In construction!!!!! ***************************************************************
Our former PhD student and currently collaborator of AFEX and postdoc at the AmazonFACE experiment, Laynara Lugli, has just published an interesting Commentary on New Phytologist (https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.16366), discussing the exciting findings of a paper published by Smith-Martin et al 20019 (hiperlink aqui de novo pro paper? https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.16275 ). The commentary points out that we need to revisit some of old and well-established theories in ecology, such as a simple question of how trees allocate biomass above and belowground. Laynara also points to the fact that by mixing simple tools (shovels, picks) and more modern approaches (data modelling) scientists can “answer new questions, but come back to the root of some concepts and (…) tackle old theories from different perspectives”.
On Friday (May 22) we had another biogeochemical encounter with the presentation made by the researcher Iain Hartley of the University of Exeter. Iain is one of the top coordinators of the AFEX project and he told us a bit about the carbon cycle research he is doing in the Northern Hemisphere. With the titles: “The impacts of fire and permafrost on carbon fluxes in boreal forest ecosystems” and “An introduction to current FACE experiments in the UK”.
On Friday (May 25) we had another biogeochemical encounter with the presentation made by the researcher Iain Hartley of the University of Exeter. Iain is one of the top coordinators of the AFEX project and he told us a bit about the carbon cycle research he is doing in the Northern Hemisphere. With the titles: “The impacts of fire and permafrost on carbon fluxes in boreal forest ecosystems” and “An introduction to current FACE experiments in the UK”.
In May 4th the UTE 2019 (Unifying Tropical Ecology) symposium took place in Edinburgh. It was organized a session titled “Nutrient limitations in tropical forests – do expectations match results? From soil microbes to plant productivity” by Dr. Kelly Andersen (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Dr. Laëtitia Bréchet and Dr. Lucia Fuchslueger (University of Antwerp, Belgium), with the participation of other amazing scientists like Dr. Joe Wright. They talked about nutrient addition experiments in the neotropics, including AFEX. Dr. Jim Dalling (University of Illinois, USA) wrote up a blog article at the Journal of Ecology Blog about this session organised at the recent British Ecological Society Tropical Ecology meeting in Edinburgh.
In May, AFEX had an extensive field of 15 days for the annual census of the forest inventory, and the dynamics of the forest were verified. Other censuses were made in 2017 and 2018 as well. With the help of the team counting on Thiago Mouzinho and Renan (great volunteers from INPA and UFAM), Sara, Fernanda and Valeria Scura del Hierro (awesome Italian researcher that volunteered to help us on the field).
AFEX is joining with other members of the biogeochemistry laboratory at the European Geoscience Union (EGU 2019) in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Laynara Lugli is presenting a banner entitled “Experimental evidence for multiple nutrients constraining fine root functioning in a lowland tropical rainforest in central Amazon”. Success Lay!!!
At the end of the week (April 17), the AFEX made the annual campaign of soil sample collections. This is one of the most important campaigns of our group, the objective is to analyze soil data with and without biomass of microorganisms, in addition to monitoring soil nutrient levels. This work demands speed to be collected and analyzed in one day only, requiring the effort of 13 people divided into working groups in the field and in the laboratory. GO GO AFEX !!
On March 19th we had a seminar at PDBFF/INPA entitled “The role of limiting plants and microorganisms in a forest in central Amazonia” given by our newest Dr. Laynara Lugli by AFEX and the University of Exeter, England. The lecture was about some of her results obtained in her doctorate, talking about roots, mycorrhizae and their interactions with nitrogen, phosphorus, and cations in the Amazon forest. It was a hit, with a full room! Thank you, Lay, and come back soon!
We also had our master student Nivia Bianca invited to participate in the Ecology of physical Environment and ecosystems seminar for Biological Sciences students at the University of the State of Amazonas (UEA). She explained her dissertation on reproductive responses of trees in the area of fertilization through phenological observation, to explain how abiotic factors, in this case, soil nutrition, can affect the biotic environment, in addition to publicizing the AFEX project. Thank you, Nivia!
On the 14th of March we had our second AFEX qualifying class, by the student Felipe Antonieto! The presentation was entitled “Effect of nutritional limitation of soil performance, establishment and herbivory of seedlings in a mature forest of Central Amazonia” under the guidance of Dr. Beto Quesada and Rafael Assis. Obtaining unanimous approval and many contributions to improving work. Congratulations and success, Felipe!
Today (March 11) we had our first AFEX qualification class of the year with our master student Lara Siebert. The presentation entitled “Effects of nutrient addition on functional characteristics of canopy trees in a mature forest in Central Amazonia”, under the guidance and of Dr. Beto Quesada and Dr. Kelly Andersen unanimous approval and many contributions from the referees, a total success. Congratulations Lara!
We are happy to announce that you can now call Laynara Lugli <Dr. Lugli>, first PhD in AFEX!! Yesterday (March 8) she defended her thesis entitled “Dynamics and biological interactions of phosphorus cycling in Central Amazonian forests”, with the goal of investigating soil phosphorus cycling, a well-known limiting nutrient to tropical forests, and how this process affects and is affected by plants and microorganisms. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Presentation of data!
Today (March 3) we had our return of lab biogeochemistry encounters with our AFEX member MSc. Anna Martins. She presented data from one year of litterfall productions and nutrients availability, full of graphs and enlightening discussions! Go AFEX!
NEW ARTICLE FROM AFEX
ATTENTION, PLEASE! We proudly present you our first AFEX publication by our PhD student Laynara Lugli et al.!! In their new paper, Lugli et al. 2019 show that plants growing on low-fertility soils in central Amazon display trade-offs between investments in roots morphological adaptations and enzyme exudation in order to acquire phosphorus (P) from soils. However, plants also associate with arbuscular mycorrhizas independently of root morphology, suggesting that plants invest in multiple P-uptake strategies for maintaining productivity in these forests.
New interns arrived!
Bruna Valença was our awesome volunteer intern who came all the way from Rio through the ICMBio edict. She was featured in the @florestal_brasil instagram page, spreading some of our work! She also talked a little bit about her experience with AFEX project: “to be able to participate in the Afex project as a volunteer, it was certainly the best experience of my graduation. It was where I could work with things that I never imagined, such as fertilizing the Amazon rainforest and helping to evaluate the dynamics of the same through the activities of soil respiration, dendrometers, growth and herbivory of seedlings and collection and sorting of litter. I hope that the experiment continue to happen because it is a very promising project both for those who have already been part, those who will do and for Brazilian science.”
Carolina Silva was one of our awesome volunteer interns that came to AFEX this year. She came from São Paulo, also through the ICMBio edict. She talked about her experience with the AFEX project below: “The experience of being a volunteer at AFEX has helped to broaden my knowledge about research in development and the gaps that can still be studied in relation to the Amazonian forest. It also complemented part of my academic training related to the learning of field techniques and teamwork. At the entrance to the field, I had the opportunity to participate in research on phenology, soil respiration and tree growth! The daily contact with the forest gave me some questions and it was where the theory of graduation began to be really assimilated and in that process it was essential the presence of the researcher assisting in the reasoning. thank you for the unique opportunity and success all involved in the project. “
Organization of forest inventory exsiccates
Researchers working on more than eighteen hundred samples of exsiccates collected in the field of AFEX in our sorting lab/ INPA. All were organized with lots of hard team work effort.
Big data collection on the field!
In October we had our most challenging AFEX field campaign, the photosynthesis and respiration campaign (Oct / 18): 20 days in the field, 13 people with 3 teams, 2 climbers (many ups and downs), 1 car, 3 working licors , 263 trees measured, a lot of hard work, and scienceee! This field helped collect data from our amazing master student Lara Sieberts and doctoral student Hellen Fernanda Cunha, commanded by our incredible researcher kelly Andersen!
Jéssica Campos’s Masters Presentation
Anna Carolina Martins Moraes’s Masters Presentation
Jessica Rosa’s Masters Presentation
Jéssica Rosa was one of our master students and defended her master’s degree entitled “The importance of nutrient availability for a ground carbon dynamics in Central Amazon”. In her masters, she worked with data collections from the belowground and had the opportunity to get to know a little about the universe of fine roots and mycorrhizae in Central Amazonia. We collected the biomass of fine roots for a year, analyzed their morphology, colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizae and, in addition, we also observed the flow of carbon dioxide emitted by each of these parts. The result of this research is still being analyzed, but in summary, we can see that different strategies for nutrient absorption have different nutritional limitations.
Qualification class of PhD student Hellen Fernanda
Amanda Longhi’s Masters Presentation
Amanda was one of our master students and defended her master’s degree entitled “Fine root dynamics in terra firme forests in central Amazonia” and analyzed 14,580 images of the mini-rhizotron to study the dynamics of fine roots in the two areas, one being AFEX. It was the first time a mini rhizotron was installed in Brazil! She analyzed the deepest roots of the soil (> 30cm) and found that they account for much of the below-ground biomass and productivity.
AFEX annual encounter that happened in 2018. All the students presented their data and talked with the PIs to discuss about the data analysis.
Congrats to all the field team(s) and students on their hard work to get the monitoring equipment installed and forest inventory under way!
Jessica has been leading the way on installing soil collars to monitor respiration of roots, mycorrhizal hyphae and soil microbes!
Amanda successfully installed mini-rhizotron tubes to monitor root dynamics in the soil and within the surface litter layer of the control and phosphorus addition treatment plots.
Congratulations to Hellen Fernanda who passed her PhD interview for the CFT program at INPA. We are very excited that Fernanda will continue to work with AFEX and lead her own research looking at carbon use efficiency.
AFEX is officially an experiment! The team has successfully applied fertilizer treatments to all plots and installed our fancy new signs. We are so proud of the entire AFEX team and especially the team members in the field carrying out the real work. It is an enormous achievement to set up an experiment at this scale in the Amazon tropical forest. Stay tuned as we shift gears to monitoring the responses to the nutrient treatments.
We also want to congratulate our master’s student, Amanda Longhi, for her collaborative work with colleagues in the AmazonFACE project examining root dynamics using mini-rhizotrons in a novel way to quantify an important root layer in low nutrient tropical forests: the root mat. What is a root mat? It is all the roots that cover the ground growing in the surface leaf litter, likely giving these roots first access to nutrients as the leaves decompose. Read more about the exciting developments in their research on the New Phytologist blog.
The whole AFEX team is busy preparing fertilizers for the first round of treatment applications. Soon, we will officially have 8 treatments with a control, and nitrogen, phosphorus, cations (potassium, calcium, magnesium) added in a completely factorial experimental design replicated in four independent blocks.
Final preparations before fertilizations treatments begin. First a pre-fertilization soil survey campaign. Thanks to the whole biogeochemistry lab for their efforts in making the soils sampling happen.
March was an exciting month at AFEX. We got *bigger* and *better*!
We welcomed Dr. Rafael Assis, Ana Cláudia Francisco Salomão, and Benedito Sergio Medeiro da Silva to the AFEX team. We are also excited to announce our new project partners Projeto Dinâmica Biológica de Fragmentos Florestais (PDBFF). We are looking forward to new directions at AFEX with our bigger team of scientists, students, and collaborators.
Congratulations to all four AFEX master’s students in the CFT program at INPA for passing their qualifying exams! We are looking forward to your contributions in making AFEX better with each of your projects. Read more about their research here.
***Updated job openings***
We have added a Research Technician role to the openings available early 2017.
We are hiring! We are looking for highly qualified researchers at various academic levels to fill three positions within the project by February 2017. We are hiring a Senior Researcher (updated) and two Research Assistants (updated) to work within our dynamic research community of students, local and international researchers. Apply now and join us!
Check out Laynara Lugli’s recent guest post on the British Ecological Society’s Tropical Ecology Group website.
Congratulations to two of our AFEX students, Amanda Longhi and Jessica Schmeisk, and the AFEX field team for completing the first full soil respiration campaign. We will be monitoring the contribution of soil microbes, mycorrhiza, and roots to belowground soil C efflux with nutrient addition. Check out the time-lapse video by Jessica and Amanda
Beto Quesada kicks off “Encontros Biogeoquimicos” bringing together AFEX, AmazonFACE, and additional colleagues to share and discuss research about tropical soils and Amazon ecosystem ecology.
We packed in a preliminary canopy photosynthesis campaign, the 1st annual AFEX project meeting, and the base-line soils campaign! Phew. Thanks to all AFEX participants and INPA colleagues for making this possible.
Fresh from her recent Ph.D. upgrade, Laynara Lugli led the AFEX field team on the first root in-growth core collection to measure fine root production in the AFEX plots.
Congratulations to Laynara Lugli, who has passed the upgrade requirements and is now an official PhD student. Stay tuned for her excellent work from her thesis entitled “Dynamics and biological interactions of phosphorus cycling in Central Amazonian forests”.
Happy New Year! The AFEX team is back in the field continuing installations-the crew is busy installing equipment for belowground monitoring.
Working hard, AFEX team members install plastic band dendrometers on a subset of trees across four diameter size-classes in all 32 plots.
Our first set of installations have been completed! Aboveground and ground litter traps will allow us to monitor fine litter fall.