Meet our RAPs

2016 RAP Award
Zach Gajewski
Virginia Tech – Ph.D. CandidateZach Gajewski, a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, was awarded the 2016 Research Assistantship Program grant to conduct his research on the distribution of the pathogenic chytrid fungus that affects frogs and other amphibians. This fungus is devastating frog populations around the world. Zach is looking at its distribution in the Gorge and across the East Coast, and how the microbial community on amphibian skin may potentially offer resistance to the fungal pathogen. Zach also will be mentoring WTP student William Cranier.

2015 RAP Award
Geoff Griffiths
SUNY ESF – Ph.D. CandidateDoctoral student and 2015 RAP recipient Geoff Griffiths (SUNY ESF) will be launching his research this spring.  Geoff and his advisor, Prof Greg McGee, will develop techniques to restore native wildflowers to our younger forests, which are still recovering from past agricultural land use.  These areas tend to lack many wildflowers that serve important functions in the ecosystem.  It may take centuries for these plants to recolonize naturally, so Geoff is figuring out how we can speed up that process through restoration and management.  He will be mentoring Matthew Gomes in the WTP.

2013 RAP Award
Emily Stephan
SUNY ESF – Ph.D. Candidate
Sustainable Mianus River Watershed Management Plans developed with Community-based i-Tree Hydro Modeling
Through urbanization we have created an “urban biogeochemistry” that involves imbalances in watershed nutrient cycles, polluted waterways, and compromised ecosystems due to adverse interactions between society and the environment. Excess and bioavailable nitrogen is of particular concern in developed environments since it can accelerate eutrophication and degrade aquatic systems. more…

Rebecca Walling 2012 RAP Award
Rebecca Walling
SUNY ESF – Masters Candidate
Measuring the Damage Caused by Invasive Earthworms in Hemlock Forests
Since colonization, people have introduced earthworms to our environment. In the northern United States, there are no native earthworms. Earthworms are popularly thought of as beneficial; fishermen use them as bait, farmers add them to their fields, and ecologists cultivate them in their compost bins.more…

Sheila Saia 2011 RAP Award
Sheila Saia
Cornell University – Doctoral Candidate
Phosphate Accumulating Organisms Under Natural Conditions
Excessive phosphates can be detrimental to water ecology and water quality. Phosphate accumulating organisms (PAO) exist in soils under natural conditions and can remove excessive phosphates. Sheila’s research will seek to understand how PAO are distributed in our watershed and how they are affected by different weather and landscape conditions. more…

Rachel Bricklin 2010 RAP Award
Rachel Bricklin
Fordham University – Doctoral Candidate
Impact of Fragmentation on Migratory Birds
Birds can act as important environmental indicators, seed dispersers, and insect predators. Rachel’s ongoing research will provide new information about migratory bird stopover ecology to help better manage urban and suburban green spaces for species of concern. more…

Steve Brady 2009 RAP Award
Steve Brady
Yale University – Doctoral Candidate
Road Salt Impact on Amphibians
Run-off from roads brings salts (and other toxins) into wetland ecosystems that can have a negative effect on reproduction and survival of amphibian life. Steve’s research will develop a clearer understanding of how amphibians adapt to road salts. This will help managers gauge the severity of pollutant runoff and which species are adaptable. more…

Mike O'Brien 2008 RAP Award
Michael O’Brien
SUNY ESF – Doctoral Candidate
Symbiotic Relationships of Fungi and Hemlock
In order to buffer our old-growth hemlock forests, MRGP managers would like to promote the establishment of hemlocks in some of our younger forest stands that were previously farmland and pasture. Mike’s research examined how hemlock seedling growth is related to the presence of various fungi species in the soil. more…

Linda Gormezano 2007 RAP Award
Linda Gormezano
CUNY – Doctoral Candidate
Genetic Monitoring of Coyotes
Eastern coyotes are physically and genetically different from their western counterpart, due to hybridization with wolves as they moved into the area from the north. In this noninvasive study, Linda uses a Dutch Shephard detection dog is find naturally deposited coyote scat which is analyzed genetically to identify coyotes and track their movement patterns. more…
The mission of Mianus River Gorge, an independent, not-for-profit organization, is to preserve, protect and promote appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River watershed through land acquisition and conservation, scientific research and public education throughout the region.
Mianus River Gorge, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, New York 10506     914-234-3455

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