Our Current Research

Some of these are being conducted by Merry Lea staff members while others are being done in partnership with other organizations or agencies.

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. Dr. Lisa Zinn and Dr. David Miller along with field assistants run these two stations from May through the beginning of August. Birds are trapped with mist nets and are then carefully extracted from the net for the researchers to quickly examine them and record a wide range of data including sex, breeding status, wing length, weight, and bird age. Previously banded birds have their band numbers recorded while unbanded birds recieve a band with a unique band number.

The Tallgrass Prairie Project, Dr. Ryan Sensenig

In the summer and fall of 2008, Environmental Science students at Goshen College helped initiate a project which examines the effect of white tail deer browsing on Tallgrass prairie forb dynamics in a restored prairie at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.

Researchers helped erect 8 ft tall deer exclosures around two 20 m X 20 m plots in Luckey’s Prairie in the spring of 2008 and have been helping collect cover and herbivory data to quantify which forbs deer preferentially select as forage.

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