Picture of Windhill Farm

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What are those cages doing in the back field?

We are participating in a sciense study this summer 2015

Scientists from Yale University are using a small piece of our property as part of an experiment they are conducting across New England. The goal of the experiment is to understand how climate change may affect New England food webs and ecosystems. Each cage contains two main types of plants: grasses and a species of goldenrod (Solidago rugosa). In July the cages will be stocked with a local species of grasshopper (the red-legged grasshopper, Melanoplus femurrubrum) and spider (the nursery web spider, Pisaurina mira). Some spiders and grasshoppers from the property will also be transplanted to Connecticut where it is warmer. The scientists will allow the plants, grasshoppers, and spiders to interact for the entire summer. They will then compare the condition and physiology of the spiders and grasshoppers, as well as the amounts of each kind of plant left in the cages at the end of the summer, between the colder and warmer sites. This will allow the scientists to better understand how warming temperatures will affect feeding interactions between predators and prey as well as between herbivores and plants.

The spiders are not dangerous to humans at all. Please do not touch the cages or plants or interfere with them in any way and please ensure children and pets do not jostle the cages or knock them over. However, feel free to inspect the cages and look for our grasshoppers and spiders up close once they are stocked in July. They are generally quite hard to see, but if you have a good eye for insects you may get lucky.

If you have any additional questions about the research please contact Dr. Adam Rosenblatt at adam.rosenblatt (at) yale.edu