Melissa McHale

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Dr. Melissa McHale’s focus is on urban ecology and sustainability.  Her research encompasses a diverse set of themes, including:
– The transdisciplinary study of complex social-ecological systems
– Social drivers of urban ecosystem structure and function
– Global urbanization patterns and processes
– Carbon dynamics in urban systems
– Conservation and people
– Green infrastructure and designer ecosystems
– Ecosystem services, disservices, and tradeoffs
– Urban Metabolism
– Urban Heat Islands and energy consumption
– Linkages among landscape patterns and human health
– Landscape preferences and biodiversity

Dr. McHale has also developed an internationally renowned research and education program in South Africa, where she provides students with unique opportunities to work with underprivileged communities on their greatest sustainability challenges.  (See the IMAGINE program:  https://imaginesouthafrica.wordpress.com/) Under the direction of Dr. McHale, graduate students in the Urban Ecology Lab have made significant contributions to the field of urban ecology.  Some projects they have completed include:
– Urban land cover patterns and implications for watershed management
– Urban vegetative fragmentation and its associations with physical activity and BMI
– Spatial and temporal trends in urban metabolism analyses
– Urban morphology and other drivers of land cover in across cities
– Urban tree canopy cover and environmental justice
– The role of the residential urban forest in regulating throughfall during rain events
– Barriers to utilization of municipal biomass residues for bioenergy
– Influences of landscape and lifestyle on home energy use
– An evaluation of adaptive capacity to extreme weather events in cities
– How environmental amenities influence demographics
– Predicting native plant landscaping preferences in cities

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