Scientific Staff

Emma Leavens, MS

Research Coordinator, Experimental Prairie

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As Research Coordinator for the Experimental Prairie, Emma supports investigations of above and below ground community assembly in prairies informed by phylogenetic and functional diversity.

Her previous research investigated the mycorrhizal fungal community and population genetics of Comandra umbellata, a key species of high-quality prairies. In her role at The Morton Arboretum, she continues to look above and below ground to learn how prairies function by maintaining the Ware Field Experimental Prairie, coordinating a study of root traits of prairie species, and supporting research on the soil factors and communities associated with those species.

Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Scientific Research Grant recipient for work on Comandra umbellata


MS, Plant Biology and Conservation

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL


Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA

  • Organizer, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves
  • Educator, Northwestern Prison Education Program
  • Volunteer Restoration Steward, North Branch Restoration Project at Somme Woods