Our weedy work has MADE it, big time! (Well, sort of...)
As you may or may not know, the creators of this blog form the Struwe research lab (http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~struwe/) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, USA. This summer, the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) Office of Communication wrote an online news article about one of our campus-based, wild urban plant (aka "weeds"!) biodiversity projects.
Dr. Struwe began this particular project in 2011 after noticing that weedy plant species were abundant right outside of our offices and labs here on Rutgers campus, and especially in the parking lot cracks and curb edges. For the past 3 years, plant surveys of campus parking lots have taken place on a yearly basis. I took the project under my wing this summer by expanding the sampling protocol from previous years and, most importantly, by giving this graduate research endeavor a nickname: the "Parking Lot Project", or "PLP", for short.
This summer was an interesting and exciting time for us in the lab because we had an undergraduate researcher (funded by Rutgers' Aresty Program) to help us with the field work and to develop a sub-project related to urban weeds of her own. Read the article, featuring Dr. Struwe, my undergraduate researcher assistant Alisha, and myself, here.
To all our of amazement, PLP 2014 will have identified over 100 plant species that grow and thrive in the extremely harsh conditions of Rutgers University-New Brunswick campus parking lots once the surveys are completed (and all samples identified!) this fall. Now I call that success!