The Institute for Biodiversity and the Environment

The Institute for Biodiversity and the Environment

Jessup’s Institute for Biodiversity and the Environment (IBE) is working on four projects including the Pacific Crest Trail Biodiversity Megatransect, Raccoon and Doty Creek Salmonid Emigration and Distribution study, Burrowing Owl Artificial Nest study and the Landfill Environmental Chemistry project.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Biodiversity Megatransect is an ambitious ecological study involving undergraduate researchers and faulty in Jessup’s environmental science program. Approximately 3,578 survey sites have been utilized to record hundreds of vertebrate species using a variety of novel, noninvasive techniques. These are conducted continuously as observers hike along the 2,650-mile trail. The PCT ranges from the Mexican border to the Canadian border along the mountain ranges of California, Oregon, and Washington. This longitudinal research study helps monitor climate change effects on avian diversity.

The Salmonid Emigration and Distribution study provides undergraduates with opportunities to come alongside IBE’s Research Associates in ongoing research projects through Jessup’s Science Honors program. Conducted in 2017, the Coon Creek Watershet Assessment identified a lack of information regarding the timing of juvenile salmonid emigration as a general concern and of great value to informing restoration opportunities. This project seeks to establish an annually occurring monitoring program and provide information regarding the overall success of restoration projects within the watershed over time.

Burrowing Owls are in steep decline throughout their range and have been extirpated from much of their range in California and Placer County is no exception. Although many owls have limited breeding success with the use of artificial burrows, Placer Land Trust experienced good results using artificial burrows on one of their vernal pool grasslands preserves north of Lincoln, California. These burrows are being used by wintering owls and have produced a number of successful broods over the past few years. The above ground burrows are especially important because vernal pools cause underground burrows to flood. These above-ground structures can be used in wet as well as dry years, thereby assisting owl populations to expand.

Municipal waste is a never-ending product of urban cities with the average United States citizen producing about 4.4 pounds per day! Jessup’s Landfill Environmental Chemistry project investigates the biology and chemistry of landfill leachate, the impact of gas emissions and the efficiency of various technologies in the conversion of green waste to compost. Although landfilling of waste is well-established, best management procedures are still evolving to minimize the carbon footprint of this remediation technique.