Lab Facilities

Last changed: 10 February 2023

Overview of the Forest Vegetation Ecology Lab

The Forest Vegetation Ecology Lab has established methodologies to describe various aspects of ecosystem functioning, including analyses of plant and soil communities (e.g. plant traits or soil microbial properties) and various functions these organisms carry out (e.g. nitrogen and carbon cycling). 

A summary of analyses we routinely perform are:

Plant Traits:

  • Tissue stoichiometry, for example, Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorous content.    
  • Plant morphological traits, for example, specific leaf area, or specific root length. 
  • Plant Secondary Metabolites, e.g. phenolic, condensed tannins, anthocyanins.

Soil Communities:

  • Phospholipid Fatty Acid Analysis
  • Microbial biomass via substrate-induced respiration
  • Soil animals via microscopy
  • Sterile culture

Carbon Cycling Processes: 

  • Soil respiration, field or lab based measurements
  • Leaf gas exchange
  • Soil carbon stock analysis
  • Root and mycorrhiza ingrowth techniques
  • Methane production via LGR analyzer

Nitrogen Cycling Processes:

  • Nitrogen fixation via acetylene reduction assay or 15N incorporation
  • Net nitrogen mineralization and nitrification via incubation assays
  • Nitrogen availability via resin absorption
  • Available Inorganic N pools
  • N2O emission via LGR analyzer


  • Fluorescent microscopy (Cyanobacterial N2-fixation communities)
  • Light microscopy (soil microbes and mesofauna)