Research in our lab focuses on several aspects of wetland restoration. Collectively, these studies aim to understand how and why plant diversity is declining in wetlands and develop approaches for restoring wetland biodiversity and function. In order to improve restoration practice we strive to foster the interchange of ideas among wetland and restoration scientists, disseminate scientific information, and offer advice when requested and where needed.

Invasive plant species are a major cause of declining diversity in wetlands. Two of the most common invasive plants in temperate North American wetlands are reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca). We are conducting field and mesocosm experiments to learn what factors facilitate reed canary grass invasion, and to determine how invasion can be reduced. Hybrid cattail invasions are being characterized through field and mesocosm experiments, observational studies, and analysis of air photos and satellite images.

The role of topographic heterogeneity on wetland function is another area of research in our lab. This research is being done both in California salt marshes and in Wisconsin sedge meadows. In salt marsh systems the importance of the presence of tidal creeks is being investigated. Our research in sedge meadows explores the role of tussock sedge (Carex stricta) in creating topographic heterogeneity.

Nutrient availability plays an important role in determining wetland plant composition. The importance of seasonal differences in soil nutrients is being explored in salt marsh systems. Differences between native sedge meadow communities and reed canary grass in nutrient retention are also being examined. In addition, the role of fluctuating water levels on nutrient availability is being investigated.

 

 

Last updated: September 19, 2007

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