It’s official – data collection has begun! Students in 13 SW Michigan school districts are busy learning how to sample plant biomass, insect and plant biodiversity, characterize soil and measure soil chemicals, and survey landscape-level characteristics of their schoolyards as part of the BEST Plots Research Network. Their data will become part of a large database that students and teachers can use to address questions such as:
- Do plants yield more biomass when they are grown as a mixture of plants (prairie) rather than a monoculture (switchgrass)?
- Does the soil composition affect plant biomass when we compare across schools?
- Does fertilization impact species diversity in the mixed prairie plots?
- Does the amount of pavement near the plots versus forest or grass impact insect biodiversity?