It has been a busy week in the field! We have started the pluck. The pluck. Our team has been preparing for this but I really had no idea the complexity of the actual "pluck." The first step to the infamous pluck is to go to the field and take a quadrat of earth. This is done with a "butter" knife, according to Dr. Bret-Harte, but they are actually quite sharper than a butter knife. Once the metal quadrat is in place and oriented, what is in the quadrat and what is out of the quadrat is determined. Only plants within the quadrat limits are collected. Then the cutting begins. To be honest, it is intimidating. This project was started in 2006 and twelve years later the plants are being harvested. There can only be one cut. One. Just a little pressure...

    Qaudrat cutting
    Svea Anderson in the field cutting the quadrat sample.
    Quadrat cutting
    Svea Anderson in the field with the cut quadrat. The earth is placed in white bags for transport back to the lab.

    The earth is then taken to a freezer for the night to help preserve the plants. In the morning, the bags are delivered to the lab where they are strategically placed in front of teams of people. Dr. Bret-Harte has a large crew of volunteers for this part of the project.

    Pluck in the lab
    The bag of earth in the lab ready for the pluck.

    Plant sort
    Once the plot has been sorted into species, it is further sorted into plant parts for biomass purposes.

    Svea Anderson in the lab sorting plant species as part of the pluck.

    The plots are first sorted by species. Then they are further sorted by parts. The parts are then collected in small cookie bags and put in an oven for a few days. Once the moisture has been eliminated from the samples, they will be further sorted and then weighed for biomass. The rest of the work on the pluck, the grinding and the data collection in the mass spectrometer will be completed in Fairbanks later this year.


    Ella Morse

    Do the mesquitoes bother you while your working


    how cold is it up there


    what is the coldest it had been


    hi mrs.anderson what is the temp change from day to night and are you enjoying it


    Hi Mrs. Anderson! How has the temperature changed while in Alaska? What has been the highest and lowest temperature since you have been there?


    I am so happy that you got such a cool opportunity! Hope you are having fun! What has been your favorite part so far?

    Sofia Gray

    Is plucking hard? How long does it take?


    would you rather live there or tucson.


    #1: is there a certain way you have to place the quadrants???

    Svea Anderson

    HI Soraya! I am having fun and learning a TON! I can't wait to share what I have learned with you and the class!!
    See you soon! -Ms. Anderson

    Svea Anderson

    Hi Sofia! Plucking takes a lot of attention to detail and is pretty hard at points, like when trying to identify if the part is a root or a ribosome. (We will discuss this in class this year!) We just finished the pluck TODAY- it took 8 days to complete 48 quadrats. Some nights we stayed in the lab until 10:30 working!
    I will see you soon!!

    Svea Anderson

    HI Lucas! Great question! There is a specific way to place the quadrats. Remember the work we did at Agua Caliente Park with the data plots? It is almost the same thing. You have to line up the quadrat to flags that have been placed at specific points. There were 48 sites that were part of the project!
    Look forward to seeing you soon!

    Svea Anderson

    Good question Rich! Alaska is amazingly beautiful and I am in awe of my surroundings, but I do appreciate the beauty of the Sonoran desert as well.... I think they both are great places to live.
    I will see you soon!