The Arboretum is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Research Fellowships. Four graduate students were granted fellowships for projects that investigate conservation issues such as restoration, climate change, and the role social identity plays in environmentally sustainable behavior. The students receive funding and access to Arboretum land and resources. The Arboretum will also foster connections and collaborations among the Fellows over the course of their projects.
The Leopold Fellowship includes two years of full support. Mia Keady (PhD candidate, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies) received this fellowship to research the impact of belowground biological factors – such as roots, soil depth, and microbes – on soil stability in prairie and forest systems. The results will help to better understand soil carbon storage in the face of climate change.
Research Fellowships for one year of support were awarded to Benjamin Douglas (PhD candidate, Department of Psychology); Adrianna Gorsky (PhD candidate, Department of Integrative Biology, Center for Limnology); and Michelle Homann (PhD candidate, Department of Integrative Biology).
Douglas’ research will explore how social identity and social norms messaging can be used to encourage Arboretum visitors and Madison community members to participate in the Arboretum’s educational programs, thus fostering the land ethic and strengthening people’s relationship with the environment.
Gorsky will monitor engineered stormwater retention ponds for greenhouse gas production, with an emphasis on methane, to better understand and quantify greenhouse gas production in urban ponds. This research will improve our understanding of drivers of gas production and functionality of stormwater ponds.
Homann’s research will examine the effects of planting order in combination with projected climate change manipulations in tallgrass prairie communities. The results will be highly relevant to understanding how management decisions and a changing climate interact to drive community composition and diversity during the early stages of restoration.
These Fellows were selected for their potential to advance knowledge and have a sustained influence in their field, as well as their projects’ relevance to the Arboretum’s mission and work. The recipients demonstrate a passion for conservation and an understanding of the real-world scientific applications of their work. We look forward to sharing more about the Fellows and the progress of their research.
—Christy Lowney, research specialist