Katherine McLaughlin ’25
Developing Metrics for Community-scale Biodiversity Restoration and Management
I studied the survival rates of native flora species in Princeton, New Jersey. This research furthered the efforts of Friends of Princeton Open Spaces (FOPOS) to create a local healthy and biodiverse ecosystem. My co-intern and I developed a protocol for determining the survival of planted native species. We considered factors such as method of planting, canopy cover, environmental pressures, and other species present. Cataloging the species in this way allowed us to gauge the site’s ecological health in a Floristic Quality Assessment. This research and protocol will enable FOPOS, and other such organizations to achieve greater success in restoring healthy forest ecosystems. I also acted as a land steward by removing invasive species, planting native flowers, and coordinating volunteer sessions. Additionally, I assisted with turtle and insect surveys and a carbon storage survey. I learned much about how field research considers the broad workings of a forest site and how to include many elements while still developing useful data. This internship further illuminated the important intersection between community engagement, local protected spaces, and greater biodiversity on a larger scale. I look forward to continuing to research forest stewardship.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Friends of Princeton Open Spaces (FOPOS) - Princeton, New Jersey
Anna Corichi, Director, Natural Resources and Stewardship, FOPOS; Andy Dobson, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University; Annarie Lyles, Trustee, FOPOS