Bernheim is a facilitator of research on our 16,137 acres of forest, grassland, glades, aquatic systems, and arboretum. Our goal is to provide access and support to researchers from universities, state and federal agencies, and private citizen scientists to foster projects that help us to better understand and manage our land.
Bernheim's ongoing research projects include:
Biodiversity Assessments- Ongoing efforts to catalogue the diversity of life found within Bernheim forests have found at least 911 species of plants, 47 mammals, 82 snails, over 400 moths, and a host of other overlooked organisms. We continue to add to our lesser known groups, with major initiatives to investigate troglobytes (cave creatures), spiders, and ants.
Oak Forest Research- In conjunction with Mississippi State University, we are conducting oak forest research that investigates the long-term survivability of seedlings of several species of tree. The trees are tracked in undisturbed settings, under prescribed fire conditions, and in natural canopy gaps formed by tree mortality. This information will help us to better understand and apply findings to management of our upland oak-hickory forest.
Bat Research- One of our most recent additions to our research is an examination of the bat population within Bernheim. Acoustic monitoring and counts provide information that allows us to determine if our populations are declining. Bats in the eastern United States are suffering from white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has reduced numbers of many species of bats. We have documented as many as 12 species of bats within Bernheim Forest over the past 4 years.
Golden Eagle Research- For the past few decades Bernheim staff has been involved in yearly eagle counts for golden and bald eagles. In 2015 we were able to track a golden eagle from its wintering grounds in Bernheim and follow its migration to northern Manitoba. This same eagle has returned to Bernheim during the past two winters, adding to our knowledge of their migration patterns.
Species monitoring- Several rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species are monitored in Bernheim Forest to track their population stability. Some of these include whip-or-will, glade violets, several orchids, amphibians, reptiles, and other at risk species.
In honor of our fine feathered friends, the golden eagles, Harper and Athena, you'll have the chance to learn all about these … Read More »
April 6, 2019 Harper and Athena left Bernheim on March 11, 2019 and flew 1700 miles on separate paths. The morning of April 6, … Read More »
2019 was a busy year at Bernheim. From the Forest Giants to fighting a natural gas pipeline to expanding focus on our conservation … Read More »
On November 25, 2019, Athena, one of the two golden eagles Bernheim is tracking, completed her migration from northern Manitoba to … Read More »
Athena, the female golden eagle we're tracking, is headed south across Indiana towards Bernheim. On November 24, 2019 she was … Read More »