MSP LTER Research Questions

Research Questions

Question 1. How does biodiversity of urban nature interact with the broader biophysical, social, and technical contexts to mediate response of long-term ecological structure and function to urban stressors?

Q1.1. How are pollutants distributed spatially in MSP and how do these pollutants affect population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem and evolutionary processes in urban ecosystems?

Q1.2. How do urban tree canopies of differing diversity – resulting from contrasting management and legacies of past housing and investment policies – influence resilience and resistance in the face of climate change, invasive pests and pathogens, land-use change, pollutants, and other stressors?

Q1.3. How do the amount, type, and configuration of urban nature affect insect community structure and population dynamics?

Question 2. How do the ecological structure and function of urban nature interact with social and technical factors to influence urban climate, hydrology, and water quality of watersheds and lake ecosystems over annual to decadal timescales?

Q2.1. How does urban vegetation influence nutrient runoff, moderate the urban heat island effect, and deliver ecosystem services through its spatial configuration and functional connectivity? 

Q2.2 How do management activities along urban hydrologic flow paths interact with urban development and climate change to determine the long-term fate and transport of nutrients and OM in urban watersheds and their impacts on urban lakes?

Question 3. How are decisions about urban nature, community wealth, and well-being coupled over space and time to affect social inequities; how can governance institutions be changed to better address equity, such that environmental outcomes and human well-being are improved for all urban residents?

Q3.1. How are urban nature decisions coupled to community wealth and human well-being over time and space?

Q3.2. How does governance of urban nature change over time, and how can it be changed to better address equity, human well-being, and improved environmental outcomes? 

Question 4. How can long-term social-ecological research engage inclusively with diverse urban communities, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, for more equitable and meaningful scientific and community outcomes?