Our laboratory is located at Point Park University in the Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. We focus on research in urban ecology, providing services to government agencies, land trusts, schools and local communities. Examples of our research include:

          (1) Freshwater Conservation

          (2) Wetland Restoration

          (3) Lichen Ecology

          (4) Pollinators

In freshwater conservation, our research focuses on the application of aquatic macroinvertebrate community assessments to evaluate the biological health of streams. As part of a long-term study on the impact of acid precipitation and land use on Fishing Creek watershed in central Pennsylvania
, we work closely with local fishing clubs and watershed organizations to study the effects of water chemistry on fish and macroinvertebrate communities. In more recent years, we have also begun a study on the health of urban streams around Pittsburgh using macroinvertebrate communities as indicators of aquatic life. 

In wetland restoration, we are collaborating with Allegheny Land Trust on a long-term study at Wingfield Pines Conservation Area near Pittsburgh to assist in the monitoring of a restored floodplain wetland. This study is approaching its tenth year, providing critical information on the establishment and succession of plants associated with an urban wetland.

In lichen ecology, our research focuses on the application of lichens as biological indicators of air quality and land use in southwestern Pennsylvania. The study was originally funded in 2008 by the
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish baseline data for continuous monitoring of lichens. Lichen surveys of public and private lands throughout southwestern Pennsylvania are on-going in an effort to investigate changes in the health of the lichen community during a 10-year period.

In pollinators, we are collaborating with Allegheny Land Trust and Pennsylvania Game Commission to establish a research site for studying pollinators at Audubon Greenway, a site which includes restored tall grass and wildflower meadows, near Pittsburgh. The objectives of the study is to provide baseline data on the current diversity of pollinators, to analyze methods of attracting pollinators and determine what species of wildflowers attract the most pollinators. In 2018, we are kicking off Project Bee Watch, which uses citizen scientists to help us in studying native bees.

Contact Information:

Matthew R. Opdyke, PhD (Curriculum Vita)

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA

mopdyke [at] pointpark.edu

Last updated May 3, 2018.

Check out these exciting projects in more detail:

      1) Fishing Creek Conservation Plan

      2) Wetland Plant Succession

      3) Lichens and Air Quality around Pittsburgh

      4) Native bee pollinators


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