A Remote-Video Artificial Stream System for the Ecological Research and Education Center, University of Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


We are now completing the planning process for the Ecological Research and Education Center (EREC) field station (NSF DBI 1418723) and propose to take the next major step in its development. This requires building on the key features that make EREC unique. These are: • Semi-field research facilities (replicated artificial systems under near-natural environmental variation) linked to productive research programs • Sharing high-quality building space with collaborators that facilitate a connection with schools—the PIMSER group (Partnership Institute for Mathematics and Science Education Reform) • The heavily human-impacted (suburban) setting in a neighborhood of relatively low socioeconomic status • High-volume university-level instructional activity • The rapidly developing BIOTIC (BIOlogy Teams In the Community) community engagement program Goals of the present proposal are (1) to expand the reach and depth of research activity at EREC by adding a new remote-video-linked artificial stream system; and thereby (2) to expand the quality and quantity of research by scientists in the region, and (3) to advance the SPARK program (School-Powered Academic Research in Kentucky), making K-12 students and teachers active collaborators in the front-line research at EREC. Achieving these goals will substantially increase the types and quality of data that can be obtained, analyzed, and broadly shared at the field station—particularly those related to life histories, movement patterns, and spatial dynamics in stream systems in the context of global change. Additional researchers, teachers, and students at all levels will become collaborators and stakeholders in these activities. Intellectual Merit: The requested new facility was identified in an extensive planning process to maximize the attractiveness of this new field station to researchers and upgrade the science they can accomplish. The remote-video artificial stream system will expand the types and increase quality of distribution, behavioral, and demographic data for stream organisms and will address a set of key questions that require well-replicated experimentation under near-natural conditions. This facility will help establish EREC as a leader in experimental studies of natural and disturbed populations in urban and suburban environments. Broader Impacts: The studies associated with the requested new facility in this project are linked through the SPARK program to schools in the socioeconomically challenged area surrounding the EREC field station. We expect to extend these linkages and expand the SPARK concept to other schools and universities through the Kentucky Organization of Field Stations (KOFS) and the national Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS). Aided by the requested new facility, faculty and graduate student researchers at EREC will be able to further expand BIOTIC community engagement activities and EREC’s close collaboration with the neighboring PIMSER group, emphasizing ways that active research can support implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in Kentucky school districts.
Effective start/end date8/15/177/31/19


  • National Science Foundation: $414,649.00


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