My research group focuses on the dynamics of ecosystem change in shallow coastal systems, and the roles of climate, nutrient over-enrichment and species invasions on driving these changes. Current projects include: 1) Blue carbon sequestration in seagrass ecosystems, 2) Seagrass restoration and return of ecosystem services, 3) salt marsh resilience to sea-level rise, 4) ecosystem regime shifts in coastal barrier systems, and 5) impacts of invasive macro algae (Gracilaria).
I am an organismal ecologist with interests in both the ecosystem implications of physiological processes and the evolutionary underpinnings of these processes. My research centers around fundamental questions of resource acquisition and allocation in plants and touches upon such topics as herbivory and tri-trophic interactions, atmospheric chemistry and air pollution, community and ecosystem impacts of biological invasions, and organismal controls over element cycling.
The central aim of my research is to elucidate the processes driving fluctuations in population abundance across time and space. I address theory that is relevant to conservation of native and beneficial insects as well as management of agricultural and forest pests. My approach blends field experiments, analysis of spatial data, and theoretical modeling.
My current research efforts are in the arctic tundra of North America and Russia, and the temperate forests of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic. In the Arctic, we are examining the recent dynamics of arctic tundra vegetation in response to changing climate and disturbances, and the effects that these vegetation changes have on other arctic ecosystem properties. In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic we are examining carbon cycling along successional gradients from old-field to old-growth, as well as carbon-water interactions in topographically complex watersheds.
I am a marine ecologist with primary interests in population and community ecology. Although projects in our research group are diverse, we are collectively interested in understanding patterns of biodiversity in coastal marine ecosystems such as kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and oyster reefs. Our studies combine long-term observations, experiments, and models to explain the abundance and distribution of species across a broad range of spatial scales.
I am interested in a diversity of topics in population and ecological genetics within the broad context evolutionary ecology. My research is question-driven and has included both animals and plants. Over the past several years my research has focused on the effects of inbreeding on the interactions between plants and their antagonists (herbivores and pathogens) and their mutualists (pollinators). In addressing these problems I have conducted experiments in the field as well as the greenhouse, and my approach has relied extensively on the techniques of quantitative genetics.
I am broadly interested in understanding how coastal wetlands respond to sea level rise. Current research focuses on:
1. Plant community composition and soil genesis as salt marshes move overland into upland ecosystems as sea level rises.
2. The contribution of plant roots to marsh surface elevation change and soil organic matter content.
3. Quantification of soil component content including living roots, peat, air, water, sand, and rock and shell through the use of Computer-aided X-ray Tomography (CAT-scans).
I am an eco-hydrologist with research spanning the continuum of natural through urban watersheds. A goal is to develop and incorporate principles learned in unmanaged ecosystems as part of urban ecosystem restoration. I have a major interest in the role of forests and tree canopy on flooding and drought, the provision of high-quality freshwater, coupled water, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and vulnerability to climate and land use change.