Since 2011 we have been conducting research at Mount St. Helens, working on two major collaborative projects:
- In collaboration with the USFS, Dr. Carri LeRoy and her students are studying biota in streams in the blast zone. These streams were formed in brand new locations after the eruption in 1980, and can differ dramatically based on a combination of chance, geochemistry, and topography. Contact Dr. Carri LeRoy for more information on this project.
- What happens to plants covered by ash and rock? We work in forests affected by the eruption! These tephra impacted sites are old-growth forests and adjacent clear-cuts that were dumped on with between 2-15 cm of ash and rock in 1980. Drs. Don Zobel (Oregon State University) and Joe Antos (University of Victoria) established plots right after the blast, and they have been measuring ever since. The long-term research plots have been measured and maintained since 1980 at a series of sites with different tephra depths. In 2016, our lab took the reins on measurement of the plant community recovery at these sites, and we hope to continue into the future. Our next measurement will be following the 40-year anniversary of the blast! Contact Dr. Dylan Fischer for more on this project.
- -Drs. Dylan Fischer and Abir Biswas have also been working with Zobel and Antos to establish new projects examining soils (carbon, nitrogen, mercury, weathering) that have formed on top of the tephra deposits. Contact Dr. Abir Biswas (mercury, weathering) or Dr. Dylan Fischer (carbon, nitrogen) for more on this exciting new topic.
These are beautiful sites. Come out and see the mountain with us!