I have a diverse research background that started with training in soil and ecosystem ecology. I spent many years researching the effects of earthworms on nutrient cycling in a variety of ecosystems. Earthworms provided an excellent model organism for examining the effects of animals on ecosystem processes. I used this model to examine the effects of earthworms on retention and loss of carbon and nitrogen from agro-ecosystems, and the effect of species invasions on nutrient cycling in northern forests. From 1998-2010, I was Director of Archbold Biological Station’s MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center in south Florida. There my research expanded to include wetland ecology, water quality, and agro-ecosystem sustainability.
I have a long standing interest in the ecology and management of human-dominated ecosystems, which is reflected in my past experience directing an agro-ecology program, and my current experience directing a program in urban landscape and natural resource management. The fields that best encompass my current interests are urban ecology and wetland ecology. Urban ecology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on urban ecosystems, urbanizing landscapes, and the impacts of urban areas on ecological patterns and processes at local, regional and global scales. Researchers in this field try to understand complex interactions between human and natural systems in urban environments and apply that understanding to developing more resilient and sustainable systems. I am particularly interested in the role of wetlands in urban areas and the impact of urbanization on wetlands and water systems.