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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 16, July 10, 2001

Welcome to Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.

PARK RESEARCH AND USERS

Insects and Carbon Dioxide Response - Jake Weltzin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee

Jake Weltzin and Nathan Sanders (one of University of Tennessee Dan Simberloff's post-docs) are working with Rich Norby (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division) to determine insect community response to elevated carbon dioxide in the Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Facility (FACE) experiment. They will be presenting the information at the Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting in their new "late-breaking research and newsworthy papers" symposium. Here’s a copy of the abstract they’ll be presenting on their Research Park work:

What are the combined effects of global climate change
and biological invasions on insect community structure?

Nathan J. Sanders,1 Jake F. Weltzin,1 R. Travis Belote,1 and Rich J. Norby2

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee;
and 2Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and invasions by non-native organisms are predicted to change plant communities in the near future. Rising CO2 levels may affect particular herbivorous insects because C:N ratios are altered under elevated CO2 levels. Likewise, if native host plants are displaced by non-native plants, the structure of insect communities may change. To date, no studies have examined the effects of elevated CO2 on entire insect communities, and only a few have examined the impact of invasions by non-native plants. We are examining species composition of the understory plant and insect community in ambient and elevated CO2 treatments in an ongoing, free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) facility on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park, Tennessee. Five 25-m diameter plots have received either ambient (= control) or elevated (537 ppm) CO2 since 1998. The understory plant community in these plots is dominated by several non-native species. Results from the May sampling period indicated that insect morphospecies richness in ambient CO2 plots (23 species) was approximately 25% greater than in elevated CO2 plots (18 species) (P=0.059). We will continue to sample the insect communities in each plot. We will also determine plant species percent cover and C:N ratios of the understory plant community. We will discuss the relationships among these variables, global climate change, and the impact of non-native species on insect community structure.

NATURAL RESOURCES AND MANAGEMENT

Native Grass Restoration

The size and diversity of an informal gathering to discuss planting and restoration of native grasses on the Oak Ridge Reservation highlighted the interest in this topic. Lisa Huff (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation), Mark Belvin (Department of Energy), Greg Byrd and Dennis Bradburn (ORNL Forestry), Jim Evans (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency), Warren Webb (ORNL Wildlife Coordinator), Mike Finger (ORNL Environmental Surveillance), Wesley James (Tennessee Valley Authority), Kari Cohen (Research Park Intern), Larry Pounds (Research Park Consultant), Steve Trotter (Spallation Neutron Source Project), Meredith Clebsch (Native Gardens), and Pat Parr (ORNL Area Manager) met mid-June to discuss potential, needs, and opportunities for native grass/prairie/wildflower restoration on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Possible sites include areas where pine has been salvaged due to the pine beetle, open grass areas now maintained in fescue, and construction projects. Making connections with those in other agencies who have begun native grass restoration has been helpful already in learning more about benefits, seed sources, success expectations, planting techniques, and equipment loans. Some small areas along Bethel Valley Road were identified as possible demonstration areas.

Canada Goose Roundup - Jim Evans, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Oak Ridge Wildlife Manager

Over 230 Canada geese on and adjacent to the Oak Ridge Reservation were captured, banded, monitored for contaminants, and released in a roundup the end of June. Conducted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, participants included ORNL summer interns, ORNL Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL Analytical Chemistry Division, ORNL Office of Environmental Compliance staff, and university staff (Tennessee Tech). No geese were found to be contaminated. Geese were moved from around facility areas to remote parts of the reservation, specifically the Solway Bend area.

PARTNERSHIPS

Kari Cohen, Research Park Intern, assisted TVA, Native Gardens, and Quail Unlimited in a native grass restoration project adjacent to Fort Loudoun Dam in Lenoir City. About an acre near the dam was seeded with little bluestem, big bluestem, and a variety of wildflowers and other forbs. Look for it as you go over the dam.

PARKNET UPDATES

Contact Information - Tim Reynolds, former Research Park Manager at Idaho, is now with TREC, Incorporated, a service-disabled Veteran-owned small business. He’s located at 101 South Park Avenue, Suite 2, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402 and can be reached at reynoldst@trec-inc.com, 208-535-0189 (phone), or 208-535-0197 (fax).

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST

August 5-8, 2001 – "Globalization and Water Management--The Changing Value of Water," AWRA/University of Dundee International Specialty Conference, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or http://info@awra.org/meetings/Dundee2001/.

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info: http://esa.sdsc.edu/madison/.

October 3-6, 2001 – Natural Areas Association Annual Conference at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on “Searching for a Natural Balance.” More info: http://natareas.org/frame.htm.

November 6-8, 2001 - SAMAB Annual Fall Conference, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

November 12-15, 2001 – Annual Water Resources Conference, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or http://info@awra.org/meetings/NewMexico2001/.

November 26-28, 2001 – Southern Forest Science Conference, Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: http://www.southernforestscience.net or call (828) 257-4302.

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at:  http://www.esd.ornl.gov/facilities/nerp/.


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