NCF Joins Global Research Project to Measure Climate Change

Biology professor Brad Oberle checks the placement of tea bags buried to measure the rate of decay in soil at Robinson Preserve in Manatee County.

New College of Florida students in the Forest Ecology Lab class have joined students and researchers worldwide in a project to gather data about the global carbon cycle. And, they’re using an inexpensive and novel tool to gather the data: tea bags.

The project, called the Tea Bag Index (, began at the University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands, in 2010, where researchers came up with a cheap and easy method to measure the decay rate of plant material. The results can help scientists learn how much carbon is being released into the air, which can have an effect on climate change.

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