PFTs as management & restoration tools
Surrounded by Phragmites australis at my current research site in Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, MD.
I am currently testing how prescribed fire, herbicide, and salt application can independently and interactively influence the invasive plant, Phragmites australis. In U.S. Atlantic coastal forests, Phragmites is steadily encroaching, outcompeting native vegetation and transitioning these ecosystems rapidly. Using PFTs as a lens, I am examining how these various management tools shape Phragmites ability to clonally spread and use available resources.
My current and past work showcases how abiotic and biotic factors can influence the PFTs of coastal plants. As foundation species, these plants are responsible for creating and maintaining entire ecosystems, and many critical processes are regulated via PFTs. For example, belowground biomass production and architecture directly influence erosion potential in salt marshes. In my future work, I hope to apply my previous findings and background in coastal restoration to current efforts. It may be possible to expose plants to controlled biotic or abiotic factors to stimulate production of advantageous PFTs which may aid plant establishment and enhance restoration success.
Holding a 'fid' full of seagrass stems in preparation for planting for restoration efforts in San Francisco Bay.
Making mudballs full of Stuckenia pectinata seeds as part of a lake restoration effort in San Francisco, CA.