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Environmental Conservation

Predation is considered a key limiting process, and management actions for declining species, such as forest-dwelling songbirds, are often aimed at reducing impacts of predation. This is of particular concern in areas undergoing urbanization, since densities of potential predators tend to increase dramatically with urbanization.

This grant is a "proof-of-principle" proposal to determine if imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, causes obesity and insulin resistance (IR) in the insect obesity and IR model, D. melanogaster, in a manner similar, if not identical, to the effects seen with this compound when administered to mice.

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is a crucial ecological and economic component of forests in the eastern U.S. and Canada. In the southeastern U.S., white pine is an especially critical associate of forests in the Appalachian Mountains as hemlock trees have been in decline due to the exotic hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae).

This project aims to design and conduct economic laboratory experiments to investigate behavioral issues related to the defense of common pool resources from encroachment by outsiders. Common pool resources are assets -- often natural assets such as forests, fisheries and water supplies --t hat are managed by a group of users. These resources are prone to inefficient use because individuals tend toward over-exploitation relative to what would maximize the welfare of the group.

This project focuses on the economics of coping with decision environment anomalies through preparedness. Approaches to decision making in the presence of global anomalies and the economic implications for individual and collective preparedness will be investigated.

Recreational angling is a popular leisure activity for residents and visitors in Massachusetts, with one of the most sought after species being striped bass. Many of the striped bass are released following capture because of regulations and a growing conservation ethic among anglers, however little is known about how stresses associated with the capture event impacts behavior and survival.

Mitochondria are critical for production of ATP, the energy currency of a cell, but glucose utilization varies greatly among cell types. Inherited mitochondrial disorders affect neural tissues most prominently revealing the vulnerability of these tissues. In mice, prolonged exposure to mitochondrial toxins can lead to symptoms that mimic Parkinson's disease. The mammary gland is a tissue that, in its resting state, has relatively modest energy requirements.

Pitch pine-scrub oak barrens are a globally threatened, fire-dependent habitat that harbor numerous declining, rare, or imperiled plant and animal species. Threats to barrens include development, fragmentation, and fire exclusion which have reduced the extent of barrens communities to 10% of their original extent in western Massachusetts. Pitch pine-scrub oak (PPSO) forests are a significant contributor to the biodiversity of the Northeast.

Despite the significant efforts to reduce nitrogen discharge from wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs), the Long Island Sound (LIS) area affected by hypoxia actually increased over the last decade. Our preliminary research has suggested that WWTFs utilizing the biological nitrogen removal (BNR) process may actually increase particular forms of N that are more potent for algal bloom in LIS. We propose a research plan to evaluate the true impact of upgrading WWTF for N removal (i.e., BNR) on receiving water eutrophication and toxic algal bloom.

The aim of this collaboration between the UMass College of Natural Sciences and the Massachusetts Envirothon is to encourage high school age young people to develop the science literacy, citizen skills, and knowledge of routes to further education and careers that will allow them to participate responsibly and effectively in natural resource conservation and land use decisions in Massachusetts communities.

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