Feb. 4: Urban Greening and Ecosystem Services

The next presentation of the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN) Green Infrastructure, Climate, and Cities Seminar Series will be held on Wednesday, February 4th at 4pm (EST) at Drexel University.  A webinar option will also be provided.

Space is limited, so please RSVP for both in-person and webinar attendance at http://www.ccrun.org/seminars

Urban Greening and Ecosystem Services
Dr. Matthew Palmer, Columbia University

Dr. Krista McGuire, Barnard College


Microbial communities in the soils and growing media of green infrastructure (GI) likely facilitate many of the benefits that GI are valued for, but few studies have assessed their role in the urban environment. We surveyed microbial communities across New York City GI installations and found evidence that GI type, location, and season had significant effects on the composition and function of bacteria and fungi. These results have implications for GI maintenance and design.


Dr. Krista McGuire is a microbial ecologist in the Department of Biology at Barnard College and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Her research interests focus on how plant-soil-microbial feedbacks influence ecosystem processes and how these dynamics are impacted by global changes such as urbanization, land-use change, and shifting climate. To address these feedbacks, she conducts investigations in tropical ecosystems as well as in green infrastructure of New York City.



Plants are the foundation of the many of the ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure.  They influence energy and water budgets, synthesize organic matter that fuels microbial and animal communities, and provide habitat for a wide variety of organisms.    Although the plant communities in green infrastructure installations are generally designed, mortality of planted material and the colonization of new species create a dynamic system that is poorly understood.  Dr. Palmer will discuss ongoing research on changes in the plants communities of green roofs and street-level tree pits and discuss how these changes may influence ecosystem functions.


Dr. Matthew Palmer is an ecologist in the department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. His research interests are primarily in plant community ecology, with emphases on conservation, restoration and ecosystem function. His current research is on the community dynamics and ecosystem functions of urban forests, wetlands, and green infrastructure, the population biology of rare plants, and the effects of forest canopy disturbance on understory structure and function.


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