Because it is a high quality natural area right on the Marian University campus, the EcoLab has been the subject of many research investigations. Research monitoring the effects of the current restoration activities on birds, amphibians, and vegetation is on-going. Each year, several more research projects are done in the EcoLab by Marian University students and faculty. Volunteers and other researchers can get involved as well. For example, birders can participate in a walking survey of the avifauna of the EcoLab. Others with a particular taxonomic, geological, or biological expertise are also invited to help us learn more about this important area.
Selected Research Projects
- Effects of Honeysuckle Removal on Biodiversity and Species Richness of Understory Vegetation. A paper based on this research was published in the journal “Ecological Restoration.”
- Assessing the Quality of Restored Wetland Habitat. An article based on this research has been published.
- Students and faculty are mapping and describing beaver canals, a little known aspect of beaver biology.
- Students and faculty are assessing how the wetlands affect water quality. The one wetland in particular that we are looking at tends to remove phosphorous, but not nitrate, in the Fall.
- Students and faculty are obtaining baseline data on groundwater chemistry. There are groundwater seeps all over the property.
- Students and faculty are doing a cost/benefit analysis on assorted types of predation protection mechanisms for saplings along Crooked Creek. Predation, so far, has been minimal. But, saplings growing in solid tubes are about double the size of other treatments.
- We are gaining baseline data on birds in the area, including breeding bird point counts.
- We are developing a GIS database for the EcoLab.