Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) at Merry Lea
Since 2002 Merry Lea has maintained two bird banding stations as part of a nationwide effort to collect data under the MAPS program sponsored by the Institute for Bird Populations. Carol Good-Elliott runs these two stations from May through the beginning of August with the help of field assistants. Birds are trapped with mist nets and are then carefully extracted from it. Researchers examine the birds and record a wide range of data including sex, breeding status, wing length, weight, and bird age. They record the band numbers of birds that were banded previously and give birds without bands a band with a unique number.
The Tallgrass Prairie Project
In the summer and fall of 2008, environmental science students at Goshen College helped initiate a project which examines the effect of the browsing of white-tailed deer on forbs in a restored tallgrass prairie at Merry Lea.
Researchers erected deer exclosures that were about eight feet tall and surrounded two 20 m X 20 m plots in Luckey’s Prairie in the spring of 2008. Since then, they have collected cover and herbivory data to quantify which forbs deer prefer as forage. Dr. Ryan Sensenig oversees this project.
American Chestnut Breeding for Blight Resistance
The American chestnut is a native tree that was commonly found in the Eastern Deciduous Forest at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was virtually exterminated by the early 1950’s due to a stem fungus blight accidentally introduced from northern China. Since that time, plant geneticists have been working to breed a tree that is blight resistant so that it can be reintroduced back into its native range. This is a joint project involving Bill Minter, director of land management at Merry Lea, the Indiana Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation and Purdue University Hardwood Tree Improvement Center .
Gleason Moss Collection
The Gleason Moss Collection is a photographic study of moss specimens that represent a collection of approximately 10,000 species. The purpose of this research project is to make photos of the preserved moss specimens available to interested scientists, naturalists and students as an educational tool. The moss collection is housed on the Goshen College campus.