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Effects of Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) on the Establishment of Interspecific Seedlings

In this Experiment, students investigate the inhibitory effects of Eastern Hemlock trees on establishment of neighboring woody plants. Some years ago, one of the faculty in the Biology Department at Hope College noticed that fewer seedlings and saplings of broadleaved woody species seemed to grow beneath the canopies of eastern hemlock trees than beneath the canopies of other species on the Hope College Nature Preserve property. A number of student projects have confirmed this pattern, but none have been successful in determining the mechanism by which Eastern Hemlocks inhibit the other species. Students design experiments to investigate 1) allelopathic effects of hemlock, and 2) non-allelopathic habitat differences (e.g. light availability, soil composition, litter) as explanations for differential seedling distribution.
Associated files
Resource Group TIEE
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords allelopathy; spatial; competition; seedling; density; distribution; hypothesis; experiment; TIEE; pedagogy; student active; inquiry based
Key taxa Tsuga caroliniana; Eastern hemlock
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description In this Experiment, students observe spatial distribution patterns of woody seedlings beneath a mixed-stand hemlock, beech, and maple forest. Students design experiments to investigate allelopathic effects of hemlock and non-allelopathic habitat differences and then spend 3 weeks inside and outside of lab periods collecting and analyzing data testing their hypotheses. The activity encourages students to observe spatial patterns of plant species and use ecological methods to investigate causes of the patterns.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Greg Murray
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Hope College, Department of Biology
Primary Author email
Added By Id
  • educationintern
Rights Copyright 2005 by Greg Murray, Kathey Winnett-Murray, and the Ecological Society of America.
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2007-11-05
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2010-02-16 01:28:16
Last Modified By Id
  • educationintern
Date Last Modified 2018-07-18 11:10:00
Release Flag Published

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