Jessica Balukas

Jessica graduated in August 2015 as an interdisciplinary Master’s student and was a research assistant on a coupled natural and human systems research team. She chose to incorporate both ecological and economic elements in her thesis research. The economic chapter focuses on the role of landowners in vernal pool conservation. Many vernal pools are located on private land, necessitating the cooperation of private land owners in the conservation process. Her research investigates the different preferences among landowners and determine the implications of landowner preferences and behavior on the design and effectiveness of vernal pool conservation strategies. Integrating landowner concerns with environmental conservation concerns is crucial to achieve lasting and effective conservation outcomes. The ecological portion of Jessica’s thesis is based on a field experiment in evaporated vernal pools. She investigated terrestrial insect communities in and around vernal pools after summer drying and determining whether human development influences these communities. A strong understanding of both types of science allowed her to better understand and address the challenges associated with environmental conservation.

About Us

Understanding the vital connections between landowner concerns, municipal planning, conservation activities, and the ecology of vernal pools will be the focus of natural and social scientists from the University of Maine, Clark University, and Bowdoin College as they embark on a multi-year research project concerning Maine’s small natural features—vernal pools.

Our work is supported by: