Download a complete list of abstracts here: FRSES_Abstracts_2020
The poster session is from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm in room 382. Posters are listed by poster number and grouped by category.
- Aquatic Ecosystems
- Disturbance and Restoration Ecology
- Molecular Population Genetics
- Wildlife Ecology
- Insect Ecology
- Terrestrial Ecosystems
- Ecological Tools
Number indicates poster number during the poster session.
1. Advancing the Science and Practice of Conserving Hihiwai (Neritina Granosa): Using Ecology and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to Identify and Overcome Threats to An Endemic Hawaiian Gastropod
Kiloaulani Ka’awa-Gonzales, Colorado State University
Aquatic gastropods make important contributions to global biodiversity and provide vital ecological services. Hihiwai, an anadromous gastropod, is dependent on healthy freshwater streams and has cultural and subsistence value to local communities. The objectives of this study are 1) estimate hihiwai population densities within and among four streams in Hawaii along a longitudinal gradient and across age classes, 2) identify the ecological and anthropogenic factors associated with hihiwai density, and 3) identify how traditional ecological knowledge of local communities can be integrated into understanding the ecology of this species and ensuring long-term community engagement in conservation efforts. We will sample hihiwai using a visual point quadrat technique and measure adult shell length. We will also record a suite of geomorphological, hydrologic, and climatic characteristics perceived to impact hihiwai density. In addition to reporting our ecological findings, we will conduct mixed methods qualitative inquiry in the local Molokai community through interviews and participatory mapping. We expect the results of this study to provide new insights into the value of aquatic “bioindicators” such as hihiwai, in developing effective local stream management strategies that benefit both ecological and human communities.
2. Defining the Anthropocene In the Alpine: How Has Recent Global Change Altered the Ecology of Alpine Lakes in The Sierra Nevada Mountains, California?
Caitlin Charlton, Colorado State University
High-elevation mountain lakes are some of the most sensitive systems to anthropogenic change, experiencing increased air and water temperatures, decreased snowpack duration, delayed lake ice-on and earlier lake ice-off, lake acidification, and increased loading of nitrogen and phosphorous from atmospheric deposition, snowpack melt and internal cycling. A major proxy for these changes is lake primary productivity, where algal communities exploit excess nutrients and conditions conducive to increased growth. Lakes in California’s Sierra Nevada have been observed to be greening over the past several years. Using pigments preserved in lake sediments from the Sierra Nevada, we will be evaluating the timing of changes in historical mountain lake productivity and the drivers of these changes from the end of the 19th century to the present. We expect to find shifts in algal community abundances to correlate with the timing of global change drivers, with specific increases in the total abundance of algae and the abundance of green algae. We predict that nutrient loading such as nitrogen deposition and phosphorous loading, variability of interannual snowpack and warming temperatures will be particularly important drivers of observed increased Sierra Nevada lake productivity.
Disturbance and Restoration Ecology
3. Feasibility of Avicennia Marina (Grey Mangroves) In Salt Removal from Water
Brandon Dusenberry, Angelo State University
Phytoremediation is becoming a more popular way to remove certain contaminants in a given soil. From removing chromium with mangrove trees or in extreme cases phytoremediation can be used to remove carcinogenic benzene from the groundwater table from a chemical spill. In this study Avicennia Marina “Grey Mangrove” was used to see if this plant removes salt in the water that it was planted in. With this design we hope to integrate it into a real-life situation in which it could be beneficial to the public.
4. Do Macroinvertebrates Indicate Restoration Success in Semiarid Freshwater Pools? Evidence from The Mora River Watershed, New Mexico
Richard Patsilevas, Regis University
Land cover change and climate warming exacerbate arroyo formation in the American southwest by accelerating water movement through the river network. Increased ephemerality in degraded arroyos results in depauperate macroinvertebrate communities consisting primarily of desiccation-resistant taxa. The Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge (RMNWR) aims to improve freshwater biodiversity by installing one-rock dams that enhance water retention. We assessed whether one-rock dams improve freshwater biodiversity by collecting macroinvertebrate samples from 3 permanent pools in 5 canyons along a restoration chronosequence within RMNWR. We also rehydrated sediment collected from ephemeral pools along hydroperiod gradients in each canyon to measure invertebrate biodiversity in the seedbank. In permanent pools, we found very few (~3%) mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies, indicating a general lack of sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa. Although aquatic macroinvertebrates emerged from the seedbank after 8 weeks in 20% of samples rehydrated from ephemeral pools, we found only nominally increasing relationships between invertebrate diversity and time since restoration. These results indicate that other invertebrate metrics robust to environmental variation across these restored arroyos should be explored to assess the efficacy of one-rock dams.
5. Post-Fire Forest Recovery and Transition
Jesse Wooten, Colorado State University
A changing climate combined with historical forest management practices have altered disturbance regimes across the western U.S., resulting in increased wildfire frequency and severity. The window of conditions favorable for conifer regeneration has narrowed due to increases in temperature and decreases in moisture. These effects are further compounded in severely burned areas where canopy cover has been reduced, thereby exposing the ground to increased sunlight. We examined montane forest sites that burned at low and high severity in the Spring Creek Fire (2018) in the southern Colorado Rockies. One-year post-fire, we observed vegetative recovery dominated by aspen and gamble oak resprouts with an absence of conifer regeneration and little plant cover otherwise. This pattern held true across elevations and forest types, including forested areas previously dominated by ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir or pinyon-juniper. This study has implications for forest managers and landowners implementing post-fire management and restoration.
6. Effects of Bison Grazing Intensity on Plant Community at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
Alexandra Sorenson, Regis University
Bison (Bison bison) grazing can restore degraded grassland ecosystems by increasing the plant species diversity across the landscape, but these effects differ depending on the type of grassland and duration of the grazing. Refuge managers at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge (RMNWR) have used bison to restore shortgrass prairie ecosystem function across the site. We hypothesized that higher bison grazing intensity increases plant species richness and diversity because of the bison’s tendency toward mosaic grazing and increased nutrient deposition. We surveyed 30 randomly-placed 100-m^2 plots in four different areas of the refuge across a range of bison-grazing intensities. Within each plot, we recorded scat, plant species richness, and percent cover by species for a 1-m^2 quadrat. Areas with the highest grazing intensity showed lower plant species richness and areas with the lowest grazing intensity showed higher plant species richness. Our results suggest that higher bison grazing intensity might decrease the plant species richness and diversity across the landscape, which does not support our hypothesis. However, we observed higher grazing from non-bison grazers in the low bison grazing areas, so it is reasonable that the presence of other grazers could impact the plant species richness and diversity in these areas.
Molecular Population Genetics
7. Causes of Differences in Migratory Timing in Neotropical Migrants
Taylor Bobowski, Colorado State University
Migration, animals’ seasonal movement, lets organisms exploit favorable conditions across a large geographic area. Despite this common purpose, populations of the same species can exhibit dramatically different patterns of movement. Ruegg et al 2014 showed that in Wilson’s Warblers, distinct populations differed significantly in migration timing, but the causes remain unknown. Modern genomic methods allow for the identification of specific genes underlying migration as well as how they may be influenced by environmental selection. Moreover, modern genetic methods can be used to identify migrant populations at finer spatial scales and assess the potential for population-specific migration timing across species.
The goal of this study is to determine the drivers of differences in migratory timing between populations. Our hypothesis is that populations migrate at different times due to selection on genes relating to migratory timing, which differs between distinct breeding populations. We chose Common Yellowthroats as a study species due to their extensive breeding range and large collection of samples. We assessed key sites along the migratory corridor for population specific migratory timing. A survey of variation in genes linked to migratory behavior in other species was taken to assess the role of selection in migratory timing.
8. Evaluating the Effects of Climate Change on Yellow Warblers Using Telomeres as A Biomarker of Fitness
Marina Rodriguez, Colorado State University
The ability of populations to persist when faced with changing conditions depends on their capacity to adapt. Genomic vulnerability tells us how much allele frequencies need to change for populations to keep up with predicted changes in climate by 2050. In Yellow Warblers, the most vulnerable populations reside along the Rocky Mountains. These vulnerable populations are also currently undergoing population declines, suggesting that they may already be experiencing negative impacts from climate change. The relationship between genomic vulnerability and population trends is not conclusive, however, and a direct link between genomic vulnerability and fitness is needed to confirm that vulnerable populations are currently undergoing declines due to climate change. A biomarker that captures individual fitness is telomere shortening. Telomeres protect the chromosomes and shorten with age and stress. The correlation between telomere loss and survival in many species has led to telomere shortening rate being used as a fitness proxy in many studies. My proposed work will use telomere shortening to indicate fitness loss resulting from climate across Yellow Warbler range. The goal of my proposed work will be to develop biomarkers to test the hypothesis that high genomic vulnerability is correlated with current fitness.
9. Neotropical Reforestation & Avian Habitat Selection Dynamics in The Monteverde Reserve Complex, Costa Rica
Shane Way, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Habitat loss and degradation present leading mechanisms associated with global avian population decline. From a biodiversity lens, it is essential to investigate bird communities and their associated habitat-selection dynamics based on used-habitat vs available habitat in order to develop effective conservation plans. In our habitat-selection study, ten reforested sites of varying age were sampled in the Monteverde Reserve Complex, Costa Rica. Data were collected between February and May 2018. New forest-habitat structure varied since being reforested (2003, 2008, and 2011) and was compared to a climax forest. Avian species compositions varied with each successional class. Most migrants were detected in the youngest successional class. Our preliminary data suggests that migratory species may be frequently outcompeted for ideal habitat sites & forced into occupying lower quality, homogeneous, early succession forest habitat. This trend appears to be nonlinear, and only holds for the youngest successional habitats. Afterwards, there was no discernible difference when compared to uncut forest. The youngest reforestation class had greater total species abundance, richness and was the least heterogeneous. This suggests that early succession, homogeneous forest provides habitat for birds & may especially provide critical habitat to migratory birds.
10. The Use of Mitochondrial DNA To Indicate Movement and Interactions of Little Brown Bats to Evaluate the Spread of White Nose Syndrome
Robyn Hall, Fort Lewis College
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a newly emerging disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. Although WNS¬ has spread across the northeastern and midwestern US, it has not been detected in Colorado. Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) have experienced high mortality rates (>90%) in areas affected by WNS and is believed to be transmitted primarily through direct contact between bats. Understanding the movement and interactions of separate bat populations can provide insight into how Pd is dispersed across the landscape. The genetic structure of M. lucifugus populations in Colorado is not well understood. This limits our ability to predict how Pd will spread if introduced in Colorado. We used mtDNA markers to determine the population structure of separate populations and determined how genetic differences correspond to physiographic regions and topographic migration barriers. Based on multiple analyses, Colorado bats are most closely related to bats in the Northeastern US, indicating that there is some degree of population inter-connectedness between bats from these distinct geographic regions. These genetic patterns may result from historical distribution of M. lucifugus or current mixing of populations. The Rocky Mountains appear to be the predominant geographic barrier to population mixing in this species.
11. Bat Roosts Along Cliffs: Using Rock Climbing Surveys to Understand the Roosting Habitat of Bats Along the Front Range of Colorado
Michael Matthews, Colorado State University
Bats have been declining at an alarming rate because of white-nose syndrome and wind energy development. Massive mortality events from white-nose syndrome have been easy to identify at caves in mines in eastern North America. However, winter roosts with millions or thousands of bats are scarce in western North America; thus, documenting and responding to precipitous declines will be problematic for western land managers and biologists. An effort to identify where bats are roosting is the first step to conducting monitoring to assess such changes. One such effort is to identify bat roosts in cliff walls. Although many biologists understand bats use cliff systems, there have been few opportunities to identify such roosts without expensive telemetry research. An alternative is to collaborate with recreational rock climbers who know where bats roost, or to employ climbers to conduct surveys for bats. We conducted climber-based surveys in Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) and City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) to find roosting bats. Over approximately two months of surveying 50 climbing routes, climbers identified two roosts on OSMP lands and received a citizen-science record from JCOS lands.
12. Assessing Bison Activity at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge to Predict Potential Impacts on The Shortgrass Prairie
Bradley Hamilton, Regis University
Bison are keystone modifier species that help shape grassland ecosystems through behaviors such as grazing and wallowing. Within bison herds, large males dominate during the mating season. At the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge (RMNWR) in New Mexico, collecting baseline data on the bison herd will help managers evaluate the bison’s impact on short-grass prairie. We hypothesized that: (1) bison will be constrained by their energy budget and will spend more time grazing and resting (passive behaviors) than locomoting and mating (active behaviors); (2) mating success is related to body size; larger males will exhibit more mating behaviors compared to smaller males. We conducted 30-minute focal samples on male and female bison, marking their behavior every minute (17.5 total hours) and 30-minute all-occurrences sampling on mating and aggression behaviors (7.5 total hours). As predicted, the bison spent 46.27% more time exhibiting passive behaviors than active behaviors (p-value<0.001; 95% CI: 29.23-63.32%). Large males exhibited, on average, 1.87 more mating behaviors per sampling period than small males, but this difference was not significant (p-value=0.078). Overall, these findings will help RMNWR managers better use the bison and their energy budget for managing the shortgrass prairie and understand herd dominance dynamics.
13. The Impact of Variation in Metabolic Rate on Individual Foraging Behavior in European Honeybees
Julian Cassano, Colorado State University
The European Honeybee, Apis mellifera, is a eusocial insect in which specialized bees, or foragers, carry out the sole responsibility of gathering food for the rest of the colony. Previous research has successfully used optimality models, based in economic theory, to look at a bee’s energetics during a foraging flight and predict behavioral outcomes. Although it is understood that foraging behavior can be explained in terms of energetics, the relationship between a foragers metabolic rate and foraging behavior is not clear. Honeybees are known to exhibit consistent individual differences in metabolic rate, and metabolic theory suggests that metabolism can drive behavioral and life history traits. How metabolic rate affects foraging behavior in honeybees is still poorly understood. I will quantify the foraging behaviors of bees that have been artificially selected to exhibit varying metabolic phenotypes. If foraging behavior covaries with different metabolic phenotypes, metabolic rate must be an important constraint foraging behavior and therefore should have consequences on overall colony growth and survival.
14. Drivers of Year-To-Year Variation Insect Abundance and Diversity Along an Elevation Gradient
Kyle Kosinski, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Insect populations are in the midst of global decline. One key factor that may affect abundance in Colorado is snowpack. We sampled insects and ants from 20 different sites ranging in elevation in 2017, 2018 and 2019, years with varying snowpack. Specimens were classified by Order and species using a microscope and dichotomous keys. We performed statistical analysis using R package ‘vegan’ on richness, evenness and abundance. We found light, elevation and soil moisture to be critical factors affecting insects and ants, but these patterns between the three years had strong effects on family and species richness, abundance and diversity.
15. The Roles of Adaptation and Phenotypic Plasticity in Morphology and Performance of An Invasive Species in A Novel Environment
Marcel Kate Jardeleza, Colorado State University
Phenotypic plasticity, when a genotype can produce multiple phenotypes in response to the environment, may be a key survival strategy for invasive species. Invading organisms must cope with novel temperatures and growing research has suggested shifts in ectotherm species distribution due to climate change. Thus, understanding the adaptability of a plastic trait of an invasive species is important in understanding biological invasions in the face of climate change. My subject is an invasive species, Drosophila suzukii, which preliminary studies suggest increases in wing size with elevation. I hypothesize that the variation is due to plastic responses to the environment, genetic differentiation from environmental adaptations, or a combination of plasticity and population-level genetic differentiation where plasticity is either adaptive or non-adaptive. I collected flies from high and low elevations and used their descendants in a reciprocal environment experiment where the flies were reared in high and low elevational temperatures. I then analyzed wing size and number of offspring produced as a function of the source of the flies to determine which hypotheses is supported. Understanding the strategies that allow for species to establish in novel systems is important in creating methods of control and maintaining ecosystems.
16. Differential Effects of Phosphorus Fertilization on Plant Uptake and Rhizosphere Microbiome of Cultivated and Non-Cultivated Potatoes
Hugo A. Pantigoso Guevara, Colorado State University
There is evidence that shows that phosphorus (P) fertilization has a moderate effect on the rhizosphere microbial composition of cultivated crops. But how this effect is manifested on wild species of the same crop is not clear. This study compares the impact of phosphorus fertilization on rhizosphere bacterial community composition and its predicted functions, related to P-cycling genes, in both cultivated and non-cultivated potato (Solanum sp.) plants. It was found that the biomass of non-cultivated potatoes was more responsive to P fertilization as compared to cultivated plants. Differences in general bacterial community composition patterns under increasing P amendments were subtle for both potato groups. However, potato genotype significantly influenced community composition with several bacterial families being more abundant in the cultivated plants. In addition, the predicted phosphatases had lower abundances in modern cultivars compared to non-cultivated potatoes. In summary, despite higher accumulation of P solubilizing bacteria in the rhizosphere of cultivated plants the responsiveness of these plants to increase P levels was lower than in non-cultivated plants.
17. Nitrate (NO3-), Carbon Concentrations Are Important Predictors of Carbon Utilization Across A Broad Range of Soils
Torrey Stephenson, Colorado State University
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a large driver of global climate change. Soil microbes contribute a substantial fraction of atmospheric CO2 through emissions from respiration, but it is not well understood what drives microbial uptake of soil organic C, which causes respiration. To determine if edaphic factors such as soil pH, C:N ratio, soil organic carbon, or inorganic nitrogen (NO3-, NH4+) are significant predictors of differing C uptake, we compared CO2 emissions from seven soils in Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota that were either amended with aqueous organic carbon or DI water (control). These edaphic properties were measured for each soil, then soils from each site were divided and amended. CO2 emissions were measured after a 48-hour incubation period using a benchtop infrared gas analyzer. We found that CO2 emissions increased between 30% and 272% from the organic carbon amended soils compared to control soils. These differences in emissions measured between the two treatments indicate C utilization. NO3-:CO2 ratio, NO3- concentration, and % inorganic nitrogen as NO3- were all found to be positively correlated with C utilization. Further research of soil properties that influence C utilization can help inform land management strategies to mitigate the release of this gas to the atmosphere.
18. Recovery of Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling Post Drought in A Grassland System
Leena Vilonen, Colorado State University
Climate models predict an intensification of the hydrological cycle, with more arid regions forecast to become drier and experience more intense and widespread drought. Thus, there is a pressing scientific, economic and societal imperative to understand the impacts of intensifying drought on agricultural ecosystems, particularly those deemed most vulnerable to these events. This study sought to understand whether post-drought ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling is able to recover without intervention or if conservation efforts are needed. This experiment had three treatments: (1) ambient rainfall, (2) chronic drought (66% reduction in rainfall), and (3) intense drought (100% reduction for 60 days). To understand recovery of the carbon and nitrogen cycle in this experiment, we measured soil respiration, microbial respiration, total organic carbon/nitrogen, carbon and nitrogen mineralization and potential enzymatic activities of carbon and nitrogen cleaving enzymes monthly over the growing season. Our results indicated that both drought treatments are experiencing decreases in carbon cycling activity (soil respiration, enzymatic activity) at the beginning of the season but experienced quick recovery in ambient rainfall conditions.
19. Soil Aggregates – The Tiny Homes of Soil Organic Matter
Rebecca Even, Colorado State University
Soil is the largest terrestrial carbon (C) pool, storing C as soil organic matter (SOM). However, unsustainable agricultural practices have reduced SOM by 30-50%. To ensure food security and help mitigate climate change, we need to adopt management practices that regenerate SOM. One way is to increase soil structure by preserving aggregation. Aggregation is thought to promote SOM formation and protect it from further mineralization. Recently, our lab introduced a new paradigm proposing two different pathways of SOM. One pathway contributes distinctly to the formation of particulate organic matter (POM) from the decomposition of structural plant inputs while the second adds to the mineral associated organic matter (MAOM) from water soluble plant components and their microbial transformations. I aim to explore how aggregation affects both pathways to SOM formation and its protection as it has never been studied before. I will track SOM dynamics using isotopically enriched soluble and structural plant components in a yearlong incubation experiment. Results from this research will provide mechanistic understanding useful to improve larger scale SOM modeling and highlight how important soil structure is for soil productivity and climate change mitigation. All contributions will help inform decisions for sustainable soil management.
20. Not All Soil Carbon Is Made Equal: Understanding Differential Effects of Global Environmental Change on Soil Organic Matter Components
Katherine Rocci, Colorado State University
Understanding human influence on carbon (C) cycling is crucial for assessing stability of our ecosystems. Increasing or maintaining C storage is often cited as a way to prevent carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up in the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. Further, soil C represents the largest terrestrial C pool so understanding soil C is especially important for predicting future C dynamics. However, even after decades of researching soil C responses to global change, we have yet to reach consensus on responses to phenomena such as increasing temperatures and N pollution. To understand the stability of soil C in light of these global changes, we propose separating soil C into two distinct components: one that is associated with soil minerals and is thus more stable (mineral-associated organic matter; MAOM), and one that is not associated with minerals, and is thus less stable (particulate organic matter; POM). We will first survey the literature on responses of MAOM and POM to various global change factors to obtain baseline knowledge on this subject. This survey will then inform experiments determining which ecosystem properties are associated with changes in MAOM and POM. Greater understanding of these responses will allow us to more accurately forecast C cycling and inform land management for greater soil C storage.
21. Long-Term Seasonal Dynamics in Reservoir Surface Area Amid Rapid Urbanization. A Case Study of Fossil Creek Reservoir, Fort Collins, Colorado
Melak Senay, Fossil Ridge High School
The Fossil Creek Reservoir (FCR), constructed in 1902, is surrounded by the FCR Natural Area which was established by the City of Fort Collins in 1998 to protect wildlife and prevent urbanization. The FCR is designed to meet several objectives by storing and releasing water for agriculture, municipality, and habitats. We quantified seasonal surface area dynamics for FCR using Landsat 5 (1985-2011) satellite data. The Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) was applied in Google Earth Engine to quantify water surface area changes. A total of 725 images were processed to produce monthly NDWI values. The Water Surface Area of the FCR was determined by counting the pixels that were greater than the 0.3 NDWI threshold. Zonal summary statistics of the reservoir area were summarized in Microsoft Excel. The seasonality of the reservoir area was calculated as the mean surface area value for each month over 27 years. The seasonality exhibited a maximum water area of 3.7*106 m2 (906 acres) occurring in January and a minimum in September with 1.5*106 m2 (382 acres). The September surface area was 58% lower than the maximum, suggesting a strong use of stored water for irrigation over the summer. Such analysis is useful to understand the behavior of an important water body like FCR and monitor if it meets its intended use over the years.
22. Applications of High-Frequency Monitoring Networks for Water Quality
Natalie Schmer, Colorado State University
Direct monitoring and rapid communication of water quality is important to ensure ecosystem and public health. Water quality directly controls aquatic organism health and impacts water use for drinking, municipalities, and recreation. Following a large fish kill in the Cache La Poudre River in summer 2018, the City of Fort Collins partnered with Colorado State University and In-Situ, inc. to implement a high-frequency water quality monitoring network using in-situ sensors. A network such as this allows for continuous and real-time monitoring of water quality through space and time, allowing for rapid response to changing hydrologic conditions. The sensor data can be used to understand how the river is changing, as well as an early warning system of water quality change to prevent and respond to future problems like fish kills. For example, we can see sharp changes in river metabolism as the river flows through the city, highlighting how human induced land use change (eg. agriculture and urbanization) impact the ecosystem and water quality. Possible future research using this data include how dissolved oxygen is impacted from flow alteration and differing magnitudes of flow events, how salinity is influenced based on watershed land use, and how flowpaths affect the timing and transport of pollutants with regards to runoff.
23. A Shared Imaging and Analysis Center to Accelerate Root Ecological Research At CSU
Kevin Lehner, Colorado State University
Generating high quality measurements of plant features is a limiting factor in plant ecological research. This has led to sensor and image-based phenotyping becoming hot topics in plant biology. There are many labs at CSU that are working to understand the ecology of roots as well as the genetics underlying root architecture, yet traits associated with plant root systems remain particularly challenging to measure. This is due to both the largely underground nature of roots and the complexity of these structures. In 2018, GDPE contributed funds to develop a washing station in the Plant Growth Facilities (PGF) to clean and process excavated roots. Last year, we purchased equipment to open a new Plant Imaging Center in the PGF, funded by GDPE. This facility will simplify the analysis of roots and other plant structures, using traditional tools and new image-based phenotyping approaches. The Plant Imaging Center is in the north section of the PGF, in Room 111. We will be hosting a spring open house in late February. The facility currently houses a large format scanner with root analysis software, a camera-based system for taking images of root systems from multiple angles, scales, and a stereo microscope equipped with a camera. Please contact Kevin Lehner (email@example.com) for more information and access.