Life Beneath the Snow and More Highlights from Science on Tap-Minocqua

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There’s a lot going on under the surface. Photo:Carol Warden

Subnivium is a word you’ve probably never heard of, but it refers to a vast ecosystem across much of the world. Specifically, the small pocket of open space that develops each winter between the surface of the ground and the blanket of snow that covers it.

That small space is critically important to all sorts of microbes, insects, mosses, grasses and animals as they hunker down and get through winter. While it’s not exactly a tropical paradise, the subnivium hovers reliably at right around freezing (32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius) and that lets ruffed grouse burrow down into the snow to take a break from winter winds. It gives wood frogs the stable temperatures they need for their frozen state of suspended animation. Mosses down there keep growing and plant matter keeps decomposing as mice and shrews scurry around.

It’s a fascinating world, one that the audience at Science on Tap-Minocqua got a peak into in 2017 when UW-Madison professors, Jonathan Pauli and Benjamin Zuckerberg came to visit. Thanks to the hard work of staff at Trout Lake Station, it’s a world you can still get a peak into in our video archives.

Now in it’s 6th season, Science on Tap-Minocqua continues to inspire and inform and you can see what we’ve been up to thanks to our full-length recaps and our short-format “highlight” videos. From The Wonderful World of Wisconsin Fishes to Aldo Leopold’s Legacy in Wildlife Science, to The Science of Dog Behavior, you can take a tour down memory lane and learn about all kinds of topics.

The Trout Lake Station YouTube channel has the full collection – you can find it here.

Enjoy the show. And Cheers!