The Global Change and Urban Ecology Lab at NJIT aims to understand how species, ecological communities and ecosystems respond to the forces of global change. These forces include changes in temperature, precipitation and seasonality driven by increasing atmospheric CO2, as well as increasing pollution, invasive species, habitat fragmentation and urbanization. We use a combination of field, laboratory and modelling experiments to understand and predict these responses to global change. An example of ongoing research includes understanding how cockroaches spread through urban areas and vector human disease pathogens. Here we are using high throughput DNA sequencing to build population and dispersal models of cockroaches, and to quantify the microbiome found on cockroaches. Another example of ongoing research is an effort to understand how plants evolve adaptations to urban environments. Here we are studying Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), a common weed in urban environments around the globe. Our approach uses field and lab experiments coupled with real-time RNA expression to quantify local adaptations to polluted soils.
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