Faculty Research Projects


Faculty and students are involved in a number of research-and outreach-related activities. For specific student projects, please see the "Student Research Opportunities" section. Outside of RU-Biology, we are involved with a number of organizations:

Flora of Virginia Project. RU contributed new county records for over 50 plant species in a recent student-led publication:

Allen, E.T., K.E. Powers, C.J. Small, and T.F. Wielboldt. 2020. County additions to the Virginia flora vouchered at the Radford University Herbarium. Castanea 85(1):14-22

CollectionsWeb. RU participated in a national workshop in Spring 2008 entitled: Opportunities and Challenges of Small Collections." From that workshop, curator Dr. Karen Francl (now Karen Powers) was invited to join the steering committee for CollectionsWeb, which was funded for 6 years by the National Science Foundation (Research Coordination Network). Additional workshops included investigations into systematics and taxonomy (held in 2009, Fairbanks, Alaska), databasing collections (New Orleans, 2010), education (hosted at Radford University in 2011). Two publications resulted from this collaboration, emphasizing the value of small collections and the use of collections in teaching and outreach.

Monfils, A.K., K.E. Powers, C. Marshall, C.T. Martine, J.F. Smith, L.A. Prather. 2017. Natural history collections: Teaching about biodiversity across time, space, and digital platforms. Southeastern Naturalist 16(Special Issue 10): 47-57. 

Powers, K.E., L.A. Prather, J. Cook, J. Woolley, H. Bart, A. Monfils, and P. Sierwald. 2014. Revolutionizing the use of natural history collections in education. Science Education Review 13(2):24-33.

iDigBio. RU participated on the advisory committee for this network. As described on their web page, iDigBio is  "the National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) funded by the National Science Foundation. Through ADBC, data and images for millions of biological specimens are being made available in electronic format for the research community, government agencies, students, educators, and the general public.

The vision for ADBC is a permanent database of digitized information from all biological collections in the U.S. that will lead to new discoveries through research and better understanding and appreciation of biodiversity through improved education and outreach, which will result in improved environmental and economic policies."

Animal Diversity Web (ADW) and Encyclopedia of Life (EoL). In the last decade, students in multiple classes at Radford University have authored and published >300 species accounts, which focus on the natural history of a particular species. The accounts are posted on both the ADW and EoL web sites. Although these accounts do not directly contribute specimens to any natural history collection, they provide an avenue for educational outreach, as well as a method for students to further develop their abilities to conduct thorough literature reviews and better understand the elements that contribute to the understanding and management of a species.