Structural Elements

Our study site comprises an area of ~3,000 sq meters and it is located in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Within this area research and monitoring elements are classified at two main levels: site level and plot level in the horizontal plane, and canopy and understory levels in the vertical axis.  The site is divided into 20 x 20 meter quadrants to facilitate orientation, sensor and equipment placement, and vegetation monitoring through time.  

Our experimental site is behind the US Forest Service - Sabana Field Research Station to facilitate power supply. Power lines extend from the Station to the forest and into our experimental plots. 

TRACE Power Lines.

(Video credit: Iana Grullón-Penkova)

Experimental Plots

 

We have three control plots and three warmed plots, 6 total. In the warmed plots heaters have been installed on crossbars connected to posts at each of the six corners of the hexagonal plot. In the control plots identical infrastructure to the warm plots has been installed, with the exception of the heaters, which were substituted with dummy panels.  

 

Plots are:  

  • hexagonal shape 

  • approximately 12 sq m in area 

TRACE Experimental plots seen from above.

(Video credit: Maxwell Farrington)

Warmed Plot

Infrared panels sit on top of the crossbars and are commanded by individual control panels.  

Control Plot

Same structure and instruments. 

Heaters replaced by dummy panels. 

Canopy Access Tower

 

We have installed a canopy access tower at the site for plant physiological studies. The 24 meter tall  tower enables us to warm individual branches and leaves in the forest canopy.  In combination with the warming treatment these methods enable an integrated understanding of canopy and soil responses to warming.

TRACE Canopy Access Tower.

(Video credit: Maxwell Farrington)

TRACE Canopy Access Tower
Leaf warming from canopy access tower