By Kyla Wilson- Biodiversity
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!...well, not exactly, but the Biodiversity Team is excited to discover the diverse ecology of UCLA’s campus!
Biodiversity is one of the newest teams of ESLP and we plan to lay the foundation for future years of biodiversity Action Research. Our fearless leaders are Sid--a 5th year Chemical Engineering and Environmental Science double major with a Conservation Biology concentration who has spent more time in the field than in school pursuing his passion for wildlife conservation and ecology--and Chris, a 3rd year transfer Geography major interested in Urban Planning, Water Conservation, and Sustainable Development from the Bay Area. They will be guiding our team of six as we develop our research plan and choose a focus for our project. Now let’s introduce the Biodiversity Dream Team! Yen-Mai is a 4th year biology major who enjoys nature, loves trying new food and exploring new places. Tiffany is a 2nd year Environmental Science major with a concentration in Conservation Biology and excited about her first year involvement in ESLP. Nathaniel, also a 2nd year Environmental Science major, is minoring in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and is interested in law, likes basketball, and playing guitar. I, Kyla, round out the 2nd year Environmental Science trifecta. I am a book-devouring, sweater-wearing cat lover who enjoys climbing trees.
We met with our stakeholder, Professor Harrigan, on Tuesday. Ryan Harrigan (he insisted that we call him Ryan) is a researcher at the Center for Tropical Research at IoES. Together we discussed how we might go about assessing campus biodiversity through measures of plant and animal species. Currently, we are looking into evaluating plant species variety in areas on campus that are less maintained and more wild like the botanical garden and stone creek canyon and areas where the landscaping is more manicured. We are also interested in how plant species variety affects the number of reptiles, amphibians, and bird species. We are also considering comparing native and non-native species and what biodiversity they attract to campus as well as how comparatively drought tolerant they are and measuring water levels in the soil. Our goal is to design a plan that will promote water efficiency, cost efficiency, and biodiversity on campus.