Our research group is broadly interested in the biological and physical processes that generate patterns in natural communities and the role that experimental community ecology can play in improving the conservation and management of natural and human-impacted ecosystems. We work in shoreline communities of the western Atlantic, with the majority of our work focusing on salt marshes and rocky shores. These systems are excellent models to elucidate how biotic and abiotic factors interact to organize natural communities. In addition to being valuable model systems, salt marshes are ecologically and economically important and are seriously threatened by human activities. Much of our work therefore examines human impacts on these systems and the services they provide, both to inform conservation and management and to advance our theoretical understanding of the ecology of these systems. Our approach consists primarily of manipulative field experiments, supplemented with lab experiments and long-term survey and spatial analysis techniques. We are particularly interested in addressing questions that incorporate one or more of the following dominant themes.
Consumer control of salt marshes
Human impacts on coastal ecosystems
The role of foundation species and positive interactions in community organization
Climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems
Historical states of impacted ecosystems