MPBN Reports on Doctoral Students Studying Snow-Soil Connection

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported on soil research being conducted by Corianne Tatariw and Kaizad Patel, University of Maine students who are pursuing doctoral degrees in ecology and environmental science. Tatariw and Patel are researching how seasonal climatic changes from winter to spring affect soil nutrient cycling and therefore the biology, chemistry and physical characteristics of the woods. This winter, the students shoveled four plots of land in the University Forest in Old Town every time it snowed, according to the report. “So we basically removed a thermal barrier,” Tatariw said, adding the idea was to keep the areas clear to compare how soil was impacted by snow. The researchers found ground temperature with snow maintains a constant temperature of around freezing, the article states, and without it, ground temperatures would swing drastically. “And as a result you’re going to lose the root biomass, you’re going to lose the microbial population, and that would affect nutrient availability as well,” Patel said.