Katherine Esau Director, Invertebrate Zoology Curator
As Director of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, I direct our three main research and programmatic areas — collections management, education, and restoration. The integration of these activities support the overall campus mission and provide unique opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and community members to explore, learn, and be inspired by our collections and campus natural areas. CCBER promotes the teaching of diverse undergraduate courses in EEMB, Environmental Studies, and Geology. It also supports faculty, staff, and student research interests by providing field and lab-based resources. In addition, CCBER houses regionally focused collections of terrestrial plants, algae, and vertebrates, as well as an extensive plant anatomy collection. The Center satisfies the University's obligation to provide stewardship of campus lands, rich in biodiversity. Through the ecological restoration program, the Center encourages land restoration on and near campus. The Kids in Nature outreach program fulfills K-12 educational goals, while staff and faculty curators provide scientific information and advice to private entities. My own research agenda is in the field of biodiversity informatics, or data science research of digitized natural history collection records, arthropod diversity in restoration habitats, and expanding the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) educational impact of restoration natural areas and natural history collections.