In the Coastal and Wetlands Ecology Laboratory, we examine the community-level interactions and processes that structure coastal ecosystems. Our work spans many coastal habitats, including salt marshes, mangroves, tidal mudflats, seagrass beds, and tidal freshwater wetlands. We are particularly interested in changes in trophic interactions following habitat restoration, nutrient enrichment, or other anthropogenic alterations. In addition, we investigate how plant and animal diversity influence ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling, nursery habitat, and water quality. We utilize field experiments and a wide array of analytical procedures (stable isotopes, HPLC, stoichiometry) to investigate community dynamics in tropical, subtropical, and temperate environments.
Our ultimate goal is to incorporate our understanding of coastal ecosystem dynamics and processes into the management of restored and anthropogenically impacted habitats. We seek to apply our findings to the design and management of restored coastal wetlands, maintenance of water quality standards in local watersheds, and coastal habitat management in the face of near-term climate change and sea level rise.