Here are the research projects we are working on to develop the forecasts, strategies and means of communication necessary to enhance resilience to environmental change.
Development of Technology for Tracking Wildlife
Environmental change is causing animals to move into different geographic areas, leading to the transmission of diseases to new hosts, including humans, and the loss of beneficial natural processes, such as pollination. By developing open-source technologies, Institute Fellow Adam Fudickar and his team are making it easier for biologists to track animals in the wild.
Downscaling Climate for Indiana
Projecting future climate is essential to prepare for and mitigate environmental change at the global and local scale. A team led by IU assistant professor Chanh Kieu is employing a state-of-the-art climate modeling approach to provide multiple future climate scenarios for Indiana along with local, actionable climate data for Indiana residents, business owners, and policymakers.
Farm Fertilizer Use and Climate Change: A Social-Ecological Systems Approach
Farming in the Lower Wabash: Minimizing Impacts and Adapting to Change
IU associate professor James Farmer and his team seek to better understand southwest Indiana farmers’ experience with implementing conservation management systems and adapting to environmental change occurring in the lower Wabash River watershed.
Impacts of Invasive Tree Species on the Sustainability of Freshwater Resources
Freshwater supplies in the Eastern United States are important—yet highly vulnerable—resources closely tied to the health of forest watersheds. In this project, IU assistant professor Taehee Hwang seeks to understand the link between invasive species, which can alter the landscape, and large-scale hydrologic behavior.
Isotopic Studies of Animal Migration
Predicting future wildlife response and resilience to environmental change requires baseline information on how species interact with their environment. Institute Research Fellow Tara Smiley and her collaborators are using naturally-occurring biochemical tracers, known as stable isotopes, to look at shifts in the timing and geography of bird migration as their habitats and resources are impacted by human activities and environmental change.
Kellogg Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research Farmer Panel Survey
A multi-year survey of row-crop farmers in the Midwest is exploring how farmers’ environmental views, farming practices, and experiences with climate change are shifting over-time.
Maintenance of Bird Biodiversity
By measuring population-level differences in key traits related to bird migration and the timing of reproduction, IU distinguished professor Ellen Ketterson and her team are looking at the ability of a bird species to adapt to environmental change.
Predicting the Seasonal Distribution of Agricultural Pests
To inform Indiana farmers about future agricultural pests, Institute Research Fellow Adam Fudickar and his team will study the seasonal movements and reproduction of black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon), a moth that migrates into Indiana from the south and causes significant damage to common crops like corn.
Project Vector Shield
To understand and guard against disease-carrying organisms such as ticks and mosquitoes, IU researchers are establishing a long-term surveillance network in Indiana called Project Vector Shield.
Protecting Migratory Animals: Identifying Constraints to Reproduction
As the environment continues to change, understanding the mechanisms that allow animals to adapt has become critical. Institute Research Fellow Adam Fudickar employs cutting-edge technology and experimental approaches to identify factors that determine when animals, such as birds, migrate and reproduce. The results of this research will inform policy and management strategies for conserving migratory populations.
Solutions for Mitigating the Impact of Urbanization on Animal Abundance and Diversity
Wildlife provides numerous benefits to humans, from activities like bird watching and hunting to ecosystem services like plant pollination and pest control. Institute Research Fellow Adam Fudickar and his team aim to identify ways to mitigate the impact of human activities on wildlife so that Hoosiers can continue to enjoy the native flora and fauna of Indiana.
Residential Tick Exposure Prevention Project
With incidence of tick exposure on the rise in parts of Indiana, IU assistant professor Oghenekaro Omodior and his collaborators are investigating the causes of adverse health outcomes related to tick exposure and how to prevent such exposure, with an emphasis on managed ecosystems.
Rivers and Landscape Modeling
Goals: Reconstruct how draining of wetlands altered stream patterns and forecast how changes will continue and what impact these will have on flood risk, erosion, and habitats.
STREAMS: Spatial and Temporal River Evolution and Modeling Study
By mid-century Indiana will become wetter, leading to more frequent river flooding, more erosion from hillslopes, and more river migration. To better predict these changes, IU associate professor Douglas Edmonds leads a team that is observing and modeling Indiana rivers and hillslopes, with a focus on the White River Basin.
Sustainable Water Resources in Indiana in a Changing World
IU distinguished professor Ellen Ketterson and her team are focused on developing technology for tracking movements of migratory organisms, such as birds. These animals provide essential ecological services and also pose risks by transporting pathogens across long distances.
Anthropogenic Impacts on the Indiana Hydroscape and Landscape, 1700 to Present
Biome—History of Indiana Landscapes
Goals: Forecast changes in distribution of species, assess roles of climate and topography in historical changes, and evaluate effects of distant habitats on Indiana’s biomes.
Climate Takings: The Tensions Between Private Property and the Need to Adapt to Environmental Change
Institute Research Fellow Luis Inaraja Vera is analyzing the tensions between climate-related or environmental regulations and the constitutional protections of property rights, exploring these issues in a variety of contexts, including flooding, sea-level rise, fresh water availability, and private land conservation.
Collaborative Partnerships for Conservation
Collective Action and Invasive Species Management
In Indiana, organizations known as cooperative invasive species management areas (CISMAs) are collectively addressing invasive species issues in communities statewide. By partnering with non-profit organizations and CISMAs, Institute Research Fellow Abigail Sullivan is exploring opportunities to improve management in a changing climate.
Data Integration Platform
Institute Data Manager Justin Peters leads the effort to create the Data Integration Platform, a centralized data platform for the distribution of data and knowledge being generated by Institute-affiliated researchers.
Hoosier Environmental Forecast Matrix
IU’s Gary Motz leads the Hoosier Environmental Forecast Matrix, an effort to modernize and incorporate environmental change data generated by Institute Research Fellows into IndianaMap, the largest public collection of Indiana geographic information systems (GIS) map data.
Nutrient Management in the Wabash River Basin
Pleasant Run Waterway Project
Many waterways in Indiana are so contaminated that communities have largely abandoned them. Indianapolis is undertaking a massive restoration project to improve conditions. Partnering with the city, IU, and IUPUI, researchers are determining how quickly these waterway systems can be restored so communities can again value them as assets.
Production of Valuable Products via Solar and CO2 Recycling
To reduce the carbon emissions of some industrial biopharmaceutical processes, IU Professor David Kehoe and his colleagues are investigating the use of photosynthetic bacteria as carbon sinks.
Urban Green Infrastructure Inventory and Analysis
Green infrastructure, defined as natural, restored, or cultivated green spaces managed for their associated ecosystem services, is a growing strategy for achieving climate resilience. IU Associate Professor Heather Reynolds leads an inventory and analysis effort to understand the costs, benefits, institutions, and actors that optimize urban green infrastructure for community resilience.
Using Voluntary Programs to Change Behavior
To deepen the understanding of the role voluntary programs can play in environmental policy, Institute Research Fellow Luis Inaraja Vera is examining the strengths and weaknesses of voluntary initiatives in two contexts: the control of non-point sources of water pollution, such as fertilizer runoff, and the cleanup of contaminated sites.
Deep Ecologies in the Time of Climate Change
Institute Fellow Maria Whiteman is investigating and illustrating the environmental benefits of fungi by conveying how the fungi and mycelium world form a functional and important part of Indiana's biodiversity.
Educating for Environmental Change
Educating for Environmental Change is providing immersive, hands-on workshops for Indiana educators focused on climate change and its impact on local communities. Led by IU faculty in collaboration with K-12 teachers and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology, this effort prepares teachers using data-driven classroom lessons and age-appropriate activities.
Hoosier Life Survey
The Hoosier Life Survey, led by Institute Fellow Matthew Houser and IU Professor Eric Sandweiss, will provide new insights into Hoosiers' views of and expectations for climate change in their region of Indiana. As the only survey of its kind in Indiana, it will also reveal how Hoosiers are preparing for climate change, their support for community-level resilience and mitigation policies, and what factors are shaping these preferences.
Mathers Museum 800 Seasons Exhibit
Through an exhibition entitled “800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington 1818-2018" visitors are encouraged to reflect on how humans settled and developed the city of Bloomington and the surrounding area and what the ramifications of those choices may be for the future.
Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival (MAPS)
Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) is an international collaborative effort to study breeding birds and the environmental factors influencing their success, including climate change. Led by IU Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson, the MAPS station at Kent Farm contributes valuable data to this worldwide initiative.
Picturing Indiana Biodiversity
Cyanobacteria Ecosystems Services
Goals: Develop cyanobacterial carbon sinks that could co-produce chemicals, renewable energy, and other useful services.
Invasive Species: Experimental Tests of Forecast Predictions
Goals: Understand and predict species most likely to become invasive and their impact on native habitats and communities, with an overall goal to prevent biological invasions.
Landscape Development and the Impacts of European Land Use Practices
Modeling Ground Water and Arsenic
Goals: Develop holistic models of environmental change to evaluate the sustainability of Indiana’s water resources through the end of the century.
Stream Monitoring in the Lower Wabash Watershed
Goals: Evaluate interactions between land management decisions, such as crops, fertilizer timing and cover crops, and climate in controlling nutrient export from the landscape.
Web Scraping - Green Inventory of Environmental Entrepreneurs in Indiana
Goals: Examine invasive tree species to understand how invasive plant species change the way water is drawn out of the ground and released into the atmosphere.