Biological Foundation Grants-in-Aid | Highlands NC
Life finds a way! Despite Covid-19 threats, research continues at the Highlands Biological Station.
For over 50 years, the Highlands Biological Foundation has provided Grants-in-Aid of Research at the Highlands Biological Station, bringing graduate students and research scientists to Highlands from all over the country.
This year, it was not clear whether the station would be able welcome their annual cohort of researchers on campus due to Covid-19. Luckily, with the proper safety precautions, several individuals were able to spend time in residence at HBS – including four recipients of the Foundation’s GIA awards.
In the summer of 2020, the Foundation awarded GIAs to four worthy recipients. Two of these recipients, Meaghan Gade and Philip Gould, were fourth year PhD candidates from The Ohio State University who just completed their fourth consecutive summer of research at HBS.
Gade and Gould conducted ecological research on Red-Legged Salamanders (Plethedon shermani) and Black-Bellied Salamanders (Desmognathus quadramaculatus), respectively. They administered studies on how salamanders cycle nutrients in headwater streams, how they may be impacted by climate change in the future, and how they have been impacted by wildfires in recent years.
Another repeat GIA recipient this year was Mike Osbourn, an Assistant Professor at Lees-McRae College. He spent the summer working on predicting impacts of climate, wildfire, and logging on southern Appalachian salamanders. Our fourth GIA recipient, Rachel Jordan, will be conducting her first season of field work at HBS this winter. Jordan, a second year PhD Candidate from the University of Wisconsin, will evaluate how native conifers respond to winter warming.
The research funded by the Foundation’s GIA program contributes to a better understanding of the incredible biodiversity of this region and how global climate change will likely impact it. The researchers and their work also provide conservation planners as well as forest and stream management with recommendations for practices that will better protect the unique biodiversity of the southern Appalachians.
Our GIA program has yielded hundreds of graduate theses and thousands of scientific papers. In just the past 15 years, over $300,000 in GIAs have been awarded.
For more information about our GIAs or other efforts that the Foundation supports at HBS, visit highlandsbiological.org or call us at (828) 526-2221. Highlands Biological Station is a multi-center campus of Western Carolina University.