Research Overview

The Gardiner Lab studies the ecology of urban greenspaces. Much of our work focuses on the ecological and conservation value of vacant land in Cleveland, Ohio – a city managing more than 27,000 vacant lots created as a result of protracted economic decline, home foreclosure, and population loss. Researchers in the lab examine how the landscape composition and legacy as  well as local plant community and management of vacant lots influences their conservation value for arthropods, with studies focused from the tree canopy to soil communities. Our network of 62 vacant lots is assigned to 1 of 8 plant community treatments, several of which include Ohio native plants. See our Cleveland Pocket Prairie Project website and our Current Studies for details.

Our research in Columbus focuses on the ecological and conservation value of urban greenspaces, primarily pollinator gardens, backyards and Metro Parks. Columbus is a rapidly growing city in Ohio, which presents unique challenges for conservation. Researchers in the lab are focusing on pollinators such as bees, hoverflies, and moths as well as the surrounding human and ecologic systems which impact the abundance and richness of insect communities.