Six students have been awarded research fellowships totaling $32,000 from the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology.
The Hixon Center awards are given to F&ES students who conduct natural and social science research, and develop education and outreach projects on urban ecosystem restoration, urban and rural forestry, and the pollution of air, water and soil in cities.
The grants were awarded to Molly Greene
, “Fresh Kills: Waste-scapes, Life-scapes and the Reinvention of Place”; Anobha Gurung
, “Understanding Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution in Kathmandu, Nepal”; Max Lambert
, “Effects of Land Use on Endocrine Disruption Among Amphibian Species”; Dexter Locke
, “Neighborhoods as Urban Socio-ecological Patches: Building A Community Forestry Typology”; Christopher Shughrue
, “Delhi Urbanization as a Dynamical System: Pattern Instabilities and Opportunities”; and Lisa Weber
, “Examining the Efficacy of Connecticut Constructed Wetlands as an Urban Stormwater Best Management Practice.”
“The research of these Hixon fellows is extraordinary for its relevance to the lives of millions of people who live in and near urban ecosystems and most of the United States and the world,” said Gaboury Benoit, director of the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Grinstein Class of 1954 Professor of Environmental Chemistry.
Greene’s research will examine how humans have shaped and been shaped by the complex ecology of New York’s Fresh Kills landfill since its opening in 1947 to its present-day conversion to a 2,200-acre public park. The park plan is touted as one of the world’s most ambitious reclamation projects. She will investigate how changes to the landfill over the years have influenced local residents’ views of waste and nature, the changing meaning of urban ecology, and the role of parks in linking the urban with the ecological.
Gurung’s research will use modeling to estimate air pollution exposure in Kathmandu, Nepal, for use in epidemiological studies. The research will identify areas of high exposure in the city, how the exposure varies in relation to major roads, the influence of weather on traffic exposure, and whether models developed in Western cities are applicable for a rapidly growing city in a developing Asian country.
Lambert will examine the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) in three amphibian species that exist in different environments. His research will assess the relationship between endocrine disruption and the pollutants present among different land uses. EDCs are known to alter hormonal functioning in wildlife and humans, and can be found in plastic bottles, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.
Locke will try to illuminate the socioeconomic, demographic, environmental and historical contexts associated with present-day urban and community forestry practices. Just as a business might customize its products or adjust its advertising to appeal to different markets, a community forester must adjust his or her communication and outreach strategies when engaging citizens in different neighborhoods.
The objective of Shughrue’s project is to improve the scientific understanding of how megacities form and how they are shaped by geopolitical and socioeconomic forces. The study will focus on the urban dynamics of Delhi, India, where development projects and foreign investment have increased automobile emissions and the displacement of the urban poor. He will develop a model that will forecast how urban areas and social patterns will evolve in Delhi over the coming decades.
From now until November, Weber will measure the flow of nitrogen in two constructed wetlands that are surrounded by urban areas in Hamden and Woodbridge. Nitrogen from lawn fertilizers and other sources contaminates Connecticut waterways and Long Island Sound by depleting oxygen necessary to sustain life. The project will assist Long Island Sound managers who are trying to reduce nitrogen levels from nonpoint sources to avoid fish die-offs.
More information about the research of current and former Hixon fellows