CURes’ ecological research focuses on ways to better characterize key species associated with the highly urbanized Ballona Watershed, their interrelationships and ways to regain and bolster ecosystem services.
Recent research projects include:
The Ballona Watershed Biodiversity Initiative
The Ballona Watershed Biodiversity Initiative is a project that is in its development stage. The goal is to create a cohort of studies that will provide more information about the function of the green spaces within the Ballona watershed. CURes researchers will study the pocket parks between the Baldwin Hills and the Ballona Wetlands by focusing on different biological factors and species with an emphasis on their contribution to the function of the green space. Researchers will test the effectiveness of projects like the Culver City rain garden, as an example. These studies will become Summer Undergraduate Research Projects (SURP) for LMU students that can be continued as independent research projects during the following years so that the systems can be better understood and monitored.
Planting and monitoring native garden projects in the Greater Los Angeles area. CURes is working with students at local schools to teach them about native and edible gardens, as well as their pollinators.
Teams of LMU faculty and students monitor the pollutant retention of stormwater runoff in a Culver City rain garden. The goal of this project is to determine how natural infrastructure solutions can impact the amount of pollution entering into waterways and water systems. This work is particularly important to Los Angeles, given its highly developed and urbanized nature.
Forest Inventory and Assessment
From 2016-17, CURes conducted a tree inventory, in association with Jack Sahl & Associates, of all the trees within the public domain of the City of Colton. This included trees in cemeteries, parks, schools, and major cross-streets throughout the city. Interdisciplinary student and staff teams gathered data on the size, distribution, age, health, and energy efficiency of over 8000 trees. Read more here.