Research in the lab examines a wide range of topics in ecology, biogeochemistry, and human-environment interactions, and does so in a variety of aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial ecosystems. Our research emphases change as new students join the lab and develop their own thesis/dissertation research projects, and as new collaborative opportunities spring up. To get a sense of what we’ve been working on recently, follow the home page of this website, and follow the lab’s twitter and facebook feeds. There, you can read about the great stuff the lab’s personnel have been working on—or read each student’s blurb on the “people” page. Our recent publications showcase projects and areas of inquiry that we’re beginning to wrap up. Below, we describe three foundational interests of the lab, which don’t necessarily cover our full gamut, but broadly capture the outlines of what we do.

Wetland fringe at Starkey wellfieldUnderstanding wetland variability – Florida boasts a diversity of freshwater wetlands, and a central question in our lab is, “Why are wetlands so different from one another, even those in close proximity?” We bring this question to bear on several aspects of wetland structure (e.g., biodiversity, carbon pools) and function (e.g., nutrient retention).

Urban socioecosystems – Urban socioecosystems cannot meet their own natural resource needs, and must concentrate resources from much larger areas. Working with researchers in both social and biophysical sciences, this interdisciplinary project asks, “What are the social and ecological drivers and consequences of this resource redistribution?”, and “How do people perceive and respond to changes in the environment?”

Ecosystem dynamics of the intertidal zone – Human activities have intensified biogeochemical cycles, such as tripling inputs of reactive nitrogen (N) to the biosphere, accelerating phosphorus (P) weathering and removal from geological reservoirs, and releasing carbon (C) to the atmosphere. These excess biogeochemical fluxes detrimentally affect air, freshwater, and coastal water quality, with unfavorable ecological, economic, and human health impacts. Yet in between land and sea lie the organic-rich soils of tidal saline wetlands such as mangrove forests and salt marshes. How effective are these soils at immobilizing of C, N, and P? And how do these ecosystems respond to the constant pressure of multiple major environmental changes, from accelerated biogeochemical cycles and sea level rise to temperature warming and plant community reorganization?