Wednesday, July 16, 2014

more biodiversity study sites

2014 Eco-roof symposium

forgot to post this pic from the Portland Eco-roof symposium back in May:
Lef to Right: Christina Piedrahita, Amie Chapamn, Amber Smith, Tom Liptan, Craig Rupert (also a recent PSU grad), and Ryan Niebur
(Madison Hathaway and Lisa White not pictured)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Unexpected challenge to biodiversity study- crow sabotage!

Here is an article about the trouble we have been having with the crows (with video footage).
a crow tossing a cup

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

world greenroof biodiversity project

So, the first project I landed into here in Portland is a study of green roof beetles! It was started last year (or even further back?!) by Stephan Brenneisen in cooperation with the city of Portland. There were a lot of volunteers from organizations like the Xerces Society and of course Portland State U too. Basically, we are collecting beetles, on roofs and at comparative ground sites to document what we find in a few major cities around the world (mexico city, basel, san fransisco and portland!) We collect the insects from vinegar-filled cups (pitfall traps) that we insert into the substrate/soil. Busy insects making their ways along the substrate/ground surface don't notice the cups, fall in, and most won't make it out. More on how we will analyze the data and important research questions we will zone in on later. In the meantime here are some pics from over half of the roofs we visit as part of this study. Special mention to Sydney Gonslaves (shown below inserting a pitfall trap) who is the MS student and mastermind behind the Portland sites.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A different roof at the same location

So, finally some pictures of some Portland roofs. Well, one to start. This is the central wine warehouse greenroof shown in early spring (top), mid-spring (middle), and recently (bottom) just before the onset of summer. I can't believe the change I see with each visit, every two weeks!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Houston Greenroof

Read more here about this relatively new roof on the Johnson Space Center.  Environmental data being collected  are reported every 1 minute and the average logged every 5 minutes; soil temperature and moisture data (Echo-TM, Decagon Devices, Inc.) are collected on a 15-minute basis along drainage transects on each roof.  Data are transmitted via EM50G nodes every six hours to a cloud server (Decagon Devices, Inc.); data are downloaded and imported from the internet at the University of Maryland in College Park (UMCP). 
Greenroof researchers Portland State University (PSU) and UMCP are analyzing the data from the Texas roof as well as similar data sets from locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. A major goal of this work is to determine whether the mechanistic model these researchers developed to predict greenroof performance is robust across different climates. The Houston roof will be an especially interesting case study because of the anticipated high wind speeds there as well as the summer heat. As the researchers work to refine their models, they will be able to make predictions about how things like roof design features and irrigation scheduling can be fine-tuned in order to optimize greenroof benefits associated with stormwater management, energy efficiency, and possibly even wildlife habitat.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Portland State Greenroof Research

So there are many links that belong here pertaining to the subject of greenroof research at PSU, but I'll add those in a later post.
First, let me document some recent visits to some projects on campus, which I now consider current or future pilot sites:
On the SRTC, a study by David Sailor and Todd Rosenstiel about the interaction between greenroofs and photovoltaics (GRiPV)

We have already begun to repurpose some of these modules for a pilot investigating the potential of "urban epiphyte communities" as greenroof plants (ie mosses, liverworts, lichens? etc)

One more recent trip was to a site on top of Cramer Hall where the engineers without borders group has installed several very large modules with different planting depths and materials. It remains to be seen whether useful data can be gleaned from these sites due to some problems with the experimental design. Still, we are considering re-purposing these roofs for a study on greenroofs as habitat....