Fall 2015

Beechdrops at the Morgan Arboretum

Beechdrops at the Morgan Arboretum

Physical Description Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana) are annual flowering plants which parasitize beech tree roots all over Eastern North America. They completely lack chlorophyll and have smooth, brownish stems and branches that reach a height of about 30cm (Musselman, 1982).¬† During our own observations, they were very easy to miss under all the autumn leaf litter, […]

Leaf Litter Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Leaf Litter Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Invertebrates, while small, play an integral role in our ecosystem in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. In leaf litter, they aid greatly in the decomposition of organic matter, as cited by Vasconcelos and Laurance in their article on soil fauna (2005). Invertebrates are animals that lack a backbone, but this is where most of the obvious […]

Shelf Fungus Diversity and Tree Health at the Morgan Arboretum

Shelf Fungus Diversity and Tree Health at the Morgan Arboretum

  The importance of shelf fungi in the St-Lawrence lowlands Polypores (also known as Shelf fungi and Bracket fungi) are found across North America, anywhere woody plants are present (Gilbertson, 1980). They usually grow on fallen logs, stumps, dead branches and even living trees whose bark has been breached and begins to decay (Roberts and […]

Chickadee Abundance in Response to Human Presence at the Morgan Arboretum

Chickadee Abundance in Response to Human Presence at the Morgan Arboretum

Appearance and Identification: Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are well-known songbirds, loved by everyone due to their adorable appearance and curiosity. They have a distinctive black cap and bib, contrasting with their white cheeks. Their sides are buff colored and the feathers of the wings and the tail are gray with paler edges. They molt every […]

Spider Diversity at the Morgan Arboretum

Spider Diversity at the Morgan Arboretum

Follow us on Twitter: @SpidersMcgill Natural History of Spiders Arachnida is an extensive class of arthropods recognized mainly by their eight legs, lack of antennae and carnivorous lifestyle, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (2015). This class encompasses scorpions, mites, daddy long legs and spiders. Spiders belong to the order¬†Araneae, which includes over 114 families […]

Wild Ginger Within the Morgan Arboretum

Wild Ginger Within the Morgan Arboretum

Wild ginger is an understory perennial that grows up to 6 inches tall at maturity. It springs from an underground network of rhizomes and forms dark green, heart-shaped leaves about 3 inches in diameter. The clonal growth forms a mat of wild ginger that covers the ground, which prevents other seedlings from growing within the […]

Fungi and Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Fungi and Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Background Fungi are incredibly diverse and provide irreplaceable services for the ecosystem and for us. They range from single-celled yeasts to vast networks of hyphae, the filamentous strands that make up fungi (Waggoner and Speer, 1998). Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of many fungi; they produce and release spores as a method of reproduction. The […]