MaLoM! LaMoM? MoMill? BryoMill?
OK. It needs a better name, but the project has started.
In order to learn the local mosses and liverworts, I have collected and am collecting bryophytes from around campus. For example, one Saturday this past Fall we collected 10 bryophytes at the Millersville University Preserve. Once I have identified them, I will document them here on my blog as well as upload the information to Nature Atlas, our home-grown species-mapping tool.
In my past work, I have focused on population dynamics of liverworts. I think I want to move forward with a community-focused research project. But even if I focus on the population dynamics of one or two species, this will help me figure out which species.
So far, I have observed Entodon sp., Hypnum sp., Leucobryum sp., and Orthotrichum sp. And those are just the ones off the top of my head.
Or poison ivy with a berry.
Or Marchantia with a gemma or a spore.
The Stieha Lab of Plant Ecology has started at Millersville University, both in the sense that I have arrived and that the semester has started.
I have four classes that I am teaching this semester:
(1) Non-majors biology and (2) associated laboratory, where my focus is the importance of biology to us, because we are biology;
(3) Botany laboratory, where students will realize that plants are cool(er than animals!); and
(4) Population and Community Ecology, where the students will develop a sense of pop and comm at the conceptual level and also at the local, sense-of-place level.
For research this semester, I will be
(1) determining plant responses to damage across a range of varieties in a yet-to-be-determined agricultural crop and
(2) looking for local systems to begin studying long-term population dynamics. There’s a nice stream on campus, and I see it has Lunularia cruciata, a thalloid liverwort known for its half-moon gemma cups.
I am using this semester to merge my teaching and research. For example, working with the students in Population and Community Ecology will get me working with the local systems.
Here’s to the start.