Posts Tagged ‘Green Roof’

Bronx Green Machine

An amazing program where Bronx kids get involved from start to finish in green roof installations and urban farming.



Fordham’s Ecologists on the West Coast

Fordham University Ecologists attended the 97th Annual Ecological Society of America Conference in Portland, OR in full force this year.   Ten delegates, including 8 graduate students, Dr. Jim Lewis (Biology Chair) and Dr. Stephen Freedman (Provost) were in attendance, and together contributed a total of three talks, and five posters (see below) to what proved to be the most highly attended meeting in years, with over 4200 people.


Jason Aloisio: Growing media affects edible plant production and leachate on a simulated rooftop farm

Jim Lewis: Rising CO2 shifts the balance between carbon and nutrient limitation of growth

Michael Sekor: Selection and adaptation to novel environmental conditions in introduced genotypes of the annual plant Brassica rapa


Beth Ansaldi: Gene flow and pollen limitation on experimental green roofs

Andrea Caruso: Physiological and morphological responses of the invasive grass, Microstegium vimineum, to varying resource availabilities

Alison Cucco:Microbial extracellular enzyme function and nutrient cycling along the New York City urban-to-rural gradient

Seth Ganzhorn: Genetic diversity of Manilkara maxima: An ecologically and economically important tree species from a biodiversity hotspot

Tim Kerin:Evidence of mycorrhizal host generality for hemlock woolly adelgid-infested Tsuga canadensis trees growing in a Quercus-dominated landscape

Graduate students Kaitlyn Parkins and Steph Tougas were also in attendance working as student volunteers.

Mt. Hood – A volcano located in the Oregon Cascades, taken while hiking Tom, Dick and Harry.

Native Green Roof Plants

In a 2012 paper, Butler released a paper titled ” Native plant enthusiasm reaches new heights: Perceptions, evidence and the future of green roofs”, which revealed that landscape architects and architects most frequently published pro-native plant papers.  She also revealed that the rational for using native plants was frequently omitted from these published papers and that many of the papers comparing Sedums to native plants showed native plants to perform very poorly; however, one researcher, Jeremy Lunholm was the exception to the rule.

Lundholm uses the habitat template approach, whereby plants selected for green roofs are from ecosystems that are similar to the green roof environment such as coastal barrens where soils are nutrient poor and subject to frequent drought.  Under the direction of Matt Palmer (Columbia University) and in partnership with NYC Parks and Recreation the habitat template approach was used to select two local plant communities, Rocky Summit Grassland (located on the balds of local mountains) and Hempstead Plains (located on long island), which both have nutrient poor soils and frequent drought.  A city wide project is now underway assessing which plants from these communities are most well suited to the green roof environment.  Below, you can see they are performing well!

Butler, C., E. Butler and C.M. Orians. 2012. Native plant enthusiasm reaches new heights: Perceptions, evidence and the future of green roofs. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 11: 1-10.

Lundholm, J.T. 2006. Green roofs and facades: a habitat template approach. Urban Habitats 4:87-101

High School Researcher Shines!

Recently, FUSE research assistant Julia Serafin, won 3rd place in the Environmental Science Category at the Westchester Rockland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Over 150 competitors were in attendance from schools like Ossining, Scarsdale, Yorktown, New Rochelle, Horace Greely, Somers, John Jay, and Eastchester.

Julia is in her third year of a four year science immersion program at Pelham Memorial High School, led by Steven Beltecas.  As part of this program students are required to conduct original research.  Julia ended up working on the FUSE rooftop throughout summer 2011, assisting with data collection and laboratory analysis, check out a THIS previous blog post on storm water to see her working in the lab.  She presented her poster outlining some of our findings from our agricultural rooftop experiments on storm water retention, nutrient retention, and productivity potential, and fielded questions from judges .

Along with Julia, seven other students from Pelham won in poster sessions and powerpoints.  Congrats to you all!!


California Academy of Sciences – Green Roof!

The California Academy of Sciences, located in Golden Gate Park in San Fransisco, is home to many fantastic exhibits, including an albino alligator, an incredible aquarium, an amazing evolution of life planetarium show, and interactive exhibits like this one (below) where you can see the size of the carbon footprint for different food items.And all of these amazing exhibits are housed under a massive 1-hectare Green Roof!
The Green roof is a little different that your typical extensive green roof becasue it is not dominated by plants from the Sedum genus, drought tolerant succulent plants, and because there are 7 “hills”, which help house the planetarium, aquarium and rain forest aviary.

Scientists, at the Academy, were interested in using Native plants for this green roof to reproduce the vegetation that was displaced by the footprint of the building.  To do this, they used the scientific method to test 30 different plant species.  For two years, the scientists monitored the 30 different native plants in ground level green roof mock-ups.  Treatments included mimicking the slopes of the proposed hills seen behind me (above).  From the 30 species tested 9 species were found to perform well by staying green for the majority of the year.  You can see them below:

The green roof is accessible to all Cal Academy patrons to view from an observational deck.  While I was there I asked a few people what they thought about the green roof.”I like the hills” said one patron, “It looks a bit like a fallow field” said another.

When I asked a few people if they would want a green roof on their home or apartment the overwhelming response was, yes, with one patron exclaiming “Hell Yeah, saving energy would be awesome, and it would be even cooler if I could plant plants that attracted butterflies and birds”.  As it turns out, Fordham University and the Wildlife Conservation Society are teaming up to look at exactly that.

Green Roof Biodiversity

Fordham graduate student Dustin Partidge was featured on the Fordham Notes Blog last week. He conducts Urban Biodiversity research on Green Roofs.

Check out the article here:

FUSE in the News

Recently, Radio Netherlands Worldwide released an hour long radio show called “a view from above” on their radio program Earth Beat. This hour long program featured a number of interviews ranging from climbing mount Everest to archeology and at 32 minutes an interview with Jason Aloisio, PhD student and green roof researcher at Fordham University.  Check out the program by clicking on the Image below!