Shane Foye and Kyle Johnson recently explored some of Wisconsin’s finest wild cranberry bogs and sites. This trip will have been the first of many – beginning to search for wild nematodes to cultivate and use as biological control agents in production sites.
Here are some of the highlights (photos courtesy of Kyle Johnson):
This picture shows a dense stand of Vaccinium macrocarpon growing along Lone Pine Road, in Jackson County, WI, on May 19, 2015. Notice that V. macrocarpon is the dominant Ericaceous plant and that Sphagnum moss is found growing underneath it. The relationship between the cranberry and moss is prevalent throughout Wisconsin.
Cranberries can grow on Sphagnum mats that extend over the surface of small lakes. Unlike most modern laboratories, this mat can easily support an entire graduate student. A small sample (approximately 3 cubic centimeters) of this moss contained over 50 nematodes. This location, which was photographed May 21, 2015, is also habitat for carnivorous plants, such as pitcher plants and sundews.
Other habitats that can support V. macrocarpon include Hemel Bog, located in Marquette County, Wisconsin. This location differs from typical V. macrocarpon habitat due to the presence of larger trees, more diverse moss communities, and larger mounds of moss called hummocks. Beneath the hummocks, a layer of peat can be found, and this layer is often many centimeters deep. Pitcher plants are also located in this habitat, which was photographed May 19, 2015.