Research Professor, University of Florida

I am interested in the ecology and conservation of wetlands, and particularly of wetland vertebrates. These creatures are adapted to environments that are extremely productive, yet often very unpredictable, and whose nutrient cycling is completely different from terrestrial, oceanic or lacustrine environments. The field of wetland science is dominated by studies of energetic flow, plant ecology, and nutrient flux, in which wetland vertebrates are often assumed to play minor roles. Yet animals, even vertebrates, are often key in the healthy functioning of these ecosystems, and the conservation and restoration of these ecosystems depends strongly upon an understanding of how larger animals use them, especially in terms of movement behavior, foraging ecology, and reproduction. For vertebrates, this often requires understanding various aspects of ecosystem function at once, and often at regional and even international scales. In my research program, wetland birds have been used intensively and extensively as indicators of ecosystem health, ecosystem function, and as guides for the spatial and temporal scale at which conservation and restoration should occur. My work has included vertical studies of long-legged wading birds in the Everglades (health, reproduction, foraging ecology, energetics, flight behavior, communication, movements, demographics, feedback nutrient loops), comparisons of ecosystems (Everglades, Miskito Coast, Okavango Delta, Brazilian Pantanal), measuring anthropogenic effects (human disturbance, hydrological management, nutrient pollution, powerlines, construction, contaminants), multidecadal studies of population dynamics and movements, and ecosystem/regional planning for conservation.

Experience

  • –present
    Research Professor, University of Florida