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Indianapolis Skyline and White River
Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

Urban Plant Diversity and Invasive Species Monitoring


As part of the larger history of urban plant diversity research in the CUES, more recent studies have focused on the impacts of invasive species removal on native plant diversity. In particular, Dr. Rebecca Dolan has worked closely with Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) to assess the impact of Amur bush honeysuckle removal along Indianapolis waterways to both the practice of civic ecology by Indianapolis residents and to the diversity, distribution, quality, and longevity of native vegetation. Students are also working with the CUES to monitor plant diversity on Butler's campus.

Get Involved

Students and members of the community who are interested in participating in this research should contact Dr. Julia Angstmann for information on current opportunities.

Faculty Leadership

Rebecca Dolan, CUES Affiliate and Retired Director of the Friesner Herbarium at Butler University

Julia Angstmann, CUES Director

Community Partnerships

Community Outreach

Students and community members have participated in fieldwork projects, honing skills in plant identification, ecological data analysis, and gaining knowledge in ecological restoration.

Publications & Reports

*designates Butler undergraduate author

Dolan, R.W. 2016. Vegetation response to Amur honeysuckle removal along Fall Creek (2012-2015). Report to Reconnecting to Our Waterways and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

Dolan, R.W. 2016. Assessment of natural vegetation along Fall Creek, Pogue’s Run, and Pleasant Run in 2015. Report to Reconnecting to Our Waterways and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

Dolan, R.W., Harris, K.A., Adler, M. 2015. Community involvement to address a long-standing invasive species problem: Aspects of civic ecology in practice. Ecological Restoration 33(3): 316-325

Dolan, R.W., Stephens, J.D., Moore, M.E. 2015. Changes in plant species composition and structure in two peri-urban nature preserves over 10 years. American Midland Naturalist 174: 33-48.

Dolan, R.W. 2015. Two hundred years of forest change: effects of urbanization on tree species composition and structure. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 43:136-145.

Aronson, M.F.J. et al. 2014. A global analysis of the impacts of urbanization on bird and plant diversity reveals key anthropogenic drivers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Apr 7, 2014; 281(1780): 20133330. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3330.

La Sorte, F.A., et al. 2014. Beta diversity of urban floras among European and non-European cities. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23(7): 769-779.

Dolan, R.W. 2014. Bacon’s swamp – ghost of a central Indiana natural area past. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 123:138-160.

Dolan, R.W., Moore, M. E., *Stephens, J.  2011. Documenting effects of urbanization on flora using herbarium records. (link to cue-effectsofurbanizationusingherbarium.pdf) Journal of Ecology 99:1055-1063.

Dolan, R.W., *Stephens, J.D., Moore, M.E. 2011. Living more than just enough for the city: Persistence of high-quality vegetation in natural areas in an urban setting. Diversity 3(4) 611-627.

Selected Presentations

Dolan, R.W. 2016. Symposium organizer and moderator: Novel ecosystems in cities: adaption to urban conditions.  Ecological Society of America annual meeting. Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Dolan, R.W. 2016. Invasive plants in Indy. Indiana Academy of Science annual meeting. Indianapolis, IN.

Dolan, R.W., K. Harris, M. Adler. 2015. Community involvement to address a long-standing invasive species problem: Civic Ecology Practice in action. Society for Ecological Restoration, Western Great Lakes Chapter annual meeting. Chicago, IL.

Dolan, R.W. 2015. Invasive species in cities. Midwestern Invasive Plant Network Symposium, part of the West Central Weed Science Society annual meeting. Indianapolis, IN.

Dolan, R. W.  2015.  Urbanization – the bad, the good, and the very good.  Native Plant Summit: Current status, conservation, and outlook for plants of the northeast.  Invited talk at symposium organized by the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.

Dolan, R.W., J.D. Stephens. 2013. Partial evidence of biotic homogenization in two peri-urban central Indiana, USA preserves. Botanical Society of America annual meeting, New Orleans, LA

Dolan, R.W. 2012. Poster: Plant community dynamics in a peri-urban central Indiana flatwoods between 1996 and 2007: little change in community structure but high species turnover with significant increases in non-native invasive shrubs. Ecological Society of America annual meeting. Portland, OR.

Dolan, R.W., M.Moore, J. Gustaferro. 2012. Indy’s wild plants. Indiana Academy of Science annual meeting, West Lafayette, IN.


Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. 12 mo. $5,000. “Habitat monitoring along Fall Creek – year 5.” 2016.

City of Indianapolis, Department of Parks and Recreation via Ecologic Consulting. 1 yr. $11,286. “Reinventory of Woollen’s Gardens Nature Preserve.” 2016

Reconnecting to Our Waterways. 6 mo.  $5,000. “Habitat quality assessment of ROW waterways”. 2015.

The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI). 5 mo. $1,000.  “Let’s talk about water” film and panel discussion grant. 2015. 

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. 6 mo. $7,660. “Habitat monitoring along I-70 and Fall Creek.” 2013

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. 3 mo.  $3,000. “Monitoring bush honeysuckle along Fall Creek.” 2012.