KSU, Holden Arboretum receive research grant

Staff report


Kent State University and the Holden Arboretum will use a recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the impact people have on vital organisms living in places where water and land meet in Northeast Ohio.

The NSF has awarded Kent State a grant for $345,000 for a project with Holden that provides research opportunities for undergraduate students. The grant is part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF.

The project, titled “REU Sites: Terrestrial-Aquatic Linkages in Urban Impacted Ecosystems” was developed by Patrick Lorch and Mark Kershner in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State, and Kurt Smemo, a biogeochemist at Holden.

The Holden Arboretum, located in Kirtland, Ohio, is one of the largest arboreta and botanical gardens in the country, with more than 3,600 acres of natural areas and cultivated gardens. Earlier this year, Kent State signed a memorandum of understanding with Holden outlining opportunities for collaborative research efforts.

“This is a national program funded by the NSF where students from different universities travel to whatever REU site best suits their interests,” said Laura Leff, chairwoman of the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State. “The students apply to programs where they want to do research, so the students will come from all over.”

The research will be designed to examine how human activities such as urbanization, industry, farming, mining and recreational activities affect the way terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems interact. Students accepted into the 10-week program will receive a stipend for their work.

The three-year continuing grant took effect March 1 and will provide funding of $110,804 for 2013, and more than $234,000 over the next two years.

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