Heard Receives National Science Foundation Grant

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Ohio Wesleyan University a one year grant of $86,735 in order to fund projects that advance field ecology and data science through virtual teaching tools. Among the four funded projects is “Lichens in Diverse Landscapes,” co-led by Belmont Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Matthew Heard. 

Initially, Heard was a part of an interdisciplinary team of faculty members from small undergraduate institutions across the U.S. who received a grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to his colleagues, Drs. Danielle Garneau at SUNY Plattsburg and Mary Beth Kolozsvary at Siena College, Heard helped lead the Lichens in Diverse Landscape Project.

Heard explained, “The goal was to develop an activity for students that focused on using lichens that grow on trees as an assessment tool for looking at air pollution impacts and how humans affect the environment.”

The awarded grant aims to help faculty members create opportunities for students to engage in interactive environmental labs and research projects despite the challenges from COVID-19. The Ecology Research as Education Network (EREN), where Heard serves as a board member, and National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) work together to fund these projects. The project will be utilized by students all across the United States and Canada this fall and spring.

To read the original article from Ohio Wesleyan click here.