I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in general ecology and topical courses in aquatic ecology, including Principles of Ecology, Biosphere, Stream Ecology, Trophic Interactions in Aquatic Ecosystems, Use of Stable Isotopes in Ecology, and Global Ecology.
My research includes studies of the ecology of arctic lakes and studies of anthropogenic effects on urban stream ecosystems. In both research initiatives, my lab group uses a combination of field and laboratory experiments and comparative studies to better understand the role of invertebrate and fishes in controlling ecosystem processes. Stable isotope analysis is an important tool that we use for most of our research projects.
In arctic Alaska, my group is studying landscape control of arctic lake productivity, food webs, and exchange of nutrients and organic matter between the water column, or pelagic zone, and the lake bottom, or benthic zone. Our current project entitled “A geomorphic-trophic hypothesis for benthic-pelagic coupling,” examines the overarching hypothesis that landscape factors directly or indirectly control in-lake processes, distribution of primary production between pelagic and benthic habitats, benthic-pelagic coupling, food web structure, and the trophic basis for secondary production. Testing this hypothesis involves a combination of remote sensing, comparative surveys, whole-lake experiments, and mesocosm and microcosm scale experiments. Please look at the link to recent publications to see some of our important results!
In the Greensboro area, my lab group is studying the effects of stream restoration on nitrogen processing and on fish and invertebrate communities in urban streams. Urban streams are heavily impacted by sedimentation, excess nitrogen from fertilizer runoff and sewage, and a variety of other pollutants. Several urban stream restoration projects have been undertaken by the City of Greensboro, funded as highway mitigation projects. My lab is investigating the effectiveness of these projects at restoring invertebrate and fish communities and nitrogen processing. To do this, we have been using a combination of comparative and whole stream experimental studies. As with the arctic lake project, stable isotope analysis is a major tool. Please click on some of our recent publications on effects of restoration on stream ecosystems!
An essential aspect of the completion of any of these studies is that graduate and undergraduate students play major roles. Please click on links to recent graduate and undergraduate student projects. Please send me an email (or stop by my office if you are on campus) if you are interested in undergraduate or graduate research in my lab!