New NutNet site at UQ’s brand new Terrestrial Ecology Research Facility

Author: Y. Buckley

Yvonne Buckley, Natalie Kerr and Rebecca Harris building fences - R. Salguero-Gomez

Yvonne Buckley, Natalie Kerr and Rebecca Harris building fences – R. Salguero-Gomez

With the help of NutNet founders Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom, we marked out plots, built fences, determined species composition and collected soil and biomass samples for the important pre-treatment observational phase of the newest site in the global Nutrient Network (NutNet) initiative.  The plots are located at UQ’s brand new Terrestrial Ecology Research Facility (TERF), about 15km west of UQ.  Setting up and sampling the plots was truly a team effort so thanks to the lab members, volunteers and experts who helped out!

One of the fenced plots - Y. Buckley

One of the fenced plots – Y. Buckley

The NutNet is a grassroots research effort within a coordinated research network comprised of more than 40 grassland sites worldwide. The Network is focused on three main questions: 1) How general is our current understanding of productivity-diversity relationships? 2) To what extent are plant production and diversity co-limited by multiple nutrients in herbaceous-dominated communities? 3) Under what conditions do grazers or fertilization control plant biomass, diversity, and composition? The main goal of the Network is to collect data from a broad range of sites in a consistent manner to allow direct comparisons of environment-productivity-diversity relationships among systems around the world. The data collected from the plots at the TERF site will contribute to this world-wide data set.

Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom in the long grass - Y. Buckley

Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom in the long grass – Y. Buckley

Thanks to: Rob Salguero-Gomez, Shaun Coutts, Rebecca Harris, Natalie Kerr, Elizabeth Borer, Eric Seabloom, John Dwyer, Rod Fensham and UQ engineering student volunteers, Matthew Deering and Dane Martensen.  We’d like to offer a special thanks to Impact Fertilisers and (especially) Kenmore Mitre 10 for their help and input with supplies for the establishment of the plots.

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