UNC students conduct research while in Highlands

University students conducting environmental fieldwork and research at the Highlands Biological Station have spent the past semester delving into the ecological diversity of the Southern Appalachians.

The students conducted research and internships in conjunction with several local organizations. This year, the Highlands Biological Station partnered with the Little Tennessee Watershed Association, the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society, the Wilderness Society, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, and the Highlands Plateau Greenway, providing the students experience with professional groups while advancing the conservation and educational initiatives of the organizations.

Student research ranged from field studies looking for rare species of salamanders to the development of environmental curriculum for local schools and citizen science initiatives.

Projects included:

• Developing a plan for revegetating sections of the Highlands Greenway with native plant species.

• Updating the State of the Streams report for the Little Tennessee watershed.

• Looking for trends in the Highlands’ Important Bird Area, recently designated by the Audubon Society, using historic and recent birding records, including archival material from the Biltmore Estate.

• Fish monitoring of the abundance and diversity in the greater Little Tennessee watershed, collected over a 20-year period by Dr. William McLarney of Franklin, in collaboration between the Coweeta Hydrologic Lab, the Little Tennessee Watershed Association, and the Highlands Biological Station with help from the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.

 

Want to know more?

UNC-Chapel Hill students who spent the past semester based at the Highlands Biological Station will present their research findings at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 9. The presentations will be held at the newly-renovated Bruce Biodiversity Building, located at 265 N. Sixth Street in Highlands, accessible from the neighboring Nature Center. 828.526.2602.

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