Land-Sea Coupling/Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics/Biogeochemistry
Effects of human activity on water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes from land to sea; responses of estuarine and coastal food webs to changes in land-derived resources; use of stable isotopes and other natural tracers to follow water and water-borne constituents across the land-sea interface.
Environmental changes as a consequence of human activity, including changes in land use, land cover, and global warming, provide the context for much of my work. These changes are having a profound influence on the transport of water and water-borne constituents from land to sea. In turn, changes in the fluxes of water, carbon, and nutrients to estuaries and the coastal ocean are altering fundamental ecosystem properties such as primary production and food web structure.
Changes in land-sea fluxes have broader implications as well, including alteration of the global carbon budget and potential impacts of freshwater inputs on global ocean circulation and climate. To identify and explore changes in land-sea coupling I use a wide variety of approaches including analysis of historic data sets, field studies of biogeochemical cycling and constituent transport, and modeling. In my field studies, I frequently take advantage stable isotopes and other natural markers to track the fate of water, organic matter, and nutrients from land through estuarine and marine systems.