Field Sites and Facilites
Lakes and Streams
We are fortunate to have many excellent field facilities close to campus. Much of our field sampling is done in lakes and streams throughout Ohio. Acton Lake is our main long-term field site, located in Hueston Woods State Park just 8 km north of Miami's campus. Acton is a highly productive (eutrophic) reservoir with a watershed dominated by agricuulture. Many of our other study lakes are located in state parks, such as Burr Oak, which has relatively low productivity and is located in a primarily forested watershed.
At both Acton and Burr Oak lakes, we have automated samplers that greatly facilitate our long-term and high-intensity field research. Discharge (flow) is continously monitored on three Acton streams and one Burr Oak stream. In addition, automated samplers take water samples from each of these streams, as well as outflows of both lakes. Such high-frequency sampling greatly facilities our ability to quantify nutrient and sediment loading in these highly dynamic systems. For examples of research utilizing the automated samplers and our long-term research, see Vanni et al. 2006a, Vanni et al. 2006b and Vanni et al. 2001.
Experimental Field Facilities
Many of our field experiments are conducted at Miami's Ecology Research Center (ERC), an excellent field station located just 5 km from Miami's campus and about 5 km from Acton Lake. The ERC contains 6 lined experimental ponds (about 750 m2 and 2 m deep), which can be divided in half to give 12 large-scale replicate ecosystems. In addition, the ERC houses an outdoor mesocosm facility; we have 24 outdoor tanks that are about 2 m deep and 2 m diameter and can hold about 5000 liters. For an example of an experiment conducted in the mesocosms, see Glaholt et al. (2005).
These experimental facilities provide a means to conduct highly controlled field experiments at realistic scales. These experiments comprise an integral part of our research and complement our whole-ecosystem studies. Our experimental research at the ERC is facilitated by its close proximity to both the Miami campus and Acton Lake. Indeed, we have conducted several experiments for which we have transported Acton Lake water (and even sediments) to the ponds and mesocosms.
In addition to outstanding field facilities, we have excellent lab facilities on Miami's main (Oxford) campus.