Hello from the State side! While some of my cohort has been busy carrying out their research in Greenland, I’m continuing my work in the alpine zone of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Thirty percent of the alpine flora of New Hampshire is left over from the last ice age, which means they grow in the Arctic as well as New England alpine zones.
My work investigates how these plants interact for resources — are they competing, or are they working together to maximize resources? The best way to test this is to remove the neighbor to see how it responds. The photo below shows one of these removals, where I’ve trimmed back the Diapensia lapponica, a soil-forming cushion plant, that was growing around Vaccinium uliginosum, the alpine blueberry.
Because both of these plants also occur in Greenland, I also have research sites in Vulgaris Valley, although the cushion plant I removed is Dryas intergrifolia rather than D. lapponica. If the blueberry grows better in the absence of the cushion plant, it implies competition is taking place between the two species. If blueberry growth decreases, these results imply that the cushion plant was facilitating the blueberry. Tune in later for results — I have to wait until the end of the growing season before I’ll have results.
I look forward to the new cohort meeting the flora of Greenland next week and seeing what flowers they post on the blog.