I am interested in ecosystems ecology and watershed systems, with an emphasis on fluxes of water, carbon and nutrients within and between aquatic systems and their surroundings, and the role of biological processes in regulating those fluxes. My work is fundamentally based on systems analysis, inspired by my mentors Dr. Mark Brown and Dr. H.T. Odum. My lab group focuses on ecosystem processes in wetlands, streams, lakes, aquifers and forests. While most of the work we do is in Florida, we focus on general questions that apply to watersheds and ecosystems elsewhere. Our work falls into three main areas. First, work on Florida’s spring fed and blackwater rivers. In this work we are interested in how river ecosystems and river organisms affect and are affected by nutrient supply. Second, we work in wetlands, with research on the role that geographically isolated wetlands play in watershed systems, a topic of considerable regulatory and legal importance. We also investigate pattern emergence in wetlands (Big Cypress Preserve and the Everglades, both in South Florida), with emphasis on wetland processes that raise (peat accretion) or lower (carbonate dissolution) the soil surface and thus impact hydrology, both locally and more regionally. Finally, we have recently begun work on forest water and nutrient yield as part of statewide projects exploring the role of plantation forests in landscapes subject to stringent new regulatory requirements for water quality and quantity. We adopt the same systems-level approach to those projects, and now capture the hydrologic flowpath from the ridges to the rivers.
My lab group works in an array study systems (North Florida's karst springs and rivers, patterned peatlands in the Everglades, patterned karst landforms in Big Cypress National Preserve, isolated wetlands throughout Florida, shallow lakes, and black water rivers), and seeks to ultimately provide both management relevant information and deeper conceptual insights about the inner workings of ecological systems. I try not to parse that distinction between basic and applied research. All science is, at it's core, about theory and mechanism; if we test hypotheses, we are engaged in the discourse about basic theory. However, research is also motivated by what we don't know, which is often most urgently noted when we are charged with diagnosing the causes of an ecosystem in decline or providing guidance about restoring ecosystem functions, making research intrinsically applied. That said, in keeping with the Land Grant Mission of the University of Florida and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, we work very hard to ensure that what we do addresses socially relevant questions, and to communicate what we find to people that might use that information in a way that improves conditions.
Associate Professor (2011-present) - School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida
Assistant Professor (2006-2011) - School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida
Assistant Research Scientist (2005 - 2006) Soil and Water Science, University of Florida
Post-Doctoral Research (2003 - 2005) - Soil and Water Science, University of Florida
Ph.D. - Systems Ecology, University of Florida (2003)
M.E. - Ecological Engineering, University of Florida (1999)
B.S. - Environmental Engineering, Swarthmore College (1995)
Affliate Faculty in Soil and Water Science and the School of Natural Resources and Environment
Former Chair of the University of Florida Hydrologic Sciences Academic Cluster
Current Chair of the Water Institute Faculty Advisory Committee
Water Institute Faculty Fellow (2013-2016)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 352.846.3490
Office Address: 328 Newins Ziegler Hall, Gainesville FL 32611-0410
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