ESA meeting 2006   Lee Frelich
  Aug 10, 2006 14:16 PDT 


This afternoon I returned to Minneapolis after attending the Ecological
Society of America meeting in Memphis TN. It was about 99 degrees there
each day with dewpoints in the 70s. People from all over the world and the
rest of the U.S. thought the weather was hideous, but after the July we had
in Minneapolis, it felt normal to me. The Mississippi River looks to be 20
or 30 feet below normal in Memphis, as a severe drought persists throughout
most of the river's watershed.

8:00 to 11:30 Monday morning I was the moderator of a session on Alteration
of North American forests by invasive invertebrates, which I organized with
David Foster. Except that the computer died once, it went very well with
good attendance when you consider that we were competing with 20 other
sessions. Emerald ash borer, Hemlock wooly adelgid, European earthworms in
northern forests, and Asian earthworm invasion in the Smokies were covered
as well as policy responses and breeding resistant varieties of trees.

Tuesday Tom Diggins, two of his students, Don Bragg and I went on an
impromptu field trip to the site where the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers may have
been discovered, where we saw Cypress trees 600-800 years old. There are a
lot of strange tree species there, such as water locust, which has hundreds
of 6 inch spines sticking out of the trunk in all directions. I'll bet not
many people actually measure the dbh of a water locust. 

ESA06_WaterLocust.jpg (142762 bytes) 
Water Locust with spines - photo by Don Bragg

Tom and Don will
report on the 33 foot cbh tree we measured in the swamps of Arkansas.

We also saw Crowley's ridge, where unhappy looking sugar maple were
growing, with leaves half the normal size, mixed with oaks, hickories, and
beech. We also visited a place with saline soils the texture of flour,
forested with stunted post oaks. It was a great day, since one field trip
is worth 1000 presentations at the ESA meeting, and I only had three
chigger bites, a low number probably attributable to the drought.

People in Memphis were extremely friendly, although they moved at a speed
which appeared to someone from Minnesota to be in suspended
animation. Although I thrive on the Manhattan-like bustle of Minneapolis,
with its skyscraper lined canyons filled with thousands of people darting
in every direction at high speed, and probably would not be one of the top
scientists if I did not live in such a place, it is still fun to
occasionally visit a small town like Memphis with charming old buildings,
brick sidewalks, and streetcars. Willow oak trees are everywhere along the
streets. Too bad that species cannot grow in Minneapolis at this time
(maybe in 20 years with a little more climatic warming?). I returned to a
newly green Minneapolis, the trees and grass having responded to the heavy
drought breaking rains that occurred just before I left.


Re: ESA meeting   Lee E. Frelich
  Aug 11, 2006 08:08 PDT 


Actually, the 33 foot cbh tree is not a bald cypress. You will have to
remain in suspense until Tom or Don post something about it.


  At 06:29 AM 8/11/2006, Robert Leverett wrote:


     Congratulations! We can't wait to hear about the 33-foot CBH bald

Water tupelo!!!!!   Thomas Diggins
  Aug 12, 2006 05:38 PDT 


You guys got it; it was a water tupelo.

ESA06_TupeloGum1.jpg (134169 bytes)
Tom Diggins measuring the Water Tupelo
- photo by Don Bragg

CBH = 31' 3"
height = 74.9' (lost most of its top)
crown = 56' (ditto)

AF points = 464

It's REALLY close to national champ status, so if there is any more in
the height and/or crown spread (Don's gonna revisit the tree), OR if
the co-champs in VA are even slightly over-measured we might have it.
Thanks again to Don for an absolutely awesome field trip. Just shows
again why ENTS is tops - unquestionably one of the premier nature
organizations in North America!


Re: ESA meeting   Jess Riddle
  Aug 12, 2006 13:24 PDT 

Hello Lee,

Good to hear your presentation went well, and that others were taking
notice of the issue.

Water locust is certainly a strange species, but not too bad to
measure. The larger ones seem to have smoother trunks, but you have
to watch out for the occasional basal sprouts, which are nothing but

The maple you describe sounds like Florida/southern sugar maple. The
range maps I looked at showed neither sugar maple nor Florida maple in
that area, but Will and I saw abundant Florida maple at Meeman-Shelby
State Park. Florida maple commonly associates with the species you
mentioned, has much smaller but similarly shaped leaves to sugar
maple, and often has smoother park than sugar maple.

Thanks for the report. Sounds like a fun and varied trip.

RE: Water tupelo!!!!!   Marcas houtchings
  Aug 12, 2006 15:04 PDT 

Hey everyone this is Marcas from Congaree.. great tree Tom. I seen the
National Champ water tupelo in VA. this tree is in some type of slough they
mearsure the tree when the water was way low in a wetland both the Co-Champ
and the National are in the same place.