Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS)

Savanna at plot 8

The University of Florida hosts the NEON OSBS site at their Ordway-Swisher Biological Station in north-central Florida. Andrew Rappe, the Assistant Director, gave us an orientation to the site.

The OSBS occupies undulating sands associated with ancient shorelines.  Sandhills, swales, and solution depressions support a mix of savanna, successional hardwoods, riparian, and aquatic communities.  High water levels at the time of our sampling followed a multi-year drought.  Some of the NEON plots established in those years were entirely submerged in June 2018.

A regular burn schedule has restored longleaf pine savanna to much of the uplands.  Dense hardwoods with a diverse understory occupy unburned mesic areas.

Quercus geminata, Q. hemispherica

We sampled seven NEON sites, omitting two that were submerged and one that was scheduled for to burn this summer. We set seed traps, measured the inner 20×20 meter trees, and outer 40×40 meter SW corner trees.  Seed traps were located along the SW margin of 20×20 plots.

Plot 1 is riparian swamp with an overstory that includes Quercus geminata, Pinus taeda, Gordonia lasianthus, and Magnolia virginiana. The understory is dominated by palmetto (Serenoa repens).  Vitis vines up to 10 cm diameter extend over parts of the canopy indicating absence of fire.

Plot 2 is an open pine savanna, with Quercus laevis and mixed understory.

Plot 3 is a xeric, dense stand, dominated by Quercus hemispherica, Q. nigraand Q. geminata. The large Pinus palustris trees are scarred from turpentine taps.

Plot 4 is an open Pinus palustris stand in the center 20 x 20m. It is surrounded by dense Quercus geminata, especially in the Southwest corner where we conducted an additional census.

Plot 6 is an open Pinus palustris stand that is to be burned in the summer of 2018. For this reason, seed traps and the tree census were not established this year.

Plot 7 is an open Pinus palustris and Quercus geminata stand. The understory is open due to a recent burn.

Plot 08 is an open Pinus palustris and Quercus laevis savanna. The understory was just beginning to grow back from a burn in spring of 2018.

Plots 5, 22, and 23 were not sampled, being now submerged.

Maps above show trees sampled by NEON, DUKE, and locations of six seed traps. USDA species codes are used.  On plot 1 the NEON trees are not shown yet.

OSBS Plot 1
OSBS Plot 2
OSBS Plot 3
OSBS Plot 4
OSBS Plot 6
OSBS Plot 7
OSBS Plot 8

Field Researchers

Don't miss these other field sites:

Soaproot Saddle (SOAP)

Soaproot Saddle is part of the Sierra National Forest and managed by the Forest Service. Jessica Bolis, NEON domain manager, facilitated access to the plots.

Wind River Experimental Forest (WREF)

The Wind River Experimental Forest, north of the Columbia River River Gorge and part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, has been studied by the USFS since 1908.

Yellowstone (YELL)

Parent materials combine a history of volcanism, faulting, and glaciation. The park remains seismically active, with frequent earthquakes and many hydrothermal features. Vegetation includes a mosaic of forest, sagebrush-steppe and riparian bottomlands.

Treehaven (TREE)

The 560-ha Treehaven Forest lies within the northern Great Lakes region south of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Operated by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, this site focuses on natural resource education.

Bartlett Forest (BART)

Bartlett Experimental Forest (BART), located in the White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, is managed as the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

Harvard Forest (HARV)

Sampling at Harvard Forest includes long term plots established by our lab in 2012 and new efforts located at NEON plots.

Mountain Lake Biological Station (MLBS)

Mountain Lake Biological Station is located in the Southern Appalachians of Southwest Virginia. This field site is administered through the University of Virginia. The NEON plots extend from mixed decidious forests to pine plantations.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is located south of Annapolis, MA. Formally farmland, this coastal plain forest sits on the western shore of the Chesapeake bay. The 1070-ha site is operated by the Smithsonian Institute.

Talladega National Forest (TALL)

The Talladega NEON site is located within the Oakmulgee Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest. This rolling terrain is part of the Fall Line Hills of the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain. In the 1800’s this area was heavily logged, but since the 1980’s the Forest Service has worked on restoring this area back to the Longleaf Savannah ecosystem.

Disney Wilderness Preserve (DSNY)

Formerly ranchland, the Disney Wilderness Preserve has been restored to Pine savanna under ownership of The Nature Conservancy. Previously, most of the preserve consisted of flatwoods open to cattle and excluded from fire.

Niwot Ridge (NIWO)

Niwot Ridge is an LTER site administered through University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)at their Mountain Research Station. NEON sites extend from P. contorta and subalpine spruce-fir to above treeline.

Our Partners

PBGJAM is a collaborative project with financial and logistical support from the following partners