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TREX Day 2- Exploring with the Plant Group

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TREX Day 2- Exploring with the Plant Group

By Janice Shiu ’20

Today, the TREX group split into two groups, the atmosphere group and plant group. While the atmosphere group set up meteorological sensors at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary School, the plant group (also known as the pants group for our characteristic leg protection) did a practice survey of the vegetation just behind our house.

Trekking through the dense vegetation as we made ten-meter measurements.

Professor Dave Des Marais leading the way, we ventured into the undeveloped thicket of ferns, thorns, orchids, and ohi’a trees holding notebooks, shears, and tape measurers. Using the tape measurers to mark a straight path, we took note of the relative quantities and categories of flora within a one-meter radius of each ten-meter increment. To measure the amount of light reaching the plants, we took pictures of the canopy cover at each site.

TA and Postdoc Caio Guiherme Pereira guiding the group through measuring water potential in an ohi’a clipping with a pressure chamber.

Water bubbling out of a branch clipping when the chamber pressure matches the leaf water potential.

Lastly, we flew a drone over our measurement sites in order to take overhead photos for NDVI measurements. Using these photos, we can quantify the productivity and density of each site, which can be used to characterize how each area grows.

TA and Postdoc Caio Guilherme Pereira and Jordan Alford ‘20 flying a drone over our path of measurements.