisco. Don gave a talk on thermal imaging, Min gave a poster on his model-data fusion analyses, Koen presented a poster on modeling grassland phenology, and Andrew gave a talk on the PhenoCam network. Min and Koen convened a session on phenology and climate change, and Min also helped organize a session on land use change. It was Alatna’s first trip to AGU and she had fun meeting researchers from around the world.
  • Morgan and Brett, and their team of helpers (Don, Graham, Meghan, Miriam and Claire) wrapped up sampling for the Prospect Hill and hemlock NSC projects in full-on “Winter Wonderland” conditions. Great job!
  • Andrew’s paper, “Distribution and mixing of old and new nonstructural carbon (NSC) in two temperate trees”, has been accepted as a rapid report for publication in New Phytologist. Mariah, Brett, and Morgan are coauthors. The study uses the radiocarbon (14C) bomb spike to estimate the mean age of NSC stored in different tissues. A key finding is that the radial patterns of 14C in stemwood NSC indicate strong mixing of NSC across the youngest growth rings, but limited “mixing in” of younger NSC to older rings.

November

  • Steve made his final UAV flight of the 2014 field season in late November, and Lynda Mapes wrote a blog post about Steve’s UAV work, which you can read here. Lynda also set up a “Witness Tree” PhenoCam, which points to the red oak at Harvard Forest on which she is writing her book. You can read more about setting up the camera on Lynda’s blog. One of the first images from the camera is shown at right.
  • We hosted the annual meeting for the PhenoCam project. Visiting from UNH were Tom Milliman and Steve Frolking; Robert Pless came in from Washington University in St. Louis, and Mark, Eli, Josh and new postdoc Leah Cheek came across the river from BU.

  • Andrew went to Lund University, in Sweden, to serve as the Opponent for Cecilia Olsson’s thesis (“Tree phenology modelling in the boreal and temperate climate zones“) defense. Swedish thesis defenses are conducted differently from those in the U.S. The defense began with a short presentation by Cecilia on the work she did. Andrew followed this with a broad overview talk on the field of phenology and its relevance to global change studies. After this, Andrew questioned Cecilia (for more than an hour!) on her thesis and its implications before Cecilia took a brief round of questions from the grading committee and the audience. Cecilia passed with flying colors, and the party that evening was great fun. While in Lund, Andrew also gave a seminar on the lab’s work on nonstructural carbon reserves in forest trees.
  • We had the annual lab retreat at the Bartlett Experimental Forest. Andrew led a tour of the forest on Friday morning, and after lunch, Sarah Garlick (Hubbard Brook Research Foundation) led a workshop on informal science education (thanks, Sarah!). The traditional lab taco party was resurrected for Friday night’s dinner, and former postdoc Oliver Sonnentag and his lab came down from Montreal to join in the festivities. Saturday morning we hiked to the icy summit of Black Cap mountain, which offered spectacular views of the Presidentials and other high, snow-covered peaks. After a BBQ for Saturday lunch at Andrew’s house, we played capture the flag until it got dark (the game was a draw) and then we had a happy hour bonfire. A good time was had by all, and special thanks to Morgan for leading the planning and logistics.
  • The Knight Science Journalism Fellows at MIT put together a great short video of the lab doing field work at Harvard Forest, including work with Bucky and some tower climbing.

October

  • Margaret gave an invited guest lecture to the conservation biology class at College of the Holy Cross called "Snapshot Serengeti: Studying Africa’s animal populations using camera traps and citizen science".
  • Members of the lab joined in the HUH Halloween festivities. The ebola virus (Koen) was joined by Super Grover (Alatna), the Royal Tennenbaums (Graham, Min, Don, Meghan, Steve), an Estonian vendor of spiced nuts (Claire), Captain Hook (Miriam), and a vampire bat (Morgan). Scary stuff!















  • Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum, hosted a tour of the Case Estates property in Weston, MA. It was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods, and a great opportunity to think about research possibilities at a field site that is less than 30 minutes from Cambridge. Most of the lab was in attendance, shown in the photo are (L to R), Koen, Graham, Don (in tree), Meghan, Morgan, Min (in tree), Miriam, Rebecca Cheng (visiting from NEON, where she is a postdoc on the PhenoCam-NEON crowdsourcing project), and Andrew. Thanks to the Arboretum staff for organizing a great tour!
  • Steve displayed an aerial digital orthophoto (left) of the Bartlett Experimental Forest in an exhibit of “biology inspired art” at the Harvard Science Center. The Harvard-MIT Research and Art expo was organized by the Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association, Harvard Art Society, and OrigaMIT.
  • Morgan, Meghan, Miriam, Claire, and Don headed to Harvard Forest for the October NSC sample collection on Prospect Hill Rd (right) and in the hemlock stand. Brett Huggett and his undergraduate researcher from Bates College joined the sampling trip, as did Andrew, Mariah, and Alatna (in the field for the first time). Also present were Lynda Mapes (former lab visitor and now a Bullard Fellow) and a group of Knight Science Journalism Fellows from MIT. Andrew and other members of the Richardson Lab were interviewed, filmed, and photographed while collecting canopy, stem, and root samples or performing maintenance work on the barn tower.
















  • Miriam is starting to work on the SPRUCE phenology project, which is funded by DOE’s TES program. In addition to working with SPRUCE PI Paul Hanson from ORNL, this project involves collaboration with John Latimer, a rural mail carrier in northern Minnesota and official Staff Phenologist for NPR station KAXE. Miriam will be using John’s data to develop models to predict the how the phenological response to increased temperature will vary among species in the SPRUCE chambers. Email correspondence between John and Andrew was recently read aloud on John’s annual Phenology from a Duck Blind radio show.
  • Margaret collaborated with Angel Sappa and Ariel Amato at the Computer Vision Center in Barcelona, Spain, to crowdsource the identification of snow in PhenoCam pictures. Using the crowdsourcing app 'knowxel' , created by the Spanish researchers, more than 60,000 images were each analyzed by 3 to 4 volunteers. Knowing whether snow is present in a PhenoCam image is important for image-processing routines, but is not simple to automatically detect with computer algorithms.

September

  • The postdocs had a busy month of travel and leave: Margaret returned from maternity leave (Kyle was born in mid-June – congratulations!); Don returned from holidays in Spain and Norway; Koen went back to Belgium to visit friends and family; Min spent time in Palo Alto on paternity leave (Dudu was born in mid-September – congratulations!); and Graham went to Istanbul. Whew!
  • Josh Halman visited the lab from the University of Vermont, where he is a postdoc with Paul Schaberg and Jen Pontius. In the HUH seminar, Josh presented his work on recent growth trends in New England forest tree species. After the seminar, the lab went out for a sushi lunch. Pictured L to R are Meghan, Andrew, Josh, Don and Morgan.
  • Morgan and Meghan are knitting sweaters in their spare time.
  • Ian Seiferling visited the lab from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, where his advisor is Raphaël Proulx. Ian participated in the monthly Prospect Hill sampling and also gave a presentation in lab meeting on his work relating diversity and productivity.
  • Miriam and Meghan joined the lab as G1 PhD students; Morgan is now a G2 and Steve is a G4. The photo shows Meghan, Morgan and Miriam at the G1 “Buddy Party”.
  • Trevor returned to Australia after a summer visiting Cambridge and spending time working on projects with Koen, Julie, Min and Andrew.
  • Sebastian Wolf dropped in on his way back to Berkeley after a trip to Europe.
  • Welcome back to campus for the 2014-2015 Academic Year!
  • Andrew’s proposal to DOE, “Modeling the temporal dynamics of nonstructural carbohydrate pools in forest trees”, has been recommended for funding.
  • Julie has moved on to her new position (next door!) at Lesley University as an Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, while Brett and his family are now settled in Lewiston, Maine, where Brett is an Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology and Morphology. Congratulations, Julie and Brett! We miss you guys!

August

  • Steve’s paper, “Evaluating remote sensing of deciduous forest phenology at multiple spatial scales using PhenoCam imagery,” was accepted for publication in the EGU journal, Biogeosciences. The paper builds on work done by the REU team in 2011 (Rachel Norman, Isaac Lavine, and Lakeitha Mitchell) under the mentorship of Koen and Oliver.
  • Andrew and Mariah went to the Ecological Society of America meeting in Sacramento, California. Andrew gave an invited symposium talk about the PhenoCam network. Andrew and Mariah both gave Ignite talks in the session on nonstructural carbon storage in trees. You can download Andrew’s talk, with recorded voiceover, here.
  • Andrew and Don traveled to southern California for the annual meeting of the thermal imaging project. The meeting was held at the University of California’s James Reserve, on Mt. San Jacinto, just west of Palm Springs. Collaborator Mike Goulden hosted the meeting, which was also attended by project PI Chris Still, and collaborators Brent Helliker, Dar Roberts and Becky Powell. The panorama above shows Mike’s research site at Pinyon Flats, while the photos below (L to R) show Mike’s research tower, a view from Sunday’s hike up Tahquitz Peak, and a group photograph taken with a handheld thermal camera.
  • The Harvard Forest REU program wrapped up with the annual Symposium, which Andrew, Steve, Don and Koen attended. Lily, Sidni and Katie all did great talk s. The photo shows (L to R) Andrew, Sidni, Koen, Steve, Lily, Don and John O’Keefe under the sugar maples by Shaler Hall. 

July

  • The PhenoCam network was profiled in an article in the Environmental Monitor, an online newsletter for environmental professionals. The article included some great photos from the Kamuela and Harvard Forest cameras.
  • Trevor, Morgan, Meghan and Andrew attended the Hubbard Brook Cooperator’s meeting, at the Hubbard Brook field station in Campton, New Hampshire. Trevor gave a talk on his recent Nature Climate Change paper, which used Amey Bailey’s Hubbard Brook phenology data, and Andrew talked about the flux measurements from Bartlett. Andrew wrapped up by highlighting some of the key findings that have emerged from these data over a decade of measurements.
    These include:
  •      - The forest surrounding the tower is a sink for atmospheric CO2, with annual uptake of about 180 ± 70 g C m-2. Woody biomass increment is about 150 g C m-2
         - Photosynthetic light use efficiency is greatly enhanced by diffuse (vs. direct beam) solar radiation (Jenkins et al. AFM 2007, Lee unpublished thesis 2013)
         - There is a strong coupling between photosynthesis, canopy nitrogen, and shortwave albedo (Ollinger et al. PNAS 2008, Hollinger et al. GCB 2010)
         - A late-spring frost in 2010 had a significant impact on the carbon balance of the northeastern United States (Hufkens et al. GCB 2012)
         - Forests have a warming effect on surface air temperature (Lee et al. Nature 2011)
         - The photosynthetic water use efficiency of forests is rising as atmospheric CO2 rises (Keenan et al. Nature 2013)
         - Year to year variation in phenology plays a major role in controlling variation in ecosystem productivity (Toomey et al. Ecol Apps 2014, Keenan et al. Nature Climate Change 2014)
  • Work this summer by REU Intern Ivonne “Lily” Trujillo was profiled in an online UT-Brownsville article, which you can read here.
  • Because an airplane equipment malfunction fouled Andrew’s travel plans, he gave his keynote presentation to the Mountain Observatories 2014 conference, held in Reno, Nevada, by Skype. The title of his presentation was “Phenology, ecosystem processes, and climate change: What we are learning from the PhenoCam Network.”

June

  • The Richardson Lab welcomed two REU students for summer 2014. Ivonne Trujillo (University of Texas at Brownsville '15) will be working with Don, Koen, Brett, and Graham to make a variety of leaf-level measurements in the canopy around the barn tower. Sidni Frederick (Harvard College '17) joins Steve in characterizing crown-level phenology of the canopy near the EMS tower.















  • Morgan traveled to Utah and spent two weeks at Jim Ehleringer’s “IsoCamp” summer course on the application of stable isotopes to environmental and ecological studies. Morgan is hoping to use what she learned about isotopes in designing her dissertation research.
  • Trevor’s paper is out in Nature Climate Change!
  • Trevor arrived from Australia (via Ireland) and is visiting the lab for 5 or 6 weeks. While here he hopes to work on some phenology modeling projects with Andrew and Koen.
  • Graham and Meghan spent two days at the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station office in Durham, NH, for tower-climbing safety training with Bob Evans.
  • We said farewell to Brett, who is moving on to a faculty position at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. In Brett’s honor we had a lab dinner at Tupelo, and pre- and post-dinner socializing on Andrew’s roof deck.
  • Andrew was named a ”Highly Cited Researcher” for 2014 by ISI/Thompson Reuters.
  • Andrew and Koen went to Washington DC to attend the NSF Macrosystems Biology PI meeting. Eli Melaas was there as the third representative of the PhenoCam team. Andrew gave a talk on the project and highlighted some of the recent results from modeling by Koen and Eli, and Koen presented a poster. Chris Still from OSU also attended the meeting and presented some of Don’s work on thermal imaging of forest canopies.






May

  • Don got dressed up and marched in Harvard’s 363rd Commencement. He stopped by the lab while still in his academic robes and was congratulated by Min and Graham. Graham will receive his own degree at Stanford’s commencement in mid-June.
  • Morgan spent a week at the SPRUCE project in Minnesota, where she helped with a labeling experiment being run by colleagues from Oak Ridge National Lab. The photo shows Morgan recording physiological measurements of leatherleaf.
  • Michael’s paper analyzing relationships between PhenoCam “greenness” and the seasonality of CO2 fluxes, using data from a dozen AmeriFlux sites, has been accepted for publication in Ecological Applications.
  • Andrew attended the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, and gave a talk on PhenoCam project. Incoming PhD student Miriam Johnston was also at the meeting, presenting her master’s work. And, Andrew ran into Spencer Meyer at the meeting – Spencer recently completed his PhD at U Maine, but in 2000, while he was an undergraduate at Dartmouth, he worked for Andrew as a field assistant during Andrew’s own dissertation research.
  • Andrew’s research was profiled in a two-page spread in Discover magazine.
  • Julie attended the DOE AmeriFlux and Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences meetings in Washington DC. She presented a poster on her CH4 work at Howland.
  • The paper based on Anika’s undergraduate thesis, “Monitoring vegetation phenology using an infrared-enabled security camera”, has been accepted for publication in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. Anika is the lead author and Michael, Don and Andrew are coauthors. Congratulations, Anika!
  • Koen and Andrew attended the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna. Koen presented his work on grassland phenology modeling, and chaired a session on tropical carbon dynamics. In an invited talk, Andrew presented an overview on future directions in phenological modeling. Andrew also co-chaired a session with Michael Bahn (Innsbruck) on carbon allocation at scales from plants to ecosystems, in which he presented a poster on some of the group’s recent work at Harvard Forest. Finally, Andrew sat on a panel discussion, hosted by the Nature Publishing Group, on data sharing. It was great to see colleagues and former lab members, including Trevor Keenan and Mirco Migliavacca, at the meeting.

April

  • Morgan was awarded a National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship! Congratulations!
  • Because he couldn’t be there in person, Andrew’s presentation, “The PhenoCam Network: Contributions of the BERMS sites to continental-scale monitoring of vegetation phenology”, was delivered by Alan Barr (Environment Canada) at the Boreal Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Sites Research Workshop, which was held at the National Hydrology Research Centre in Saskatoon, Canada.
  • Andrew and Don installed a new infrared gas analyzer and data acquisition system for the flux measurements at Bartlett. Once that was complete, they took advantage of spring water levels to do some packrafting on the Saco and Ammonoosuc rivers. A field sampling trip by packraft is under consideration.
  • Julie has been offered an Assistant Professor position at Lesley University, beginning in September. Congratulations, Julie!
  • Miriam Johnston has accepted OEB’s offer of admission to the PhD program and will be joining the lab in September. Congratulations!
  • Koen and Margaret attended the Northeast Natural History Conference in Springfield. Koen organized a well-attended session on “Citizen science and public outreach in the digital age,” which Margaret kicked off with a talk on “Citizen science for natural history data processing.”
  • Andrew gave a presentation, “Climate change and the effects of shifting seasons on forest carbon cycling,” at the HUCE Fellows dinner. Paul Moorcroft introduced the topic, and Steve Wofsy led the evening’s discussion. Thanks to Missy Holbrook for the invitation to speak!
  • Andrew gave a presentation, “Phenology as an integrative environmental science” at the USA-NPN External Program Review Workshop.
  • Morgan and Meghan were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Congratulations to both on this fantastic accomplishment!
  • Trevor’s paper, “Net carbon uptake has increased through warming-induced changes in forest phenology” has been accepted for publication in Nature Climate Change. Michael, John O’Keefe, and Andrew are coauthors. The research was funded by Andrew’s grants from NOAA’s Climate Program Office and NSF’s Macrosystems Biology program.
  • The proposal by Eric Davidson, “Integrated belowground greenhouse gas flux measurements and modeling”, on which Andrew is a Co-I, was recommended for funding by USDA. The grant will support new measurements and modeling work at Howland, specifically related to CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes from upland and wetland soils.

March

  • Alex submitted his senior thesis, “Salmon-derived nutrient flow in an impacted southern watershed", to the OEB department. Congratulations, Alex!
  • Brett and Morgan traveled to Irvine, California, to prepare samples for radiocarbon analysis of nonstructural carbohydrates. The work was done at UC Irvine's WM Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Lab, where they were working with collaborators Claudia Czimczik and Xiaomei Xu.
  • Andrew, Koen, Morgan, Margaret, Min and Lynda attended the annual Harvard Forest symposium in Petersham. Morgan and Koen took advantage of the gorgeous weather and got Bucky training from Lucas during the afternoon sessions (see photo). The next day, Morgan, Koen, Brett and Don returned to the forest for the monthly carbohydrate sampling on Prospect Hill Road. Brett and Koen also collected samples for a new study to look at the effects of woolly adelgid infestation on hemlock carbohydrate reserves.
  • Graham Dow, a PhD student in the Bergmann Lab at Stanford, has been awarded a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship. He will join our lab this summer and work on the impacts of climate change and rising CO2 on stomatal development and water use efficiency.
  • Meghan Blumstein, currently working with Jonathan Thompson at Harvard Forest, has been admitted to the PhD program in OEB and will join our lab in September. Congratulations, Meghan!
  • Nature published a comment (“Air pollution and forest water use”) by Christopher Holmes, UC Irvine, on Trevor’s water use efficiency paper; our reply to Holmes was published online at the same time.
  • Andrew gave a seminar on phenology, climate change, and phenological control of vegetation feedbacks to the climate system, at IEEE Boston’s monthly meeting, held at MIT’s Lincoln Labs.
  • Dave Moore and his postdoc Francesc Motané (University of Arizona), in town for a meeting at BU, dropped by for lunch and to talk with Andrew and Min about plans for their DOE-funded data assimilation project. Min will be working on preparing phenology data sets for the analysis. The photo shows Dave, Francesc and Min in front of the HUH.
  • Andrew participated (remotely) in the ACEAS—TERN (Australian Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis—Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network) PhenoCam workshop that was organized by Tim Brown. Andrew gave a presentation on the history and evolution of the PhenoCam network, and highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities presented by this massive, and ever-expanding, digital image archive.
  • Andrew and Don spent a beautiful day at Harvard Forest installing eddy covariance instruments on the Barn Tower. The system will measure CO2, water and energy fluxes with a footprint that overlaps that of the hyperspectral and thermal cameras, as well as other radiometric instruments mounted on the tower, and will be used to investigate relationships between phenology and physiological processes at leaf- to canopy- to ecosystem-scale.
  • Lynda was awarded a Bullard Fellowship and will be in residence at Harvard Forest, working on her book Witness Tree, during the 2014-2015 academic year. Congratulations, Lynda!
  • Diana Tomback, a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, was also awarded a Bullard Fellowship and will be in residence with the Richardson Lab from January to May 2015. Diana will then spend the remainder of her fellowship in residence in Petersham. Congratulations, Diana!

February

  • Members of the lab participated in a three-day Li-Cor training workshop; the first two days focused on eddy covariance measurements of carbon and water fluxes, while the third day dealt with photosynthesis measurements using the Li-6400. Thanks to Don for helping to coordinate the sessions!
  • Brett, Morgan and Don continued the monthly NSC sampling at Harvard Forest. Coring was done one day, and the team made a return visit after Prospect Hill Road had been ploughed so that they could drive Bucky out for canopy sampling.
  • Xi Yang from the joint PhD program at Brown/MBL visited and gave the HUH seminar on his dissertation work at Harvard Forest. Xi is making sun-induced fluorescence measurements at the Barn Tower. We went to lunch and walked back through the yard in the midst of a yet another winter snowstorm. Shown, L to R, in front of John Harvard are: Bill Munger (SEAS), Min, Steve, Xi, Morgan, Julie, Don, Margaret, Koen and Andrew.

January

  • Brett, Don, Koen and Andrew spent a day at Bartlett upgrading the battery bank that powers the tower measurements and getting the system back online. The weather conditions were ideal. Koen posted a video of the hike in on YouTube (watch the video).
  • Brett, Morgan, Don and Andrew got a new sampling program for nonstructural carbohydrates going at Harvard Forest. We conducted a preliminary reconnaissance on a gorgeous, above-freezing, snow-free, brilliantly sunny winter day, and the first sampling was conducted later in the week under almost as ideal conditions. The new collections will enable us to estimate whole-tree budgets of nonstructural carbohydrates, including roots, stem and branch pools, and quantify how these change from month-to-month over the year. Sampling is being conducted on the major tree species, with an emphasis on red oak and white pine. During this visit to the forest, we also checked out the new walk-up tower that has been built off of Pierce Road. The photo shows Brett, Min and Morgan, and to the right behind Morgan you can see the new NEON tower as well.
  • Andrew and Mariah welcomed their daughter, Alatna, into the world. Her application to the Fluxnet Young Scientists Group is pending.
  • Don has a new eddy covariance flux system up and running in the lab. We will be installing the instruments on the Barn Tower as soon as the weather warms up a bit. We are particularly interested in relating the measured latent and sensible heat fluxes to thermal camera imagery of the canopy, and the CO2 fluxes to phenological and physiological data from the hyperspectral camera imagery.
  • We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Bartlett Experimental Forest AmeriFlux tower – the first flux data were recorded at 330 pm on January 7, 2003. Unfortunately, coinciding with this monumental anniversary, the solar-powered battery bank on site has finally worn out and can no longer hold a charge. New batteries have been ordered and will be installed soon.
  • Julie got the year off to a great start, as her paper (with Trevor, Dave Hollinger, and Andrew as coauthors) on methane fluxes at Howland was accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters on January 2!