My research focuses on the conservation and restoration ecology of marine and estuarine organisms and habitats. I am interested in understanding how climate and human-caused changes in environmental conditions affect benthic communities, and how restoration can play a role in recovering ecosystem services lost due to habitat degradation.
We are involved in a broad range of projects, including oyster reef restoration, ecosystem service assessments of habitat value and nitrogen removal provided by restored oyster reefs, comparison of the relative value of estuarine habitats for fishes and macroinvertebrates, food web analyses of oysters and reef-associated species, disease dynamics in oyster populations, and effects of ocean acidification on early larval development of estuarine finfishes. Other related projects include spatial analysis and mapping to assist with site selection of suitable locations for oyster reef restoration, creation and facilitation of an oyster shell recycling program for the Texas Coastal Bend, and development of outreach and educational tools related to coastal conservation and reef restoration.
The majority of our research has a strong field-based component, which is supported by laboratory analyses as well as GIS and modeling applications. Our goal is to provide science-based information to help guide management of ecologically and economically important species and habitats.