Fieldwork in Puhtu-Laelatu

Text and pics by Linda-Liisa Veroman-Jürgenson and Liisa Kübarsepp

We decided to take advantage of the world-famous species richness of Puhtu-Laelatu Nature Reserve vegetation and measure a variety of species occurring mostly in Western-Estonia. The aim is to supplement the list of plants measured for a couple of ongoing projects and to measure the gas-exchange and collect volatiles from hemiparasitic plant populations.

Liisa, Linda-Liisa and Petra set out from the Estonian University of Life Sciences early on Sunday morning (7:30!) heading for Puhtu field station. The weather was lovely for the whole trip up until we arrived here, where it was pouring cats and dogs. Luckily, the being responsible for rain understood that we needed to work and allowed the sun come out again so we could do recon for Monday. We decided on places and species we would measure based on their appearance and phenological stage.

We started the measurements on Monday morning on Laelatu wooded meadow listening to the distant mooing of free-range cows and the sounds of seabirds over our heads. The weather was great for measuring, luckily, not all the way beach-appropriate. Tuesday and Wednesday treated us with sun and some distant lightning-storms to keep us on the edge of our seats without an actual drop of rain or temperature to mess up our work. Thursday welcomed us with some strong winds, but we managed to collect everything we needed to finish our fieldwork.

In addition to seeing a variety of plants, we were lucky to see four young foxes, six species of bumblebees, two grass snakes, a viper, so many birds we couldn’t even count and a very snazzy cat.

There is just something great about measuring plants on the fiels – in their natural environment: we were really enjoying ourselves and brought back lots of valuable data.

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Can you see the snake?

 

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Bombus lucorum enjoying a nice meal on a Centaurea flower

 

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Identifying grasses is a difficult job. We’d like to send our regards at this point to Eve Veromann and Toomas Kukk who helped us out with this particular species – Arrhenatherum elatius! Thank you!

 

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Walz on the beach measuring said Arrhenatherum elatius

 

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Fixing the samples – the key is to position yourself so the wind works as an extremely powerful fume hood

 

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A curious fox

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We had a great time!

 

Liisa & Linda-Liisa

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