Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Emma Dixon '13


Emma Dixon '13 is an environmental science concentrator interested in human-managed and urban ecosystems. In collaboration with Chris Neill (Marine Biological Lab) she is studying the effects of urban development on plant communities.  Over the summer and fall of 2012 she conducted surveys in residential yards and unmanaged reference sites in the Boston area to compare site-level plant biodiversity to intensity of urbanization. She also conducted interviews with homeowners about use and management of their yards. Throughout this process she learned just how complicated plants and people can be, but she can now identify lawn grasses without flowers. She is now working with Erika Edwards (Brown) to compare the phylogenetic diversity and degree of urban development in the sites surveyed. This will shed some light on how plant communities might change with urban intensification in the Boston region, an inevitable consequence of increasing population.