Urban Ecological Field Studies (BSC 4861L) is a research based undergraduate class where students work in groups to carry out a semester long research project. Students are encouraged to share their research in professional educational settings. In the past, students have presented at the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s annual conference, the Florida Native Plant Society’s annual conference, and UCF’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence.


Past projects:

  • The Value of UCF’s Natural Lands: Is it possible to quantify the monetary value of our natural areas?
  • Urban Heat Island Effect: Data loggers were used to log temperatures in natural areas and urban areas. That data was analyzed to determine whether or not there was a heat island effect occurring in the urbanized part of campus.
  • Sustainability Assessment of College Undergraduates: This project was carried out in order to determine if a correlation exists between undergraduate students’ academic College at UCF and their understanding of “sustainability” as well as their environmental attitude.
  • UCF’s Urban Canopy Coverage: What is the economic, social and and environmental benefits to UCF’s urban canopy?

SURE for web

  • Aquaponics: Testing the ability of two different aquatic invasive plant species and one invasive snail species to remove added elements from the water.
  • Sustainable Mushroom Cultivation: Four different recycled substrates were used to measure growth of Pleurotus djamor mycelium, more commonly known as the pink oyster mushroom.
  • Fertilizer Filtration in Conventional Ground-covers: This experiment measured the amount of fertilizer that passed through three different types of common turf grass to find the most sustainable turf option for fertilizer utilization.
  • Florida Friendly Landscapes and Biodiversity: Biodiversity was measured and compared at ponds that had Florida Friendly landscapes and at ponds that did not meet the Florida Friendly criteria.
  • Soil Conditions and Plant Health: An evaluation of abiotic conditions in plant beds randomly selected across campus to identify how conditions affect the plants in those beds.
  • Amphibian Survey: A survey of amphibian species inhabiting three different cypress domes on campus
  • Herbicide: An experiment testing the effects of a synthetic man-made herbicide versus a natural herbicide on invasive species
  • Green Roof: An experiment that explored the possibility of growing Florida native species on our green roof
  • Solar or Forest Report: Research showing the cost benefit analysis of a functioning forest versus a solar farm
  • Bat Houses: A study on the UCF bat population
  • Urban Tree Canopy: A deeper look into UCF’s urban canopy and how the density has changed
  • Edge Effects: Exploration of human disturbances and their effects on surrounding wildlife habitat plant compositions
  • Photograph and Record Wildlife: A 3 month observation documenting different wildlife in UCF’s natural areas
  • Man-Made versus Natural Wetland Water Systems: A comparative analysis on the local wetland water systems
  • Urban Heat Island: An experiment testing the Urban Heat Island Effect and its presence on the UCF campus