University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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43 FALL 2017 suburban locales. The biology teams partner with the nonprofit Lou- isville Nature Center and area schools to select the spots. Some bowls are perched in private gardens and in parks. Some research focuses on caterpillar production rates across the urban-suburban spread in an e rt to see whether di erent garden habitats help them flourish or become a "death trap" by attracting insects to their enemies. So those gardens get "planted" with bright green faux caterpillars molded out of soft, claylike Plasticine. Those caterpillars are glued to leaves on plants across the garden sites — 40 in each one. "That's a lot of caterpillars," Eason said, smiling. Eason and her students gather the faux caterpillars back up to a campus lab to examine closely for markings, a beak imprint or claw mark, for example, to help identify the predators that may lurk in gar- dens for the plastic bugs' real-life counterparts. So far the predator rate is about the same from inner-city gardens to parks, from large areas to small spots, and from older gardens to newer spaces. Along with saving pollinators, part of Carreiro's studies in- cludes the conservation of plants native to Kentucky and the region. Carreiro and students have worked for years with the Louisville Ol- msted Parks Conservancy, particularly in a Cherokee Park project to gauge the impact of removing invasive, exotic plants such as honey- suckle that can su cate native plants in woodlands. She also is test- ing an organic herbicide to see if it can work on invasive vine con- trol but reduce the adverse e ects on soil and organisms that harsher chemicals sometimes leave. Growing the message The biologists' interests on campus and throughout the city have at- tracted devoted undergraduate and graduate students not just from their department but from other majors. Some, Carreiro said, are sur- prised to link urban nature to human health benefits. That's part of her citizen-scientist mission: to get the word out in the community about incorporating native nature into daily surroundings. "I'm happy to spread the word," she said, "It's a way to find common ground and get us to know each other. "It isn't just for nature — it's for us." Biology professors Margaret Carreiro and Perri Eason examine plants in the Harriet Korfhage Native Plant Garden next to the Life Sciences Building. The garden, named for a biology alumna, serves as a living laboratory for students, a haven for beneficial insects and a quiet spot for visitors. Students Lindsay Nason, Lauren Kappell and Olivia Rumble experience urban gardening amid the coneflowers and milkweed in a native plant meadow created by the Copper & Kings distillery in Louisville's Butchertown neighborhood. Bright green caterpillars molded out of soft Plasticine modeling compound are glued to leaves across the community garden sites to help researchers ascertain what sorts of predators operate there. Researchers gather them to examine in a biology lab for beak and claw marks to assess the potential dangers for their real-life insect counterparts. ONLINE: For more information, visit

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