Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Of Pools and People: Small natural features with large ecosystem functions in urbanizing landscapes (Collaborators: A.Calhoun, M.Hunter, K. Bell, M. Kinnison, C. Loftin, K. Capps, D. Bauer, E. Nelson)


January 2014 - June 2019


The value of natural landscape features is not necessarily reflective in their size, and some small features play a significant role in maintaining biodiversity or providing ecosystem services. Conserving these features and the functions they provide while developing tools that help reconcile property rights and rules of environmental protection across scales and jurisdictions provides novel opportunities for resource management. Seasonally inundated wetlands (vernal pools) are a model system to study the dynamics of small natural feature management. This project is a collaboration of the University of Maine, US Geological Survey Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Clark University, and Bowdoin College. This project brings together a team of ecologists and economists from multiple sub-disciplines and institutions to explore the biophysical and socioeconomic components of one type of small natural feature, vernal pools, as a coupled-systems model for management of these features; improve strategies for conserving vernal pools and other small natural features with large significance; and create novel and cutting-edge research, training, and educational experiences.

Research Products and Activities


  • Homola, J.J. 2018. Eco-evolutionary implications of environmental change across heterogeneous landscapes. Doctoral Dissertation, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, Orono. 217 pp.


  • Homola, J.J., M.T. Kinneson, C.S. Loftin, A.J.K. Calhoun, K.P.Bell, K.Capps, M.L. Hunter, D.M. Bauer, and E.J. Nelson. 2014. Of pools and people: application of vernal pool amphibian landscape genetics in a socio-environmental coupled-systems model. Poster presentation at the 70th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, April 13-15, Portland, ME.
  • Homola, J.J., M.T. Kinnison, and C.S. Loftin. 2015. Adapting to transforming environments: consequences of climate change and urbanization on vernal pool amphibians. Maine Association of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting, Brunswick, ME, 24 March.
  • Homola, J.J., M.T. Kinnison, and C.S. Loftin. 2015. Ecoevolutionary responses of spatially structured species experiencing climatic changes. Harold W. Borns Symposium, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 9-10 April.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 154

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 241

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 695

Scientific Publications: 1962

Presentations: 4417



  • Cynthia LoftinCo-Principal Investigator
  • Aram CalhounPrincipal Investigator
  • Jared HomolaStudent
  • Michael KinnisonCo-Principal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • NSF-Coupled Human Natural Systems


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey