Lower Foodweb Ecology and Management in Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems
My research program focuses on population dynamics of the lower foodweb of aquatic ecosystems. While my research addresses the role of ecological interactions, as well as interactions between organisms and their environment, foci are on the roles of nutrient loading (and possible eutrophication) and water inflows and the influence of hydrodynamics on ecosystem health. My research program is currently active in multiple locations in Texas and abroad. In Texas, I am working in both inland and coastal environments. Inland study areas include multiple location along the Trinity, San Jacinto, Brazos and Colorado watersheds. On the coast, I am working in the Bay systems of San Antonio, Aransas and Copano, Matagorda and Galveston. Abroad, I am working in the Mexico, Australia, Greece, Germany, Israel and Hungary.The ecology of harmful algal bloom-forming phytoplankton, specifically the "Golden Algae" Prymnesium parvum, has been the focus of my research in many of the inland ecosystems in Texas. This research is ongoing and involves collaboration with other academic institutions that include the University of Texas at Arlington and Baylor University, and state and federal agencies that include Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Geological Survey, Brazos River Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Much of this research aims to develop mitigation strategies that will minimize the impact of harmful algal blooms on our aquatic ecosystems. Abroad, I'm working with various cyanobacteria that form harmful algal blooms. This research in being done with cooperation from University of Technology Sydney, University of Aegean, University of Aristotle Thessaloniki, University of Athens, Migel Allon Limnological Research Institute, and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, and GEOMAR, Germany.Ascertaining the role of freshwater inflows, i.e., the magnitude, duration, and timing of pulsed river inflow events, has been the focus of my research in the coastal ecosystems in Texas. This research is ongoing and involves collaboration with other academic institutions, i.e., the Texas A&M University at Galveston, and state and federal agencies that include Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As with my inland research projects, much of this research aims to develop inflow-based management strategies that will minimize the impact of diminished freshwater inflows in coastal ecosystems.