Spring into Science! Tree Spotters and TreeVersity at the MIT Citizen Science Fair

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
February 19, 2018

Spring into Science! Tree Spotters and TreeVersity at the MIT Citizen Science Fair

MIT citizen science fair

At the Arboretum and across the globe, volunteers are challenging the notion that science happens behind closed doors. Citizen scientists—individuals who contribute their time and efforts towards observation and data collection—are transforming the nature of scientific discovery through their collaborative efforts with professional researchers. Around the world, citizen scientists work alongside professionals in fields ranging […]

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Focus on Phenology: Founder’s Fancies

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
May 12, 2017

Focus on Phenology: Founder’s Fancies

Ribes aureum (Golden Currant)

Phenology–the study of the seasonal rhythm of plants and animals–is a science with deep roots in cultural practices throughout human history. Modern research examines trends in phenological data to help us understand our changing climate, but observation of the timing of biological events has long served social and economic purposes outside the realm of scientific […]

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Focus on Phenology: April Ephemera

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
April 14, 2017

Focus on Phenology: April Ephemera

Crocus vernus (Spring Crocus, Giant Crocus)

Arboretum visitors are not the only ones enjoying this week’s early spring sunshine. Across the grounds, swaths of colorful spring ephemerals have poked their parts above the soil to take advantage of unobstructed access to sunlight. These perennial woodland wildflowers produce stems, leaves and flowers well before the leafing-out of woody understory and canopy species. […]

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Focus on Phenology: Spring Unsprung

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
March 7, 2017

Focus on Phenology: Spring Unsprung

Honey bee visiting Ozark Witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)

Can you remember February 24, a balmy 73 degree day that brought flocks of visitors to the Arboretum? In the ample sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures, it felt as though spring had suddenly arrived on the grounds. And indeed, with a week-long spate of warm weather came swelling buds, early-blooming perennials, and honey bees buzzing […]

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Focus on Phenology: What’s Eating You?

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
January 3, 2017

Focus on Phenology: What’s Eating You?

Fagus grandifolia (American Beech)

There is a slumbering subterranean fire in nature which never goes out, and which no cold can chill. -Henry David Thoreau, A Winter Walk (1843) Winter is upon us, and what better way to beat the indoor-blues than with a crisp afternoon walk through the Arboretum? While autumn’s hues have come and gone, a world […]

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Focus on Phenology: Midsummer Marvels

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
July 29, 2016

Focus on Phenology: Midsummer Marvels

Legumes and loments, cypselas and capsules, samaras and schizocarps! Fruits (in the botanic sense) come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, many of which can be found growing inconspicuously among the shady canopies of the Arboretum. These hot and hazy summer days mark a critical transition period, as fertilized flowers transform slowly and […]

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Focus on Phenology: Captivating Clones

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
May 31, 2016

Focus on Phenology: Captivating Clones

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love.       […]

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Focus on Phenology: Leafing Out

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
May 6, 2016

Focus on Phenology: Leafing Out

Forsythias, magnolias, and cherries are blooming in every corner of the Arboretum. Tall white tufts of serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) reach out from conifer stands, and redbud branches burst with pink blossoms. Dogwoods, azaleas, and lilacs prepare for their annual show. With the world awash in floral hues, it’s easy to forget the most important of spring’s colors: green. […]

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Focus on Phenology: Early Shows and Late Snows

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
April 11, 2016

Focus on Phenology: Early Shows and Late Snows

Magnolia x loebneri (Loebner Magnolia) and Magnolia 'Elizabeth'

Here in New England, springtime can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. A bout of 60-degree days, t-shirts and sun can suddenly become a week-long cold snap and a half-foot of wet snow. This year, between the 3rd and 6th of March, Boston experienced a temperature fluctuation of 56 degrees! Less than two weeks later, the temperature had plunged […]

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Focus on Phenology: Prescient Pollination

by Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab
March 22, 2016

Focus on Phenology: Prescient Pollination

Corylus heterophylla var. sutchuenensis (Szechuan Filbert)

It’s the first week of spring, and with the promise of longer days and warmer temperatures comes the annual plight of the allergy sufferer. Look carefully, and you’ll see the earliest flush of flowers dangling whimsically throughout the Arboretum. Perhaps you’ve wondered why some trees begin their reproductive cycles so early in spring, before hardly an insect has shown up to work, so to […]

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