The interests of my lab means the group is involved in a variety of projects. Our field work in local coastal communities focuses on understanding how biotic factors such as predation and mutualisms interact with abiotic factors such as temperature to influence the structure of ecological communities and their ability to provide ecosystem services; a major emphasis of this work is integrating non-consumptive effects (fear) into classic community ecology and management . Our focus on marine communities also allows our research to address management issues. We currently collaborate with the Billion Oyster Project in their efforts to reintroduce oysters to New York Harbor, and our work in Jamaica Bay (in collaboration with Dr. Chester Zarnoch) offers insight on how salt marsh restorations may be best managed in urban sites.
The local organisms and communities we work with are also the focus of some of the quantitative work in the lab, such as our efforts to develop dynamic energy budget models that can be used to determine optimal places to reintroduce oysters or predict future changes in marsh spread and denitrification potential. Our quantitative emphasis also allows us to expand our reach to communities and topics outside of New York. Projects in other areas include efforts to
- quantify large-scale patterns in diversity in kelp and rain forests and examine relationships among drivers, diversity, and impacts in these hyperdiverse natural systems.
- develop models that can used to access reintroduction outcome and better ongoing efforts.
- use meta-analyses to better understand how non-consumptive effects impact prey and communities.