let me start off by saying that I have very little experience conducting canopy research. I am a college student and I would like to do some research on my own in the canopies of southern Ohio on my own since i can't work for anyone doing research because I am still working on my degree and have little field experience. There are thousands of trees all around where I am. I was wondering if I could get some suggestions or advice on what I could try and find out. I need a research project or an idea for one that I can do in a limited amount of time (3-6 months) roughly.
I may be able to extend that time period. I fully plan on funding the entire project, but that isn't saying much considering the broke college kid thing. Please please leave some suggestions or ideas or advice or any helpful information. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I would make sure you know how to climb safely first (either by taking a Basic Tree Climbing Class from a local instructor, or by signing up for the TCI At Home Basic Class), and then get your basic gear together (TCI has a great recommended package which is expandable down the road as you get more experience). And then--while you're out there in the canopy practicing your climbing--just look, listen, smell, take pictures, and take notes about things you wonder. Once questions start popping up for you, you will almost certainly find yourself having to trim down your list of research ideas. The trees are full of unanswered (and unasked) questions!
ps: If you've got a friend or fellow student who also wants to explore the trees, even better. You can be each others climbing buddies and research assistants! Two people can come up with way more than twice the ideas when they work together!
Last edit: 5 years 6 months ago by Tree-D. Reason: add buddy suggestion
This would be my fantasy southern Ohio research project:
Pick out a relatively small area of woods for the study, say 100 x 100 yards Map it as a grid, inventory the tree species, measure trunk circumference at chest height (CBH at 4.5'). Note geologic, topographic and soil type features. Note understory make up (species mix, characteristics). Ok, with this baseline plan your study focus.
Observe native breeding birds from May thru July, Observe nesting, foraging and other behaviors in the canopy. Are there differences in the species mix and behavior in the crowns of mature large trees in your plot vs. younger successional trees. Can you draw conclusions about preferences, habitat etc.? Do birds from other territories (not nesting or controlling territory in your plot) visit to forage? Which species and age trees attract which birds, is there a difference? Look for nest parasitism and nest predation by other avian species, any patterns to note in regard to different age and size trees?
To extend the study July thru September observe what happens with post-breeding dispersal, are there new bird species moving through your study plot? Which trees are they attracted to?
To do this you would want to spend many hours sitting up in the forest canopy observing and taking notes, sounds horrible! You would need a pair of binoculars and the interest to learn woodland bird species. In my experience there is nothing more conducive to learning about birds than hanging out in trees!
I am very interested in birds and bugs. But I would be open to any subject.
I forgot to mention I do have all the gear to climb safely. I've been climbing for just over a year. I have a few friends down here that climb too so we usually go in groups of three or four.
I think I am a pretty efficient climber too. I've done some tree camping with 4 point hammocks and tarps, nothing fancy.
I love your ideas Moss !! That's what I am looking for. and more like it. thank you !
Last edit: 5 years 6 months ago by travelingmuskrat.