Transect Line Sampling, Pilot

2017 Field Trip, Day 3

Today, Madelyn and I piloted our transect methodology at Schwabacher Landing.

We installed a 10-meter line perpendicular to the Snake River and collected information on plants that intersected the line. For each plant, we documented location on the line, maximum height, width on the line, and coded plants for identification.

Supplies

  • 10-meter line
  • tent stakes (2)
  • retractable tape measure
  • flexible tape measure
  • miniature calipers
  • notebooks and pens
  • sample bags
  • marker for labelling
  • foam cooler
  • small scissors

To help with identification, we paid special attention to whether each plant specimen was of a blooming variety. If so, we clipped a blooming sample off the transect line and noted whether the intersecting plant had bloomed or not. We placed one cutting for each of our ten plant types (labelled A through J) in sample bags, and stored them in a cooler.

Transect line and soil temperature thermometer.

The hard part came next – we had to identify each plant species we collected with pretty serious confidence. To do so, we took plant cuttings in labeled sample bags to the library. Then, we cross-referenced each sample with the Grand Teton National Park Native Plant Guide and the National Park Service Nonnative Species list.

After a few hours of work, we’d successfully identified all but one of our ten plant types, which successfully placed 65/68 samples. We’re stuck on the last one, but we’ll figure it out eventually.

So far, success on the research front.

More tomorrow.


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