The Canopy Is A Portal

When we first met Dr. Meg Lowman last year we were already familiar with the use of tree climbing techniques for forest biology research. But the pioneer of canopy ecology includes an additional dimension to her REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) by acknowledging that physical mobility has little to do with being an effective field biologist. “To explore the canopy we climb ropes not trees, and in the lab we use microscopes, computers and minds, which have no limits.”

The Baker University program had been open to eight students, half of whom had ambulatory disabilities. All eight students were professionally trained to ascend into the canopy to collect moss, lichen and leaves to measure the impact of the invertebrates like tardigrades (water bears) on the habitat. Continue reading