Wetland ecosystems are critical features of the landscape because they improve water quality, serve as nursery and feeding areas for fish, birds and other wildlife, and dampen the energy of flood events. Wetlands are also important in the global carbon cycle because they hold about 1/3 of the world's soil carbon and release 40% of all methane (a powerful greenhouse gas).
We study a broad range of topics related to wetlands, but carbon cycling is a theme that ties the work together. Applied issues that have been addressed include wetland responses to elevated CO2 and climate change, the success of created wetlands, and the scientific foundation for wetland delineation methods. Basic issues include microbial ecology in the plant rhizosphere and factors that regulate photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition and transpiration. Our work spans many types of wetland ecosystems including bottomland hardwood swamps, cypress swamps, tidal freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, mangrove swamps and peatlands.