AMRE at Brown’s Lake Bog

Brown’s Lake Bog, located near Shreve in Wayne County, Ohio, is a nature preserve and National Natural Landmark that was established in the 1960’s. College of Wooster students have been involved in several past projects at Browns Lake Bog including sediment coring and ice drilling. Last week, the 2018 AMRE students ventured to this local spot to collect tree cores from some red and white oaks in order to perform some climate analysis for the Nature Conservancy and the Friends of Brown’s Lake Bog.

Brown’s Lake Bog is one of a few remaining peatland sites across Ohio that contains an open kettle lake surrounded by a floating sphagnum moss mat. These features are glacial relicts and the knolls surrounding the bog are glacially-formed hills called kames.

This field site is known for its diverse and rare plant community which thrives in the bog’s special acidic and nutrient-poor environment. More than twenty rare plant species can be found here.  The carnivorous Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is one of the rare species that attracts bog visitors.

After checking out the kettle lake, the tree ring lab group hiked the short trail to reach the trees sitting on top of the kames. The AMRE students sampled 6 of the oldest white and red oak trees.

AMRE students with a sampled tree (Left to right: Alexis Lanier ’20, Juwan Shabazz ’19, and Kendra Devereux ’21)
The carnivorous Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) receives nutrients by trapping insects in its fluid-filled cavities.
The AMRE students getting coring tips from Nick.
Extracting a fresh oak core on top of the kame at Brown’s Lake Bog.
Juwan, Kendra, and Arrow sitting on a fallen oak.

Upon returning to the lab, the group mounted up the fresh cores and prepared them for counting and measuring ring widths. This week, Kendra and Alexis are working to update the local chronology and perform various correlations with the data. The final product will be an official climate analysis report.

The map below displays a positive correlation between ring width and precipitation during the months of June and July in the local Wooster area. These months displayed the highest p values and correlations (as shown in the bar graph), which is why these months were selected while creating the map using Climate Explorer. A positive correlation suggests that the more it rained, the better the trees grew (this is expressed in wider ring widths).

Stay tuned for more of their results!

Correlation between ring width at Brown’s Lake Bog and precipitation records.

 

One of Kendra’s initial correlation maps created with Climate Explorer. 

 

Dating Historical Structures of Sonnenberg Village

Summer researchers have started a new project!

Last Wednesday, the AMRE group met with Ray Leisly at Sonnenberg Village in Kidron, Ohio.

Mr. Leisly brought the group to three different historical structures, including two homes and one barn. The families who own these structures are interested in learning how old their historical buildings are.

AMRE group and Nick Wiesenberg meet with Ray outside of Sonnenberg Church.
An example of one of the original deeds from  Miller House.

The group collected around 15 cores from each structure, using both hand borers and an electric drill with a hollow drill bit. This process is more thoroughly outlined in our Gingery Barn post.

Dr. Wiles using the electric drill to extract a core from a beam in Miller Barn.
Nick extracting core from overhead beam with a hand borer in Miller Barn.
Stacked beams from Zuercher house.
Freshly mounted core taken from Zuercher house beam.

On Thursday, the group returned to the lab to finish preparing the samples. Nick Wiesenberg used the belt sanders while Kendra and Juwan hand-sanded each core. This process helps to expose the ring boundaries so they can be more easily counted and measured under the microscope.

The team is currently analyzing each core by counting the number of rings, measuring ring widths, and comparing this data to a master chronology. Cross-dating will allow us to obtain the date that each tree was cut down, which will then indicate how old each historical structure is. Soon we will be able to report to our clients with details on our findings and a calendar date for when their buildings were constructed.

Stay tuned for updates!