Faculty receive Iowa Science Foundation grant

The Iowa Science Foundation (ISF) has awarded a $4,690 grant to two Northwestern College professors researching the impact of European buckthorn on two local forest ecosystems.

Dr. Todd Tracy and Dr. Laura Furlong, both professors in Northwestern’s biology department, are studying how the invasive plant affects the soil, plant and insect life of two forests near Alton and Hawarden, Iowa. Their research, begun in 2005, has also been supported by Northwestern summer scholarship grants and by an initial ISF grant of $2,100 last year.

Tracy and Furlong hope to determine whether expensive and time-consuming buckthorn eradication methods are worthwhile. They also are using the study to provide Northwestern students with valuable research experience in conservation biology.

This year’s ISF grant is funding an undergraduate research student to help with the project. Jesse Nieuwenhuis, a junior biology health professions major from Primghar, Iowa, is assisting with the study this summer and will continue his research work during the 2007–08 school year.