Lock & Key
The grasslands of Alberta lock in carbon like a storage tank. Leave it untouched and the grasslands can sequester carbon in the soil for thousands of years. Limiting its release can be achieved, says Dan Hewins ’07, a University of Alberta postdoctoral fellow, simply through better agricultural practices.
Garlic mustard thrives in the understories of forests, where it forms dense thickets that choke out indigenous species, altering the landscape that sustains the animal population.
"I wanted to better understand how it was doing so well and how to prevent it from altering the richness and diversity of the ecosystem," Hewins says.
Hewins had observed that garlic mustard thrives in soils packed with high concentrations of nitrogen. At Rider, he devised a research project to study the relationship between the element and the plant, and Hewins applied for and received a Merck/AAAs research grant scholarship to do just that.
“I have a genuine interest in the environment and spending time in nature and Rider engaged that,” he says.