Our laboratory is located at Point Park University in the Department of Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. We focus on research relating to applied ecology, welcoming all students interested in field and laboratory experiences. In recent years, our students and faculty have participated in the following projects:

          (1) Aquatic Science

          (2) Wetland Restoration

          (3) Lichenology

          (4) Dendrochronology

In aquatic science, our studies investigate the impact of acid precipitation and urban development on the biological and chemical health of streams in Pennsylvania. We work closely with local fishing clubs and watershed organizations, and with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

In wetland restoration, we are collaborating with Allegheny Land Trust to study the changes in the botanical community at Wingfield Pines located just south of Pittsburgh. Wingfield Pines is a restored floodplain wetland that was previously strip mined in the mid-1900s and later managed as a golf course.

In lichenology, we began our research on the application of lichens as biological indicators of air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania. The project was initially funded in 2008, with the support of a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wild Resource Conservation grant. In 2017, we will begin intensive surveys of public lands in southwestern Pennsylvania to establish a diversity and distribution map of lichens, which will conclude in 2019 when we conduct a 10-year study of lichens and their use as biological indicators of air quality. Additional projects include examining the forest distribution of lichens around Pymatuning State Park and developing a civil war tour of lichens in southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In dendrochronology, we are collaborating with Allegheny Land Trust to determine what environmental factors drive tree growth on Sycamore Island, which is a privately-owned island on the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh. We use tree core dating to examine growth rates of mature trees.

Contact Information:

Matthew R. Opdyke, PhD (Curriculum Vita)

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA

mopdyke [at] pointpark.edu

Last updated August 23, 2016.

Check out these exciting projects in more detail:

      1) Fishing Creek Watershed Study

      2) Wetland Plant Succession

      3) Lichens and Air Quality around Pittsburgh

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