Ecological Campus: Biodiversity of METU Erdemli Campus

Aim of project

Elucidate the biodiversity of METU Erdemli Campus and develop strategies to achieve a healthy and functioning campus ecosystem. 

The Problem

The Mersin coastline is a highly urbanized area and with ever increasing human pressure, wild areas without human impact are almost entirely lost.  Protected coastal habitats such as METU Erdemli Campus are therefore extremely important for the conservation of biodiversity, and thus should be managed efficiently to sustain both a functioning university campus and a natural ecosystem.

Methodology

In order to understand the biodiversity of the campus ecosystem in detail, eight working groups were formed to conduct field work assessments of selected biodiversity components. The working groups consisting of experts and volunteers are: Plants, Invertebrates, Marine biodiversity, Herptiles (reptiles and amphibians), Birds, Mammals, Artificial nests and habitat restoration and Wildlife camera. Each group has adapted standardized ecological survey methods specifically for their focus taxa (such as Transect survey and Standard breeding bird atlas survey). The use of standardized surveys facilitates repeatability enabling inter group comparison. We also place specific emphasis on widespread dissemination utilizing social media to facilitate sharing of information and maximize our impact.  Bird-watching activities and seminars are held to engage public interest

Expected impact

In the first year of the study, hundreds of species have been identified and their habitats and distributions recorded which is essential for efficient management of the campus ecosystem. The knowledge accumulated will be used to develop strategies for sustaining a better functioning campus ecosystem. Since the achievement of effective ecological conservation of the campus   is a task concerning the public, outreach activities are high priority on our agenda.

Project team

The Ecological Campus project is a major task therefore we are very fortunate to have a large team including experts and volunteers from many different organizations and we always welcome new members to the team.  We welcome volunteer students, mostly undergraduates, who contribute to the project throughout the year. Volunteers also benefit from their commitment through improving their knowledge and practical skills in field work and ecology.

Contact: Assist. Prof. Dr. Korhan OZKAN (korhan@ims.metu.edu.tr

http://ekokampus.ims.metu.edu.tr/