Page 24 - IU Southeast 2012 Spring Mag

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The field station isn’t a physical
structure but rather a distinction or
official association between the two
groups that will ensure IU Southeast
can continue to use the site for short-
term and long-term research projects
that will aid in the conservation and
management of Blackacre. The final
agreement is pending this spring.
“It’s important in terms of Blackacre
itself, but also in terms of other urban
nature preserves just like it,” said David
Winship Taylor, an IU Southeast biology
professor.
“Many natural areas are being
enveloped by development, and we can
become much more effective at trouble
shooting and protecting these areas
if we understand the problems and
challenges,” he said.
The study of urban ecology hasn’t
been a particularly popular choice for
scientists in the past, but it’s becoming
increasingly important, according
to Taylor. The field of urban
ecology studies ecosystems
that include humans living
in cities and urbanized
landscapes, according to
the international journal
“Urban Ecology.”
“In the past, if you wanted to study
ecology, you were going to head to
someplace pretty remote but those
locations are fewer and fewer,” he said.
“The CIA World Factbook” predicts
that by 2030, nearly 60 percent of the
world’s population will live in cities.
“We are altering our habitats so
profoundly with all of the development
that we need to be thinking about
our resources for clean air and water
as well as the plants and animals we
share space with,” said Susan Reigler,
a research associate in biology at IU
Southeast.
A natural laboratory
Reigler also has been the resident
biologist at Blackacre since 1985 and
lives on the property. She has worked
with students in Louisville’s public and
private K-12
schools
as well
as with
college
students
at IU
Southeast.
Reigler has worked with
undergraduate students on
projects ranging from the
flying insect population to
water quality.
“The water quality study actually
showed very clearly that the water was
better after it had traveled through
part of the stream within Blackacre,”
Reigler said. “These kinds of areas are
marvelous natural filters which, of
course, has economic implications.”
IU Southeast graduate Phaedra Jones
(B.A. ‘10) worked with Reigler on
both the water and insect studies.
She finished her biology degree in
2010 and is now a project director
and environmental scientist for
Environmental Laboratories in
Madison, Ind.
Jones said her work at Blackacre was
key in helping her get a job after she left
IU Southeast.
It is
wonderful
experience for
students to
get out there
and practice
proper field
techniques
and learn
in such a
“hands-on”
way.
Phaedra Jones
From left: Andrea Almeida, Amy Cummins, and Phaedra Jones test the stream where it leaves Blackacre.