Atleigh Forden ’16



Project Title

Shedding Light on Plant Respiration

Presentation Link

View Atleigh's Presentation

The overall goal of my project this summer was to study how plant respiration behaves in the 24-hour daylight of summer in the high arctic of Swedish Lapland. My partner and I spent the first part of this project on campus in the lab, familiarizing ourselves with the various systems we would be using in the field in Sweden. While in Sweden, the primary machine we used was the Licor 6400, a machine that measures the gas fluxes within a chamber compared to outside ambient concentrations and extrapolates its photosynthetic rate and other parameters. We monitored the rate of photosynthesis of birch trees at different light intensities throughout the 24-hour arctic day for a week and found almost no inhibition of leaf respiration at higher light intensities. Through this internship I learned how to function within a research group, how to handle all of the uncertainties and mini-disasters of working in the field and how to process many different types of data. This internship confirmed my desire to pursue graduate school in some capacity; I loved the work and continually learning new things. I enjoy the challenges and the constant engagement that research demands.

Internship Year


Project Category



Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Sweden


Michael Bender, Emeritus Professor, Geosciences; Paul Gauthier, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences