Hi! My name is Ms. Graham. I am a teacher at the Marymount School of New York. Join me as I investigate the effects of Masaya, an active volcano in Nicaragua!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plant Surveys and Air Quality

Today I learned a great deal about plant life in the crater. While walking along a trail to the east of the volcano (remember, the gas typically blows to the west, so this should be a low impact area) my group and I collected sulphation plates and conducted plant surveys. Sulphation plates are little petri dishes coated with lead that detect the amount of sulphur dioxide in the air based on the reaction of the lead. The results, however, cannot be determined until the plates are brought back to the lab to be analyzed in England. The plates have been strategically placed near and far from the volcano to help determine which areas are most severely affected by the gasses, and thus far, the research supports the theory that the plume of the gas blows west and affects not only the area directly in it's path, but also the places in a fan's width of the plume.

While collecting the plates, we also conducted surveys on three specific types of trees; the Plumeria alba, the Bursera simaruba (fondly called the "tourist plant"), and the Bombacopsis quinta. All three can be found in abundance around the crater, and the scientists are interested in knowing if and how they are affected not only by the sulpher dioxide, but also by the lava flow, which comprises the majority of the soil in some areas. To provide more data for this investigation, we recorded the number of each tree in a 20 by 20 meter square, and then measured the circumference of the trunk and estimated the height and width of the canopy. I saw some amazing trees both in this targeted group and otherwise. Wildlife highlight of the day: several white-face monkeys!!!!

Plumeria


Bursera

Bombacopsis

Would anyone like to guess why the Bursera is knicknamed the tourist tree???


53 Comments:

At March 3, 2010 at 8:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Is the gas that comes out of the volcano
always visable or sometimes not visable?
Hope your having a lot of fun!:)

Emma S. IV-A

 
At March 3, 2010 at 9:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pictures. What an interesting ecosystem to be studying. Thanks for sharing.

Thinking of you and your team
Ms. Fischer-Daly

 
At March 3, 2010 at 9:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all you are doing such an amazing job communicating all that you are learning! Studying volcanoes & the surrounding areas seems to be quite the marriage of many scientific disciplines-geology, geography, biology, physics, chemistry & more. I wonder what they do over in England to analyze the plates.
Secondly I LOVE that picture of the Bombacopsis bark--so cool, but Ouch!
As for why the Bursera is called the tourist tree you so peaked my curiosity I had to "google" it. Very funny. After a week in Central America I would probably be a prime example of it's meaning.
But I won't say anymore- I am sure the girls at Marymount will figure it out when they put their heads together. (Don't be weak and search the web like me girls!!)
Keep the the trivia coming Ms. Graham.
Best,
Ms. Seshadri

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Class VI,
We are testing the blog today.
Ms. Zammarano Class VI -2

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are great pictures, lots of them look like areas animals would like to live in. My question is while on your journey in Nicaragua, have you seen many animals that you wouldn't have seen in New York or any other place around New York? Hope you have fun!

Rhys S. VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms.Graham, I'm in technology class I hope you are having a good time. I really miss you. I loved the photos. Especially the Bombacopsis.
Love from Molly M. VI-2

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Graham,
Is the gas that comes out of the volcano deadly? Is it poisonous? Why do you have to stay away from it? Amazing pictures! Thank you!

Hanna P. Class VI

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham,
Are you having a lot of fun studying all the volcanos? The pictures are so cool! Of all the plants and animals you saw, what is you favorite tree or plant you seen so far? How long did it take you to hike the volcano? If you see any more monkeys maybe you can post a picture so we can all see them. Have fun!! See you soon!! :)

-Lauren C. VI A/2

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Graham,
It seems like you are having a lot of fun! Did you happen to get a picture of the monkeys? If so could you post them? I would love to see them. Could you also bring some of the currency back? Also I cannot figure out why the tree is called a tourist tree. But I guess we will just have to figure it out.
I hope you are enjoying yourself! :)
Tyler W. VI-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms.Graham,
So far, your trip sounds very interesting and fun. I just wanted to know how long all the trees living around the volcano usually survive. In other words, how long is their life span?
To answer the question about the Bursera, I think it is nicknamed the 'tourist tree' because it is a common attraction by tourists.
-Manolia P. VIA-2

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, how are you and how is the weather? We miss you a lot here at Marymount and we can't wait for the skype assembly! My question is what was the strangest wildlife you have seen? Thanks for your amazing footage and for your willingness to go to Nicaragua! I hope you are enjoying it!
Quincy Y. VIB

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Graham,

It was so great to Skype with you this morning! We learned so much about volcanoes and can't wait to hear about your new adventures today :-)

We miss you!
Class IV-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
What types of tools do you use to measure the depth of the volcano?
From, Clara I. (VIB-3)

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms.Graham,
Is the wildlife and plants much different then the plants and wildlife in NYC parks? Is it very hot in Nicaragua?
From,
Audrey M VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 9:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear ms. Grahm, How do u calculate the different actions and motions in the volcano if the bottom surface is so far down?
from, AF vi

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Those pictures are really interesting. One of the trees looked really sharp. 20 by 20 meter square that must be pretty big. Have you seen any wild animals so far? What is the most interesting thing you have seen?
Alexis H. VI-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you put pictures in your post to show us what all the interesting plants look like! I'm not sure why the Bursera simaruba is called the "Tourist plant," maybe in your next post you can explain the nickname.
We miss you!
Isabelle D. Class VI A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In science class we learned that overwhelming smells can help you lose brain cells. Is the smell of the sulfur coming from the volcano so overwhelming? If yes, be careful! :)

Ciara R. VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Graham,
I can't believe you saw white monkeys! Were they really big monkeys or were they really small monkeys? Did you get scared when you were on top of the volcano? Did you feel as though you were about to fall into the volcano itself?
Hope you are having fun on your trip :)
Dylan S. VI-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
I am really interested in all that your studying. You have inspired me to look into learning about volcanos and studying how much sulfur has been coming out of the volcanos. I cant wait to hear all about your adventure when you come back to school!

Sincerely,
Samantha P. VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham, do you have any pictures of the monkeys? What clothes do you wear everyday? Hope your having fun in Nicaragua!
-Jackie M. Class VI

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Why does the Bombacopsis quinta have spikes coming out on the side? Is that an effect from the sulpher dioxide, or is the tree naturally like that? Have a great trip!
Maeve B. VI B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Is the volcano close to any towns or cities that could be affected by eruptions, or are they farther away? I hope your having a great time! Stay a safe distance from that volcano!
-Noelle W. Class VIA :)

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms.Graham,
The sulphation plates sound so cool! What will the scientist determine when they take the sulphation plates back to the lab? I think it is so funny that they nicknamed a tree the "tourist plant"! It must have been so picturesque to have seen those white-faced monkeys! I hope you bring back some pictures of them-they sound beautiful.

Gillian L. VI-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mrs. Graham,
When you saw the monkeys how close were you to the monkey? Was the monkey cute? Also what tree did you think looked the coolest? I thought the bombacopsis looks the coolest from the out side. What was your height estimate of the bombcopsis tree?
Hope you have a great trip!
From,
Callie P.
Class 6

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you enjoying your trip? Are the volcanoes scary when you look at them? Do you feel like you are going to fall in?

Be safe!

Maggie M. VI-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham,
How big was the volcano that you saw? Did you see any more animals other than the white-face monkeys? And to answer your question abut "Would anyone like to guess why the Bursera is knicknamed the tourist tree???", is it because the tree is easy to climb and many to tourist take pictures of them on the tree? Thank you so much for the blog. I have learned so much on it, and be careful!!!

Sophia H. VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi!
Is it scary to look at volcanos? Why is the Bursera tree called the tourist tree? I love the amazing pictures!

Ana Sophia A. VI-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was so much fun to skype you today!
The "tourist tree" is very funny. I never would have guessed the nickname "tourist tree" referred to a bunch of sunburned tourists!
Were the monkeys cute? I would have loved to see them. It must have been very exciting. How far do you hike every day? What is your favorite animal you have seen so far? The monkeys, vultures, or bats?

Good luck tomorrow!

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
You must be really busy in Nicaragua. Is the gas that comes out of the volcano steaming hot or cold? I do not know why the Bursera tree is knicknamed the tourist tree, but I would like to find out! I hope your having a GREAT time in Nicaragua and we really miss you here!

Sincerely, Alida M. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Your facts are so interesting! I have one question. Why does the volcano only have gas come out and not lava?
Hope your having fun,
Sam E. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
How big is the hole that the gas comes out of? Does the gas have a smell? Hope your having a grate time there!

Isabelle R V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
I really enjoyed reading your blog, and the types of trees are very interesting.....we all miss you so much. I hope your having fun!

Giulia L. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Did I ever tell you i went inside a volcano crater in hawaii? It was very cool. I have a couple questions for you. How close can you get to the crater? Is there any wild life by the volcano? If so, what and have you seen any? Good luck!! (:

Amelia F. 4-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Graham!
Great pictures and who are the people on your team? How are you liking Nicaragua and is it better than New York City? I hope you are enjoying your stay!
Your student, Sea Bensimon V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
At what elevation is the volcano at? Which of the three trees do you find the most interesting?


Jennifer H. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
I can't wait to sykpe with you tomorrow it will be so much fun! I have so many questions to ask you.
Are there any other teachers with you on your trip?

Gwyneth S. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hi" Ms.Graham!!
Do you think all of the plants you have learned so far are, interesting?
Also, do you like Nicaragua? Hope you are having a great time!!!
Terrell K. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Do you test the trees to see if they are sick or healthy? Also what animals have you seen so far?
Amazing pictures!

Antonia V. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Grahm!
I was wondering how plants grow if it is all igneous rock?
Hope you are having fun!
Julia R. IV-B

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms.Graham!
I hope your having a good time!
I enjoyed reading your blog and I cannot believe you saw a vulture that is very cool. We all miss you


Caroline S. VA

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Ms. Graham,
Why do you need a mosquito net over your bed? How many miles do you walk each day? What does the town look like? Have fun! :)

Amelia F. 4-a

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Graham,
I hope that you are having a wonderful time in Nicaragua and that you are learning copious amounts of science! I think that it is very interesting that you can see vultures and white-faced monkeys. Are white-faced monkeys cute? I wish that I could be there learning about gas volcanoes. I have a guess for why the Bursera tree is called a tourist tree. It probably looks like another kind of tree that does not grow in Nicaragua. I miss you so much!
Love,
Chloe H. VA

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
I hope that you are enjoying your expedition in Nicaragua!
I had two questions that I wanted to ask you.
What is your favorite plant out of the ones you have seen?
Were the white faced monkeys the only wild animals you saw?
I can't wait to video chat on Friday with you!
Isabella G. V-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
What is your favorite plant you have seen so far?
Also, what was it like inside the lava tube?
Wishing lot's of luck,
Augusta S. Class 5-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham Did you touch the Bombacopsis? If you did touch it would it hurt or not? Do you get to clim tree's there? Do you see lots of animals there or not?


From,Charlotte T. V-A :)

 
At March 4, 2010 at 1:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello!!
I really enjoyed the pictures you posted and those white faced monkeys must have been cute!!! How many trees were in the area? Were there more trees than there are in Central Park?
HAVE FUN : )

Serina IV-A

 
At March 4, 2010 at 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ms. grahm! thank you for sharing all of your amazing pictures! we miss you! : )

 
At March 4, 2010 at 1:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the bombacopsis plant that was really cool, I like the spikes on it.
From,
Natasha

 
At March 4, 2010 at 1:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms.Graham
Have you been getting a sunburn and has your skin started to peel like the tourist tree? What kind of monkey is the white faced monkey?

Love,
Olivia

 
At March 4, 2010 at 6:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Is the Bombacopsis a tree or more of a plant? Does it's branches have thorns too? (well, if it's a tree) If it's a plant, does it grow any flowers?☺

~Chrissy♡

 
At March 4, 2010 at 8:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Graham,
That blog comment was really interesting.
As for your riddle answer, you got it right!
Here is another one:The more there is the less you see it. What is it?
Sincerely,
Emily IV-2

 
At March 5, 2010 at 1:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
The Bursera's nickname is the tourist tree because it has a red bark just like a tourist when he or she gets sunburnt.

i'll blog later!-
julianna:)

 

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