Blurring the lines between working and conservation lands: Enhancing bird and pollinator habitat using prairie strips [E2015-10]

Project Description: 

This project will look at bird and pollinator response to prairie strips planted on commercial farm fields: for the farmland area converted, do the STRIPS actually provide a measurable, positive bird and pollinator response? Data on bird response will be collected via autonomous recording units, auditory and visual bird surveys, and nest searching and monitoring. Bee species richness and diversity data will be collected using pan traps, blue vane traps and sweep netting. Partners include the Des Moines Water Works, ISU Research and Demonstration Farms, the USDA Farm Service Agency, Whiterock Conservancy and 16 private farmers who are implementing STRIPS on their land.

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Lead Investigator: 
Lisa Schulte Moore and Mary Harris
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Lisa Schulte Moore is an associate professor in ISU Natural Resource Ecology and Management. She has in-depth training in landscape ecology, particularly as applied to forest and avian ecology. Since joining the ISU faculty in 2003, she co-leads the Science-based Trials of Row-crops Integrated with Prairie Strips research team. She is a Fellow in the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program operated by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and is a trustee in The Nature Conservancy of Iowa, and has been honored for her early accomplishments in teaching and research. Her degrees are in biology and forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Minnesota-Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mary Harris is adjunct assistant professor in ISU Natural Resource Ecology and Management where she teaches and leads the Harris Lab. Her training in biology, wildlife biology, integrated pest management and entomology is focused on pollinators and her research addresses issues of biodiversity, habitat quality and environmental hazards to pollinators in an agricultural setting.  She’s currently a researcher and outreach team member for the STRIPS project, and is engaged in a Farm Service Agency effort to assess the efficacy of CRP contour strips in providing native bee habitat. With support from a founding partner in the Pollinator Partnership, Harris leads a honey bee study on neonicotinoid dust exposure from treated corn seed. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of California-Los Angeles, master's degrees in wildlife biology and integrated pest management from the University of Montana and University of California-Riverside (respectively) and a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Georgia. 


Co Investigators: 

Mark Klaver, ISU Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Matt Helmers, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering