Biology professor receives first Maskalick biodiversity seed grant

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Tomás A. Carlo Joglar, Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State, has been awarded by the Eberly College of Science Office for Innovation the inaugural David G. Maskalick and Kathleen A. Maskalick Biodiversity Healthcare Seed Fellowship.

The Maskalick Biodiversity Healthcare Seed Grant Program is designed to provide financial support to researchers who collect preliminary data and to stimulate biodiversity research at the college. David Maskalick, a 1978 graduate in biochemistry, and Kathleen Maskalick established the program to promote the protection of biodiversity and support the prevention of mass extinctions on earth.

The program grants will be aimed at deepening knowledge about the health and survival of all life and natural resources, humanity and commerce. Carlo Joglar received the grant for his project titled: “Assessing the Effects of Plant Functional Traits and Awareness on Biodiversity and Human Responses to Reforestation Actions on Tropical Urban Landscapes”.

In his project, Carlo Joglar will conduct landscape-level experiments to test how plant functional traits and community awareness affect native animal biodiversity in urban landscapes on the island of Puerto Rico. The funds will be used to conduct pilot surveys in all or most of the 20 pre-selected experimental urban areas to speak with families and assess their willingness to participate in the experiment.

“Maskalick seed grant funds have helped us conduct nearly 300 bird surveys at 20 field sites – urban residential areas, with three transects at each site – and contact communities within those areas. ‘survey in order to ask them questions about their willingness to participate in an urban greening experiment ”, declared Julissa Irizarry, graduate student of Carlo Joglar’s laboratory whose doctoral project is supported by the scholarship. “This data will give us a response rate, which will help us assess the feasibility of the project as we envision it, as well as provide important supporting data for the grant that Tomás and I are working on for NSF. “


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