|Present||Professor and Founding Director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago ‐ Department of Biology|
Human impacts to aquatic ecosystems are widespread and varied, from direct (e.g. point-source pollution, hydrologic disturbance) to indirect impacts (e.g. increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations). Throughout my career, I have explored a range of human impacts to aquatic ecosystem structure and function, spanning from investigating the impact of introduced exotic zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) on Great Lakes ecosystems, the effects of elevated CO2-altered leaf litter on stream ecosystem food-webs, to the effects of emerging contaminants such as plasticizers (Bisphenol-A), and pharmaceuticals (e.g. antibiotics and endocrine disruptors) on streams and lakes. Presently, my lab is focused on exploring ecological impacts of invasive plant species on Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystems., Great Lakes coastal wetlands are experiencing widespread increases in the spread and dominance of the aggressive invasive plants Typha x glauca (hybrid cattail) and Phragmites australis (common reed), resulting in reduced species diversity and altered ecological functioning. Since 2002, we have explored the community and ecosystem impacts of Typha on Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystems, mechanisms of Typha dominance at community and regional scales, and the long-term impacts of Typha on nitrogen cycling and ecosystem functioning. Since 2010, we have begun exploring and developing environmentally and economically sustainable restoration options for controlling Typha. Specifically, we are examining the effects of experimental Typha removal as an alternative to burning or herbiciding, on plant and invertebrate communities and wetland biogeochemistry, the potential to utilize harvested invasive species biomass for renewable energy production, and and the economics of ecological restoration linked with renewable energy production.
No Subject Area (8)
Sustainability Education as a Catalyst for University and Community Partnerships
Metropolitan Universities Journal (2010)
Universities are uniquely positioned to lead society toward sustainability and their collaborations with community organizations are essential to this transition. ...