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Award Abstract #1065785

Collaborative Research: Ecological Homogenization of Urban America

Emerging Frontiers
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Initial Amendment Date: June 28, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: August 6, 2012
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Award Number: 1065785
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: Elizabeth R. Blood
EF Emerging Frontiers
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: July 1, 2011
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End Date: June 30, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $1,204,712.00
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Investigator(s): Peter Groffman Peter.Groffman@asrc.cuny.edu (Principal Investigator)
J. Morgan Grove (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Institute of Ecosystem Studies
MILLBROOK, NY 12545-0129 (845)677-7600
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Program Reference Code(s): 7959
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Program Element Code(s): 7959


Urban, suburban and exurban environments are important ecosystems and their extent is increasing in the U.S. The conversion of wild or managed ecosystems to urban ecosystems is resulting in ecosystem homogenization across cities, where neighborhoods in very different parts of the country have similar patterns of roads, residential lots, commercial areas and aquatic features. Funds are provided to test the hypothesis that this homogenization alters ecological structure and functions relevant to ecosystem carbon and nitrogen dynamics, with continental scale implications. The research will provide a framework for understanding the impacts of urban land use change from local to continental scales. The research encompasses datasets ranging from household surveys to regional-scale remote sensing across six metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) that cover the major climatic regions of the US (Phoenix, AZ, Miami, FL, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, St. Paul, MN and Los Angeles, CA) to determine how household characteristics correlate with landscaping decisions, land management practices and ecological structure and functions at local, regional and continental scales. This research will transform scientific understanding of an important and increasingly common ecosystem type (?suburbia?) and the consequences to carbon storage and nitrogen pollution at multiple scales. In addition, it will advance understanding of how humans perceive, value and manage their surroundings. The award will leverage an extensive, multi-scale program of education and outreach associated with ongoing LTER and/or ULTRA-EX projects. Activities include K-12 education and outreach to community groups, city/regional planners, natural history museums, state and local agencies and non-governmental organizations. Graduate students will participate in a Distributed Graduate Seminar in Sustainability Science (DGSS) initiated by NCEAS and the University of Minnesota Institute on Environment.


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Groffman, P.M., J. Cavender-Bares, N.D. Bettez, J.M. Grove, S.J. Hall, J.B. Heffernan, S.E. Hobbie, K.L. Larson , J.L. Morse, C. Neill, K. Nelson, J. O?Neil-Dunne, L. Ogden, D. Pataki, C. Polsky, R.R. Chowdhury and M.K. Steele.. "Ecological homogenization of urban USA," Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, v.12, 2014, p. 74. 

M.K. Steele, J. B. Heffernan, N. D. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, S. J. Hall, S. E. Hobbie, K. Larson, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, and R. Roy Chowdhury. "Convergent surface water distributions in U.S. cities.," Ecosystems, v.14, 2014, p. 685. 

C. Polsky, J.M. Grove, C. Knudson, P.M. Groffman, N.D. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, S.J. Hall, J.B. Heffernan, S.E. Hobbie, K. Larson, J.L. Morse, C. Neill, K.C. Nelson, L.A. Ogden, J. O?Neil-Dunne, D.E. Pataki, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. Steele.. "Assessing the homogenization of urban land management with an application to US residential lawncare.," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.111, 2014, p. 4432. 


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