Tree Science in Action - Morton Arboretum Collection Nets - December 2020

We were out on a walk in the Morton Arboretum when we noticed a basket far off the path.  We wandered over to see what was doing with it and saw this tag that had the title:  Tree Science in Action!  And included a reference to a soil scientist at the Morton Arboretum:  Dr. Meghan Midgley.

Here's a closeup (albeit blurry) of the tag:


It reads:

Tree Science in Action!
We're collecting leaf litter to study the effects of trees on soil.
DO NOT DISTURB
Questions? Contact Dr. Meghan Midgley, Soil Ecologist

The baskets appear to be collecting material as it falls from the trees.  This one was in/near the Spruce Plot on the main loop.   

What is Dr. Midgley working on?  From her bio:

As the Soil Ecologist at The Morton Arboretum, Meghan Midgley studies plant-soil interactions in a changing world. Specifically, she aims to understand how interactions among plants, microbes, and soil mediate ecosystem-specific responses to environmental changes. Her research encompasses two overarching themes: (1) relationships between plant traits and ecosystem functions and (2) above- and below ground consequences of human activities. She investigates these topics using field experiments, field observations, and laboratory studies, with a particular focus on temperate hardwood forest ecosystems.

I'm working on a project that is related to the NEON Observatory Network - which is a really interesting program that collects data that supports Ecologists like Dr. Midgley.  They have soil data it seems (here).   Wonder if she's using NEON data, too?

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