Last month I was on a two week camping trip in Glacier Bay National Park collecting data from thirty-year-old study plots. We measured and counted the same things (tree diameters, number of alder stems) that we did in 1988, 1989, or 1990. I brought home lots of new data to compare to the old data, and also brought home 1600 new photographs.
The photos are of four types: repeat photos of the study plots, natural history, scenery, and photos of the field crew trying to look like it’s not raining.
Repeat photos. The study plots (10 x 15 meters) are marked with corner stakes and 30 years ago I started placing a tripod over one of these stakes and taking a photo pointed at another corner stake. This makes it easy to take the same photo sometime later. I now have repeat photos from plots at all 10 of the study sites (but not at all 10 of the plots at each site).
I want to make these “before and after” photos available for viewing, but there are a lot of them and it’s a big job to make them accessible and easily viewable. Below is one nice way to display them, but that slider plugin for WordPress displays low resolution versions of the photos, fails to display on some devices, and is a bit janky.
Above: York Creek (Site 8), Plot 2, SE corner to NE corner, June 1990 and June 2021
Above: York Creek (Site 8), Plot 1, NE corner to NW corner, June 1990 and June 2021
Above: Beartrack Cove (Site 9), Plot 2, SE corner to SW corner, June 1990 and June 2021
Above: Beartrack Cove (Site 9), Plot 1, SE corner to NE corner, June 1990 and June 2021
The photo pairs above from two of the older study sites (ice-free about 1820-1840) include a 1990 Kodachrome slide (the smaller image) and this year’s version from a DSLR.
All of the photo pairs from these two sites show a similar increasing importance of blueberry shrubs (mostly Vaccinium ovalifolium) and saplings and young trees of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). Our data from the 10 study plots could quantify how the understory community at these sites is changing (but I have barely started organizing the photos, much less the data).
Natural history photos. I took a lot of photos of plants and have posted several dozen at iNaturalist. I have also posted iNaturalist observations from my 2018 and 2019 trips to Glacier Bay. Depending on how “Glacier Bay” is defined, I am the number four or number one iNaturalist observer at Glacier Bay.
Brian apparently holds the record for his observation in Glacier Bay of the northernmost Adiantum aleuticum (western maidenhair fern) in the (iNaturalist) world, but he is way, way down at number 20 on the list of observers in the Glacier Bay Wilderness with a paltry three observations. We might want to bring this to the attention of the big city Explorer’s Club and suggest maybe reevaluating their membership criteria.
If you click on “Map” at the iNaturalist link above you can see that my observations are mostly near the 10 study sites between Muir Glacier and Bartlett Lake.
Scenery photos. I took some photos of scenery. The scenery itself is much nicer than my photos, but I keep trying. You can click or touch all the photos here to enlarge them.
Field crew photos. Our field crew earned the name Team Terrific. I wrote two months ago that if we got five happy and healthy people to 50 study plots it would be a miracle. In fact, we sampled 60 plots in 15 days and I think most of us were almost as happy as I was. That works out to about 120% of a miracle.