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 and community engagement in 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, we apply hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, water chemistry, and aquatic macroinvertebrate community assessments to evaluate the biological health of streams. In 2010, we received funding from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership to work alongside a local fishing club to develop a conservation plan for Fishing Creek watershed in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. More recently, students have assessed streams throughout the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh to study their ability to support 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. The study is in its 12th year, providing critical information on the establishment and succession of plants associated with an urban wetland.

In lichen ecology, we focus on the application of lichens as biological indicators of air quality and land use changes 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 temporal changes in the health of the lichen community.

In pollinators, we collaborated with Allegheny Land Trust in 2017 to enhance wildflower meadows at Audubon Greenway, an Allegheny Land Trust property near Pittsburgh. In 2018, we received a grant from the Department of Community Engagement at Point Park University to organize and initiate "Project Bee Watch," which is a citizen science project aimed at using volunteers to determine the current status of pollinators in southwestern Pennsylvania. The project expanded in 2019 to include additional partners:  Allegheny County Department of Parks (Latodami Nature Center) and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Contact Information:

Matthew R. Opdyke, PhD (Curriculum Vita)

Professor of Environmental Studies

Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA

mopdyke [at] pointpark.edu

Last updated September 10, 2019.

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) Project Bee Watch


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