Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Community, Conservation & Citizen Science - Page 9

Chris Richardson, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Lesley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will collect data on bat activity, diversity, and health. Assistant Professor Albert Liau will test the air quality of Mount Auburn to help determine whether Mount Auburn’s bountiful trees make a noticeable difference to the ecosystem, and will measure other physical features using data from the Cemetery’s microclimate study, which is underway. Meanwhile, Assistant Professor Amy Mertl will conduct a biodiversity survey of both pollinators and ants, examining the two groups together for a better indicator of overall insect diversity. Finally, Adjunct Professor Chris Richardson will collect data on bat activity, diversity, and health, and use bioacoustic equipment to detect bat flyways. In the second year of the project, Dave Morimoto will serve as the A. J. & M. D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust Educator- in-Residence. During that time, he will synthesize Lesley’s research data and collaborate with Kwiatkowski at Mount Auburn to map the biodiversity of the Cemetery’s ecosystem. The map will identify wildlife corridors, insect and pol- linator localities, and bat and bird hot-spots, among other findings, in order to monitor the ecosystem as part of a longitudinal (Long Term Ecological Research, LTER) study. Over the long term, the findings from the various initiatives in Mount Auburn’s partnership with Lesley will enable the project to make specific recommendations for the Cemetery’s Wildlife Action Plan in the context of the bigger ecological picture. On a larger scale, these recommendations can also impact local urban planning. Understanding how urban ecosystems function can directly affect how cities and towns plan and preserve their green spaces, not only for human recreational purposes but also for maximizing urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. On the educational side, the project will provide citizen scientists and Lesley students with the opportunity to be a part of research that not only transforms their view of themselves and their place in science, but also furthers efforts by Mount Auburn and local communities to improve the conservation of natural ecosystems and global biodiversity, which is increasingly affected by humans. “This is one of the most popular places to see migratory birds in Massachusetts,” said Dave Barnett, President & CEO of Mount Auburn. “It’s also internationally renowned for its beautiful landscape and significant horticultural collections. Many scientists believe that urban ecosystems such as Mount Auburn are the last frontier of ecology and that ordinary citizens can contribute to the growing area of study of how people and nature can benefit one another within an urban environment.” About the Lesley University Founded in 1909 for aspiring kindergarten teachers, Lesley University prepares socially responsible graduates with the knowledge, skills, and understanding for a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Amy Mertl, Assistant Professor, Biology, Lesley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will conduct pollinator studies. 2017 Volume 2 | 7