Doctoral Program in Plant Biology and Conservation
Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden
Research Interests: Urban Ecology, Green Roof Ecology, Plant-Pollinator Interactions, Conservation of Illinois Prairie Species
Surveying emerging vegetation at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Science Center green roof
A green roof at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, one of my research sites
Burying PRSTM soil nutrient analysis probes at an Illinois sand prairie
The combination of increasing urbanization and climate change threatens the extinction of numerous species across the globe. Conservation scientists are trying to better understand ways we can preserve these organisms and the integrity of the habitats in which they live. Challenges associated with prairie conservation in the Chicago area include the fact that urban sprawl has reduced the amount of habitable space for many organisms. If green roofs were considered as part of the solution to conserving plant species, they could potentially be extremely useful tools in providing additional habitat, creating corridors to assist species migration and even serve as sites for preserving native prairie species. To date, most green roof research focuses on environmental impacts and infrastructure and little is known about their ecology.
My research aims to understand the ecological services available on green roofs by looking at a roof’s ability to function as a sustainable habitat. My previous research showed that although green roofs do get visited by fewer and less diverse communities of bees, flowering native plant species do not suffer from poor seed production. Future research will aim to determine whether or not green roofs can be designed to mimic self-sustaining dry prairies that persist for several decades and how plants on green roof contribute to seed and pollen pools within their larger urban environment. I look forward to studying with Dr. Manfred Köhler at the Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany during 2013 as part of this research.
Tonietto, R. and K. Ksiazek. Diverse bee assemblages are present on urban green roofs. The Great Lakes Entomologist (accepted August 2013).
Ksiazek, K., J. Fant and K. Skogen. 2012. An assessment of pollen limitation on Chicago green roofs. Landscape and Urban Planning 107: 401-408.
Ksiazek, K., K. McGlathery, L.K. Reynolds, A. Schwarzschild, C. Wilkerson, T. Carruthers, C. Gurbisz, J. Woerner, and L. Murray. 2009. Learning about coastal trends: What is the story with seagrass and how does it affect me? Science Activities 46(3): 27-31.
Ksiazek, K. and M. Köhler. Correlations between annual weather variability and green roof plant diversity. World Green Infrastructure Network Congress, Nantes, France, September 2013.
Ksiazek, K., R. Tonietto and K. Skogen. Green roofs provide resources for native forbs and bees in Chicago. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, August 2013.
DiLeo MF, J. Siu, M. Rhodes, A. López-Villalobos, A. Redwine, K. Ksiazek, R.J. Dyer. The gravity of pollination: the relative utility of a gravity model approach for circumscribing pollen-mediated gene flow. Plant Population Biology Conference, Tartu, Estonia, May 2013.
Ksiazek, K. Finding Chicago’s green roof analog among Illinois’s dry prairies. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities; CitiesAlive! 10th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference Collegiate Café. Chicago, IL, October 2012.
Ksiazek, K. Replicating local ecosystems on green roofs. 4th International EcoSummit: Ecological Sustainability, Columbus, OH, October 2012.
Ksiazek, K. Pollination services on Chicago green roofs. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities; CitiesAlive! 9th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference. Philadelphia, PA, December 2011.
Ksiazek, K. Sex in the city: an assessment of pollination services on green roofs in Chicago. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, August 2011.
Ksiazek, K., Carruthers, T., K. McGlathery, L.K. Reynolds, E. Hinkle , A. Schwarzschild, C. Wilkerson, C. Gurbisz, J. Woerner, and L. Murray. The Seagrass Story. National Association of Biology Teachers, Denver, CO, November, 2009.
Hinkle, E., and K. Ksiazek. Using Clicker Technology to Improve Classroom Instruction. National Association of Biology Teachers, Denver, CO, November, 2009.
Recent Scholarships and Fellowships
2014 The Dr. John N. Nicholson Fellowship from Northwestern's Graduate School
2013 Illinois State Academy of Science Student Research Grant
2013 Prairie Biotic Research, Inc. Small Grants Program
2013 Phipps Conservatory Botany in Action Fellowship
2013 Plant Biology and Conservation Travel Grant
2013 Fulbright Travel Grant
2013 Germanistic Society of America Fellowship
2012 Plant Biology and Conservation Travel Grant
2012 Phipps Conservatory Botany in Action Fellowship
2012 Plant Biology and Conservation Research Award
2012 Western Ag Innovations Student Research Award
2011 Plant Biology and Conservation Travel Grant
2010 Northwestern University Dr. John N. Nicholson Fellowship
2010 Plant Biology and Conservation Research Award
2009 The Rob Hevey & Constance Filling and Len Ginger Fellowships
2008 Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence Research Fellowship