Lawrence native named new director of Kansas Biological Survey

photo by: Contributed photo

Sara Baer

A Lawrence native is returning to town to serve as the new director of the Kansas Biological Survey.

Sara Baer, who currently serves as professor and chair of the department of plant biology at Southern Illinois University, will take over the position on Aug. 18, according to a KU news release. She replaces Ed Martinko, who recently retired after serving as director since 1983.

Along with the directorship, Baer will join KU faculty as a professor for the department of ecology and evolutionary biology and serve as a state biologist.

Baer is considered an expert in grassland, soil and restoration ecology. While studying for her doctorate at Kansas State University, Baer conducted long-term research on factors influencing plant diversity and below-ground recovery during grassland restoration. She continued to research prairie restoration while at Southern Illinois.

Baer attended the University of North Texas for her bachelor’s degree and the University of Georgia for her master’s degree, according to her resume.

“Sara brings a dedication for ecological research and teaching, particularly prairie restoration, that will serve KU and the state of Kansas well,” said Belinda Sturm, interim associate vice chancellor for research. “She is looking forward to working with researchers and state agencies to deepen understanding and broaden education about our environmental resources.”

The Kansas Biological Survey, which is a dual KU research department and state agency, houses a variety of environmental research labs. It also operates the KU Field Station, which includes the prairie research area just north of Lawrence.


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