As some of you will know I’ve been slightly preoccupied with Tea Bags of late. So much so that I now no longer have any choice but to write it all out in a blog post. As the title indicates this is a saga and sagas tend to the long winded and winding tales, with many twists and turns, false starts and multiple endings, required to wile away a long dark Scandinavian/Germanic winter – or glorious southern summer come to that. Hence, for clarity I have gone for a Dickens style part installment.
Part 1 – What’s with the Tea Bags?
Part 2 – The Tea Bag Index – It’s all about the Tea Bags
Part 3 – (Hopefully) All’s well that ends well
Back in early November 2013 (MEE: Issue 4: (11) ) came out with a striking cover photo of a couple of fancy looking TeaBags and a neat little experimental protocol. And Samantha’s MEE blog post neatly summarizes the attraction.
“In the accompanying study, “Tea Bag Index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems”, these contrasting litter types were exposed to decomposition by placing them in soil. Using the litter weight-loss, the tea bag index (TBI) was calculated, which allows the comparison of microbial decomposition dynamics on a local, regional and global scale.” [from Samantha’s Blog post]
This was followed up by two of the authors (Joost Keuskamp & Mariet Hefting from Utrecht University) discussing the TeaBagIndex with MEE Associate Editor David Warton.
All in all I was seduced. It’s a great idea, it’s low cost, they’ve done all the standardization work and testing, it’s brand new and published in a high quality journal – ok I’m a bit based here – but still Impact factors don’t lie 🙂 and best of all its exactly what I needed when I needed it. A simple, cheap method to quantify a key carbon related ecosystem service – Decomposition rate