What did native Brooklyn forests smell like prior to European settlement? And, how has that distinct aroma shifted given the mass migration of people and plants over the subsequent centuries? Or, in the near future, given a warming climate? This research uses essential oils from fragrant plant species to map forest succession in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

OUT OF THIN AIR, initiated by Pratt Institute faculty member Jean Brennan, received a 2020 Research Seed Grant. This project is a sensory teaching tool to talk about forest science and was developed in conversation with faculty from the University of Michigan Biostation.


Steve Bertman, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Western Michigan University; Faculty, University of Michigan Biostation
Jean Brennan, Lead Researcher, Adjunct Professor, Graduate Communications Design, Pratt Institute
Ali Chen, Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Pratt Institute
Ann Chang, Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Pratt Institute
Eric O’Toole, Associate Professor Graduate Communications & Package Design, Pratt Institute
Robert Pillsbury, Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Microbiology, University of Wisconsin; faculty, University of Michigan Biostation

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Jean Brennan