Training the Next Generation of Scientists at Holden Forests & Gardens
A recent agreement with Case Western Reserve University has brought a new crop of graduate students to the Holden Arboretum. Doctorals students Sharon Danielson and Alexa Wagner are earning degrees from Case Western, while being advised by Holden Forests & Gardens scientists. Sharon Danielson started working on her doctorate at Case Western in the fall of 2017, and Alexa Wagner joined the team a year later in the fall 2018. Adding graduate students to our research department has been a great way for us to expand the depth and breadth of research conducted here at Holden Forests & Gardens. At the same time, we’re also developing a new generation of scientists that will understand and appreciate the role public gardens play as hubs for combining scientific research with public outreach.
Sharon Danielson, pictured above, works in HF&G scientist Juliana Medeiros’ lab where she is exploring how tree physiology varies across urban and rural environments. Comparing trees growing in places like the Holden Arboretum with those growing in the city of Cleveland can help us understand how trees may tolerate the urban environment. Ultimately, enhancing our understanding of how trees function across a spectrum of environmental conditions will aid in the development of new strategies for greening cities like Cleveland, and beyond.
Alexa Wagner is working with HF&G scientist Katie Stuble in Holden’s Working Woods to better understand how forest management influences the composition and function of Ohio’s forests. Alexa is still in the planning stages, but will likely compare how native and exotic understory shrubs and trees respond to forest thinning with and without control of exotic shrubs in the understory. Exotic shrubs such as buckthorn and multiflora rose are common to the Working Woods, but also can be found in many of Northeast Ohio’s newer growth forests. Results of Alexa’s research will help tailor regional forest management strategies in ways that limit the potential for inadvertently enhancing the invasion of these exotic shrubs.