Project Overview

The Impact of White-Tailed Deer on Colgate Forests: Richness, Regeneration Capacity & Carbon Sequestration & Impacts of Mitigative Liming on Soil Nutrient Dynamics

Faculty Sponsor

Catherine Cardelus (


Environmental Studies


Summer research students will contribute to two long-term experimental studies in NY Forest. Students will learn standard ecological field and lab methods for measuring plants, carbon sequestration and soil nutrient status.
1) The Cardelús lab is experimentally studying the effects of deer exclusion on seedling regeneration, tree growth, carbon sequestration, soil nutrient status, invertebrate diversity, and tick densities in five paired control/exclosure sites in and around Colgate campus. Understanding the effects of deer on our forests and the extent of these effects will allow us to assess forest health. This study will also allow us to measure projected carbon sequestration and determine management strategies for forest regeneration. In control and experimental sites, students will measure: 
  1. Plant seedling and herbaceous richness
  2. Tree size and density
  3. Collect soils to determine nutrient status
2) Acid rain depletes forest soils of base cations which are essential micronutrients for healthy soil and plant function. My lab is examining forest responses both above and belowground in acid rain effected forests in the Adirondacks. In summer 2019, we will conduct a third soil inventory to determine the long-term impacts of mitigation on soil health. To do this, we will travel to the Adirondacks to collect soil samples and process them in the lab at Colgate. Students will:
  1. Collect soils
  2. Process soils for total Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Carbon and available nutrients

Student Qualifications

Enjoy spending hours in the forest and the lab! Working with a team and collaborating. Curiousity and enthusiam.

Number of Student Researchers

3-4 students

Project Length

6-8 weeks

<< Back to List

If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (