Instructor: Eric Sanderson
The Welikia Project is the expansion of the Mannahatta Project (Sanderson, E.W., “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City”, 2009) for the rest of New York City. The project seeks to reconstruct the historical distributions of ecosystems and species across the modern extent of New York City, and to compare those distributions to the contemporary biodiversity of the city today. This project will provide information to city officials about ecological sustainability and biodiversity management, educational resources for city teachers and schoolchildren, and materials for artists, inventors and designers to imagine the city of the future.
Class activities: Students would work with the instructor to develop historical and contemporary plant and vertebrate animal species lists for the outer boroughs of New York City (Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island) and describe the habitat connections among the species and between species and the abiotic environment. These habitat connections would be assimilated into a “Muir web” analysis of the ecological connections, suitable for spatially-explicit modeling of species distributions.