Olivia Trase, 2017, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This summer I traveled to Abisko, Sweden for six weeks to help conduct research on plant respiration in arctic birches. The purpose of our research was to further explore inhibition of respiration of arctic birches in the light, which the Princeton research group last summer briefly explored. To collect data, we spent each day in an arctic birch forest with a Licor 6400 and a Licor 6400xt. We used these machines to measure the gas fluxes of a leaf within a chamber, from which the machine calculated the photosynthetic rate. We altered both light intensity and carbon dioxide concentration in the chamber to obtain curves depicting how the photosynthetic rate changed with these changing parameters. We were also able to see how these curves changed over five weeks, with the trees experiencing from 24 hours of sunlight to periods of darkness. Not only did we learn how to operate the Licor machine, but we were also able to use codes that we had written to manipulate and visualize the data on a daily basis. This internship greatly prepared me for the trials of fieldwork and solidified my desire to pursue ecology and ecosystem studies for independent and graduate work.