Pitchin’ New Sites at Kouchibouguac

It’s the start of the new month and now we’re sampling in a new National Park; Kouchibouguac. Now that we are in a new National Park we have to set up new sites for our Standardized Sampling Program. After consulting Park staff about the various habitats the park has to offer we settled on sampling a bog, an Acadian mixed wood forest, and a salt marsh. Lucky for us the sites are no more than 20 minutes away from one another. When we got to the Bog Trail we unloaded all the necessary equipment to get the job done for our bog site; two malaise traps, an intercept trap, ten pans traps, ten pitfall traps, a plastic bag to collect leaf litter for a Berlese funnel, a soil corer to collect a soil sample, and sweep nets to catch flying insects … boy, that’s a lot of stuff. We headed down the Bog Trail to reach what is called a domed bog.

A pitcher plant in the domed bog off of Bog Trail at Kouchibouguac National Park
A pitcher plant in the domed bog off of Bog Trail at Kouchibouguac National Park

A domed bog is a type of raised bog. These bogs are usually 500 meters in diameter and I think I can safely say that the bog of Bog Trail is at least that big if not bigger. Because water flows into the bog there is a higher amount of nutrients on the perimeter of the bog than in the middle.  Plants that need higher amounts of nutrients are situated around the bog near the tree line. Whereas plants that are less nutrient dependant are found closer to the middle of the bog, which might explain why we found more and more pitcher plants the further into the bog we ventured. Pitcher plants aren’t as heavily nutrient dependant as other plants because they can do something that most plants can’t – eat insects. This may sound like a draw back for us insect seekers but in reality this is a blessing in disguise. Because pitcher plants hold water in their pitchers, insects that lay their eggs in water will try to lay their eggs in the pitcher plants. Some insects have adapted ways to avoid the pitcher plants’ trap and can lay their eggs in the pitcher plants without getting captured or having their eggs eaten. This is great news for the BIObus crew as we should be able to find many insects with the help of the insect-brooding holes of the pitcher plants.

– Martin

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