Field station at Brigham Young University’s Lytle Ranch Preserve - Southwest Utah

Field work is essential to demonstrate the ecological relevance of behavioral, developmental or metabolic responses of interacting organisms in realistic environments. We use nature as a laboratory to obtain information about the complex and multitrophic interactions which are mediated by the plant's responses to herbivore attack. We operate a field station in Southwest Utah/ USA situated within the "Lytle Ranch Preserve", which is owned and operated by the Brigham Young University, Provo Utah, see Web link. The preserve protects a riparian cottonwood forest in the "Beaver Dam Wash" at the edge of the Beaver Dam Mountains (Fig. 1). In this area the three deserts of the North American Southwest overlap, the Sonoran Desert, the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin Desert. The latter is the habitat of our study plant the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata (Fig. 2). Our station consists of three living trailers, two laboratory trailers, a tool shed and a shade house with an automatic watering system to grow plants for experiments (Fig. 3 and 4). The station is the base for field experiments which we conduct in a circumference of about 50-70 kilometers wherever a previous fire triggered N. attenuata seeds to germinate from their long-lived seed banks (Fig. 5, 6 and 7). Moreover we have the possibility to perform common-garden experiments at the station (Fig. 8).

Fig. 1
Beaver Dam Mountains
Fig. 2
wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata
Fig. 3
field station trailers
Fig. 4
laboratory at field station
Fig. 5
landscape at Lytle
Fig. 6
measurements with portable GC
Fig. 7
measurements with portable GC
Fig. 8
artificial field at Lytle