February 2017
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"Although we await the written report from the Site Review, we apparently impressed the team and NSF visitors quite a bit.  All of the oral feedback we received was very supportive.  I think we can all be proud of this accomplishment.  
There are many people to thank but I would like to especially thank the MC for helping organize the agenda, as well as those that gave talks in the field or inside.  You all represented us well.  Special thanks to the field station staff at both El Verde and Sabana for making things work smoothly, and to Widalys Morales who organized the food (AgriCocina provided great food - we will ask them back!).  I greatly appreciate the hospitality of El Yunque National Forest at El Portal for the poster session.  Finally, a super special thanks to Sarah Stankavich for keeping me sane and being the glue that kept it all together.  
I am sure am glad we only do this once every six years!
On to the proposal!!!"
- Jess Zimmerman
Annual Meeting
The LUQ LTER annual meeting will be held May 31 and June 1, 2017. The first day will be a public symposium on climate change in El Yunque, as well as lightning talks and posters. The second day will be an "all scientists" meeting to discuss research activities during the next round of funding. Keep an eye on your e-mail for more details!
25 years with LUQ
This year, four employees are celebrating 25 years of working with the Luquillo LTER: our PI's Jess Zimmerman (top right) and Nick Brokaw (not pictured), Field Technician John Bithorn (top left, bottom left) and Information Manager Eda Meléndez (bottom right). LUQ recognizes their dedication to science and to the community in general. Thank you for your continuing service and we appreciate all that you have done!
Major flooding in El Yunque
Heavy rain over Easter weekend caused major floods across the island. Pablo Gutierrez took this video of the Sonadora on April 17th, 2017.
Video of the Prieta on April 17th, 2017 by Pablo Gutierrez
Accolades for Dr. Jean Lodge
"It is with pure joy and much respect, I share with you the news that Dr. D. Jean Lodge has been awarded as Distinguished Mycologist by The Mycological Society of America.  This is the highest honor for an MSA member and reflects outstanding research accomplishments in mycology as well as a distinguished record of service and participation in the Society.
The award will be handed to Dr. D. Jean Lodge in mid-July.
Congratulations Jean!
Thank you for making us all SO very proud!

LTER Schoolyard News

Student Field Protocols
From February through March, the Schoolyard staff conducted four student field protocols workshops for 96 students in Puerto Rico. The workshops involved one of the three following topics: vegetation, river ecology and soil characterization at El Verde Field Station. During the workshop, the students were organized and trained by researchers and graduate students in the methods of data collection protocols within the rainforest setting. The students studied stream structure, water quality and organisms of the Quebrada Sonadora. Stream structure measurements included stream width and depth and stream flow. Water quality measurements included dissolved oxygen, presence of nitrates, and phosphate, turbidity, temperature and pH.  The macroinvertebrates (shrimp and insects) measurements included species identification, size, reproduction cycle, and abundance.  The student’s participants measured DBH and height and identified species for every tree in the Demonstration Plot. They studied soil characteristics along a slope near the forest study plot. They characterized soil texture and physical properties within two soil pits at the top and bottom of the slope. They also measured soil moisture, infiltration, and bulk density.  Guiding the students were Dr. Omar Pérez Reyes, UPR-Río Piedras Biology Professor, Christopher Nytch, UPR-Río Piedras doctoral candidate in Environmental Sciences, Omar Gutierrez del Arroyo, UC-Berkeley doctoral candidate in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Sean Kelly, UPR-Rio Piedras doctoral candidate in the Biology Department and Seth Rifkin, Research Manager of the Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot. The duration of each workshop was equivalent to a regular 6-hour school day.  Six schools participated, one at a time, and each school brought between 15-20 students to work one protocol. The students ranged in age from middle to high school. During the workshops, they were exposed to data collection and entry, as well as analysis methods for each of the different focal areas. It is highly recommended for the schools to adopt the protocol and apply the concepts at their school research sites during the rest of the semester.  The results are going to be presented during the May Schoolyard Annual Symposium at Escuela Especializada Pa Los Duros in Carolina.



International Forest Day at El Portal
On March 18th, International Forest Day activities were organized by a local non-profit organization called Fundación Amigos del Yunque, and held at El Portal in El Yunque National Forest. LUQ-Schoolyard had a presence and a table with information about the program, as well as research opportunities for prospective teachers and students. Science teacher Arlene Nieves and 4 of her former students from Carmen Feliciano middle school in Río Grande, offered a demonstration to the visiting public about the use of field sampling equipment and informed the public about stream ecology in El Yunque.  We added a shrimp tank to the table to enhance the public hands on experience.  Science teacher Glenda Almodóvar, art teacher Edna Negrón, and eight of her former students from the Art School Ernesto Ramos Antonini in Yauco presented a painting and photography exhibition inspired by the dry forest landscape in Guánica.  Two students from the Juan Ponce de León High School in Florida presented a poster and informed the public about their school environmental research center (CIAM) activities.


Student Scientific Poster Preparation Workshop
On Friday, April 28, we successfully held the first Poster Preparation Workshop for the Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program. It was led by Mayreliz Narváez and Darlene Huertas from the company Forward Learning. Fifteen students and six teachers participated in this workshop, coming from 7 schools in the public and private sector of Puerto Rico. Our participants accepted the challenge of developing the Data Jam exercise and, through the workshop, obtained the necessary tools for the proper preparation of an effective scientific poster; they can apply these skills to their Data Jam project and when developing future research. Participants will be presenting their projects during the poster session of the 9th Annual Symposium of the Luquillo LTER Schoolyard Program on Monday, May 15 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Escuela José Aponte de la Torres o Pa' Los Duros in Carolina.

Recent Publications

Chen, D.F., M. Yu, G. González, X. Zou, and Q. Gao. 2017.  Climate impacts on
    soil carbon processes along an elevation gradient in the Luquillo
    Experimental Forest. Forests 8:90

Click here to access this article

Dialynas, Y. G., S. Bastola, R. L. Bras, E. Marin-Spiotta, W. L. Silver, E. Arnone,
    and L. V. Noto. 2016.
Impact of hydrologically driven hillslope erosion and
    landslide occurrence on soil organic carbon dynamics in tropical watersheds.
    Water Resources Research 52:8895–8919.

Click here to access this article

Hall, S. J., D. Liptzin, H. Buss, K. DeAngelis, and W. L. Silver. 2016. Drivers
    and patterns of iron redox cycling from surface to bedrock in a deep
    tropical forest soil: a new conceptual model. Biogeochemistry 130:177-190.

Click here to access this article
Hall, S. J., W. L. Silver, V. I. Timokhin, and K. E. Hammel. 2016. Iron
    addition suppressed mineralization of lignin methoxyls but did not impact
    total respiration from a humid tropical forest soil. Soil Biology &
    Biochemistry 98:95-98.

Hogan, J. A., S. Mayorquín, K. Rice, J. Thompson, J. K. Zimmerman, and N.
    Brokaw. 2017. Liana dynamics reflect land-use history and hurricane
    response in a Puerto Rican forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 33:155-164.

Click here to access this article

McGee, S. & N. Báez Rodríguez. 2016. Drought in the Critical Zone: Engaging
    students in authentic inquiry through Data Jam. The Earth Scientist Volume
    XXXII, Issue 3.
McGee, S. & J. K. Zimmerman. 2016. Taking students on a Journey to El
    Yunque. International Journal of Designs for Learning 7:86-106.

Click here to access this article

Monmany, A.C., W. A. Gould, M. J. Andrade-Núñez, and G. González. 2017.
    Characterizing Predictability of Fire Occurrence in Tropical Forests and
    Grasslands: The Case of Puerto Rico. In S. Chakravarty and G. Shukla
    (eds.), Forest Ecology and Conservation (pp. 77-95).

Click here to access this article

Rhea-Fournier, D., and G. González. 2017. Methodological Considerations in the
    Study of Earthworms in Forest Ecosystems. In S. Chakravarty and G. Shukla
    (eds.), Forest Ecology and Conservation (pp. 47-76).

Click here to access this article
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