Last summer, two SUNY Cortland students set out to examine Hoxie Gorge State Forest in order to investigate whether pollution has impacted the forest diversity. Faculty Mentor Dr. Timothy J. Baroni, a Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences, advised the pair throughout the period.
Ethan Childs and Nathan Francisco’s team surveyed lichen species within secondary succession forested areas of Hoxie Gorge, SUNY Cortland’s outdoor education facility south of the SUNY Cortland main campus. The pair’s field-based research involves the identification of lichen, or fungus, species from a variety of trees, downed logs, rocks, and exposed ground from dozens of acres of Hoxie Gorge. Utilizing quantitative methods of diversity analyses, the pair is comparing results to identify affects of pollution on the forest growth.