Recent Projects

Current projects at the Field Station include studies of behavioral ecology of birds and amphibians, pollination ecology, invasive plants, wetlands and wetland plants, and climatology and phenological studies. The Field Station also maintains an active program of bat research at the Neda Mine Bat Hibernaculum. See our Annual Report for a list of all projects conducted at the Field Station.

Research at the Station has produced 371 scientific publications and 149 dissertations and theses since 1970 (see our Publications page). In a typical year there are about 40 research projects in progress. These projects span a very wide range of topics and are conducted by researchers from a large number of institutions. Research use is on a year-round basis and the Station’s staff can provide support for research which requires frequent monitoring. A wide variety of long-term data bases are available for the Field Station’s research areas. See our Datasets page for more information.

  • Isolation of Novel Microbes from Natural Environments (8/9/2015) - About 95-99% of the microbes cannot be isolated with conventional methods. In this study, we used culture-independent methods to isolate and identify microbes in natural environments. We collected soil samples from different locations at the Field Station. The r-DNA of the microbes were sequenced to study bacterial phylogeny and taxonomy. The potential natural compounds produced from the isolated microorganisms were evaluated.
  • Experimental Evidence that Brighter Males Sire More Extra-pair Young in Swallows (8/9/2015) - Across taxa, extra-pair mating is widespread among socially monogamous species, but few studies have identified male ornamental traits associated with extra-pair mating success, and even fewer studies have experimentally manipulated male traits to determine if they are related directly to paternity. As a consequence, there is little evidence to support the widespread hypothesis that females choose more ornamented males as extra-pair mates.
  • Bat Activity Surveillance Monitoring at Neda Mine Hibernaculum (8/9/2015) - White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) has spread across 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces. The fungus Psuedogymnoascus destructans (Pd) that causes the syndrome has been found in four other states (MN, MS, NE and OK). This deadly disease has and continues to cause massive bat mortality in eastern North America. Since the winter of 2006–2007, bat population declines ranging from 80–97% have been documented at surveyed hibernacula.
  • Differential Contributions of Multiple Bumble Bee Species on Reproductive Success and Mating Patterns in Mimulus ringens (8/9/2015) - Over the last decade there have been startling changes in the relative abundance and diversity of bumble bee populations, including significant decline of many species both in North America and Europe. Several species often coexist within a population and it is not known whether these species provide equivalent pollination services for native flowering plants.
  • An Urban Cooper’s Hawk Nesting Study in the Metropolitan Milwaukee Area (8/9/2015) - The objectives of this study are to gather baseline data on the reproductive success of Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in the urban metropolitan Milwaukee area, to describe urban nesting habitat, and to compare these data with other Cooper’s hawk studies in Wisconsin. Long-term objectives are to determine Cooper’s hawk nest site fidelity, breeding population mortality and recruitment, population growth trends, immigration and emigration patterns, and natal dispersal patterns for the same urban population.
  • Natural Selection by Insect Pollinators and Seed Predators on Floral Head Traits of Helianthus grosseserratus (Sawtooth Sunflower) (8/9/2015) - Flowering plants must invest energy and resources to produce floral displays that are attractive to pollinators, but these same displays may also attract detrimental insects. How floral traits are shaped by the preferences of both pollinators and herbivores/ seed predators is not fully understood. Using Helianthus grosseserratus (sawtooth sunflower) as my study species, I investigated these conflicting selective pressures on floral head traits through a 2-year study in a large, unbroken tract of mesic prairie in Wisconsin.
  • PhenoCam Monitoring of Seasonal Plant Development and Senescence At Downer Woods and the UWM Field Station (8/9/2015) - An exciting new development in phenological science is the use of fixed cameras to provide continuous near-surface remote sensing observations of seasonal development and senescence within small patches of vegetation.
  • Social and Ecological Causes of Variation in Mating Signals and Mate Preferences (8/9/2015) - We are testing the hypothesis that social and ecological environments influence the expression of mating signals and mate preferences. Using members of the Enchenopa binotata treehopper species complex (Hemiptera: Membracidae), we are testing the interaction between social and host plant environments.
  • Warming Winters and the Regional Implications for the Subnivean Climate (8/9/2015) - Many plants and animals use the stable environment underneath the snowpack, called the subnivium, as a refuge from harsh winter weather. The depth, density, and duration of the snowpack determine the climatic conditions of the subnivium, which are typically much milder due to the insulation provided by the snow.
  • Urban Pollination Study of Green Roofs on the UWM Campus (8/9/2015) - Can green roofs help pollinators thrive alongside urbanization? While our cities continue to grow and green space becomes sparse, it is imperative that we supply pollinators with a resource-rich natural habitat. By analyzing pollinator use, insect diversity, floral abundance, and floral diversity, we sought to discover if green roofs can provide crucial habitat for pollinating insects.

Go To Research Archive