North Carolina supports an impressive diversity of native species and natural communities. Many people are surprised to learn that, even after centuries of biological exploration, North Carolina still has many natural mysteries that have yet to be understood fully. Anyone looking for research or biological survey ideas has much to choose from in North Carolina. Some ideas for inquisitive minds are presented below. Although the Natural Heritage Program cannot provide funding, we can share expertise and ideas in support of your research. Please share your research ideas and results with us.
One hundred twenty-one plants and 27 animals have historically been known to occur in North Carolina, but they have not been seen in 20 years or more. Are these species still present in our state? Surveys of known historical locations and similar habitats are needed to determine whether these species still thrive here.
Six hundred ninety-one plants and 300 animals are known from five or fewer populations in North Carolina. Are more populations out there? Surveys of the specific habitats associated of these rare species is needed to better understand their true distribution and conservation status within the state.
Bryophytes and Lichens
Status surveys and updates on historical records of mosses, liverworts, hornworts and lichens are always in short supply, due to the low number of field biologists who work with these species in North Carolina.
Significant Natural Heritage Areas
The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program has identified more than 2,500 Significant Natural Heritage Areas – sites of importance for conservation of North Carolina’s biodiversity. Biological surveys have been conducted at all of these sites, but some sites need more intensive, current biological surveys, either to update information that was gathered long ago, or focus attention on promising areas that have not been intensively surveyed, due to limited time or funding. Contact us for a list of sites in your area that need more work.