Gregg Marcello

Zoology Graduate Assistant

"The Natural Areas are part of the reason I came to Miami. It struck me how much emphasis Miami places on natural spaces."

As development spreads across southwestern Ohio, with more houses, shopping malls, highways, streets and cars, our natural outdoor spaces become smaller and smaller. This is called “fragmentation”.

What effects will this have on our wildlife and plant species and eventually on us?

White footed mice are like the “canary in the mine” except they are in the woods. They can be found almost everywhere. Based upon their abundance we can make predictions about what is happening with other animals and plants. For example, if there are lots of mice than food must be plentiful. Lots of food means there might be fewer competitors like deer, birds, raccoons, and foxes. Therefore, places with lots of mice might be bad in some ways for other animals.

As urban sprawl increases, our forests become smaller (fragmentation), the population of mice increases and wildlife and plant species decreases.

If we want to maintain animal and plant species we need to know how fragmentation affects these species. We need to know what happens under these trends to maintain the widest number of species possible.

Without the Natural Areas, it would have significant impact upon my research. I would have to drive farther, spend more time and money, reduce the sample size and the quality of my research would suffer.