Sensenig Lab Research

2011

 
 


I am currently involved in two research projects, both of which focus on grassland systems. In Kenya’s Laikipia savanna I am studying the role grassland fires play in creating forage heterogeneity for a suite of grazers ranging in body size from hare to elephant. Colleagues and I have found a tight, negative relationship between body size and preference for burned areas, suggesting that fire processes may have been vital to the evolution of savanna megaherbivore diversity.




 

Goshen College Environmental Science students have begun assisting in a long-term research project at Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.  We have started a Tallgrass prairie grazing experiment to examine the effect of large herbivores on plant dynamics. Colleagues and I are keen to learn if the missing Pleistocene megafauna present in North America 12,000 years ago were important drivers of prairie system dynamics.  We are planning experiments that utilize domestic grazers as surrogates for their missing counterparts.


In 2008 I began teaching Goshen College’s Marine Ecology course at our the Goshen College owned J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station in the Florida Keys.  Students and I are starting a long-term ecological monitoring project in the habitat surrounding the Goshen College Marine Biology Laboratory.