Research Area(s)

Current research interests in ecosystem ecology; urban ecology; ecology and valuation of urban green space; wetland ecosystem services


I have a diverse research background that started with training in soil and ecosystem ecology, and that now centers on various aspects of urban ecology and conservation. Earlier in my career, I spent many years researching the effects of earthworms on nutrient cycling in a variety of ecosystems. My post-doctoral research was focused on soil processes and plant-soil feedback in northern hardwood forests. From 1998-2010, I was director of the Agroecology program at Archbold Biological Station. There my research expanded to include wetland ecology, water quality, and agro-ecosystem sustainability. Since coming to UCF in 2010, my focus has turned to Urban Ecology, which is an area I had done some work in during my postdoc at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

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 improving conservation of urban biodiversity, and to developing nature-based solutions for building more resilient and sustainable urban systems. My current research focusses on various aspects of pollinator ecology in urban environments, including the role of native plants in supporting pollinator services in residential and other urban landscapes. I am also interested in how local and landscape factors affect urban invertebrate communities, and how this knowledge can enhance invertebrate conservation in urban systems.

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