Catherine R. Bevier
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Biology
What problems are you working to solve?
We are working to understand the influence of landscape changes on lake quality in the Belgrade Lakes watershed. This information is being shared with stakeholders and we are encouraging feedback to be used to inform subsequent research projects. Specifically, Russ Cole and I are leading a team to investigate how different levels of residential shoreline development affect characteristics of the littoral zone, including sediment type and macroinvertebrate diversity. Ultimately, we hope to learn if shoreland zoning laws are effective in protecting our lakes.
What progress are you making toward solutions?
We have completed two seasons of fieldwork and are sorting data collected from 72 sites from properties along Great Pond, East Pond, and North Pond. Our preliminary work on Great Pond in summer 2011 suggests that habitat complexity is greater in the littoral zone adjacent to undeveloped properties, which facilitates greater species diversity. We included buffered developed sites in summer 2012 to better assess how responsible development practices, such as intact shoreland buffers, affect biodiversity in the littoral zone.
How could your findings contribute to a more sustainable future in Maine and beyond?
Our findings may provide evidence that Maine’s shoreland zoning laws are indeed effective in protecting the quality of the three Belgrade Lakes we’ve studied so far. This may provide clear incentives to landowners to maintain properties using sustainable practices.
Why did you decide to join SSI?
The opportunity was a good fit for my interests in conservation and aquatic habitats. I am also passionate about K-12 STEM education and have been working on education outreach activities in the local community.
What’s the best part about collaborating on SSI research projects?
Working with a great team of stakeholders, faculty, and students on research projects that are helping our local communities.
Where’s your favorite place in Maine?
First is my own back yard, but I also love to be on the water—especially in a kayak.
What’s your ultimate Maine experience?
Hiking one of Maine's peaks.
Mud season survival strategy?
Rubber boots and doormats.
What sustains you?
My family and the beauty of Maine.
Additional information about Cathy and her team