Fluvial geomorphology; quantitative stratigraphy; planetary surfaces.
My research employs a combination of observational, comparative and experimental methods to explore a wide range of subjects on the biogeography, ecology and genetics of mammalian populations. My colleagues and I recently completed a series of studies on non-lethal ways to reduce the impact of over-abundant mammalian predators (i.e., raccoons and red foxes) on under-abundant threatened colonial and beach-nesting waterbirds on the Virginia barrier islands.
I study vegetation-climate interactions in the context of climate change. My research work includes spatial ecology, plant physiology, remote sensing, and climate change. Specifically, I am interested in the climatic controls on vegetation photosynthesis and related plant functioning, the feedbacks of vegetation to the climate, and the impact of climate change on vegetation phenology.
My primary research interest is in sediment erosion, transport, and deposition in river, coastal, and wetland environments. Current research topics include storm-driven transport and the formation of sedimentary strata on the continental shelf, erosion and deposition on tidal salt marshes, flow-sediment-vegetation interactions in shallow coastal bays, mud dynamics in meso- and macro-tidal flats, wave-formed ripples, impact of climate change on barrier-bay-marsh morphology, and sediment associated contaminant transport.
My major research interest has been the development of an individual-based theory of vegetaton dynamics. The focus of the research is to examine how basic physiological and morphological constraints operating at the level of the individual plant influence pattern and process at higher levels of organization (i.e., populations, communities and ecosystems). This interest has led me to pursue a variety of studies to address the mechanisms of plant pattern across a wide range of scales.
Areas of interest include the physiology and ecology of planktonic communities, including predator-prey relationships, trophic interactions at intermediate levels within the food chain, planktonic larval recruitment processes, and the dynamics of gelatinous macrozooplankton.
Recent activity has also focused on the oxygen/nutrient dynamics within Chesapeake Bay, nekton dynamics in tidal freshwater and barrier island environments, as well as innovative ways to transfer scientific information to policy and decision makers.
Dr. Simkins’ research broadly focuses on past changes in coastal, marine, and glacial environments and the processes that control those changes, primarily using sedimentological and geomorphological archives. For more information and available graduate student positions, visit her research website.
Herman H. (“Hank”) Shugart, Jr. is a systems ecologist whose primary research interests focus on the simulation modeling of forest ecosystems. He has developed and tested models of biogeochemical cycles, energy flow and secondary succession. In his most recent work, he uses computer models to simulate the growth, birth and death of each tree on small forest plots. The simulations describe changes in forest structure and composition over time, in response to both internal and external sources of perturbation.
My primary research interests are in the areas of (1) catchment hydrology, focusing on hydrological and geochemical transport processes, and (2) land-atmosphere interaction, including the exchange of water, energy, and gaseous compounds such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane between the terrestrial surface and the atmosphere. I seek to develop an integrated understanding of how the hydrological cycle, vegetation processes, and atmospheric dynamics are linked as well as how these connections are manifest in terms of nutrient cycling and ecosystem function.
My primary research area is plant-pollinator interactions, which I study through field, laboratory, and phylogenetic approaches. These include (i) studies of pollen chemistry to characterize the diversity of pollen nutrient rewards; (ii) phylogenetic analyses to associate shifts in pollen nutrient content with evolutionary shifts in pollination syndrome; (iii) observations of pollinator host choices to determine pollinator assessment of pollen nutrition, and (iv) studies of insect development and body size to assess the potential importance of variation in pollen nutrients.