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Department of Entomology


Dr. Gardiner Wins Innovation and Creativity in Entomology Award

Aug. 24, 2023

Mary Gardiner named as recipient of the Entomological Society of America's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology. 

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) released the recipients of its 2023 awards. ESA Awards & Honors recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology. Award honorees will be showcased during Entomology 2023, November 5-8, in National Harbor, Maryland. Each year the Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate through his or her projects or accomplishments an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology.

Dr. Mary M. Gardiner is a professor in the Department of Entomology at Ohio State and co-director of the OSU Environmental Science Graduate Program. Her research focuses on the ecology and conservation value of urban greenspace, with a focus on vacant land.

Vacant land is common within legacy cities, which are characterized by long-term economic disinvestment and shrinking populations. Although vacant land is viewed as blight, it represents an opportunity to reclaim greenspace in the built environment. For instance, vacant land provides the bulk of tree-derived ecosystem services to lower-income neighborhoods, including atmospheric pollutant removal, cooling, and stormwater infiltration. Further, vacant land can be managed to aid urban arthropod conservation. The Gardiner Lab found that 30 percent of Ohio's bee fauna forage within these habitats.

The NSF-funded Cleveland Pocket Prairie Project fueled much of this work by establishing a network of 64 vacant lots across the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Over many years, the environmental benefits derived from vacant land were compared among lots containing urban spontaneous vegetation, flowering lawns, or mixtures of native Ohio wildflowers and grasses.

The Gardiner Lab has published 72 peer-reviewed publications and been awarded $8.1 million in grant support, with current funding from NSF, USDA, and the MITRE Foundation. Gardiner is also a state specialist in extension and is active in the Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer Program. She has advised 23 graduate students and postdocs and teaches graduate courses in presentation skills and grant writing.