My research interests generally lie within the scope of stream ecology.
Currently, my research is focused on discerning a relationship between
stream macroinvertebrate secondary production and biodiversity. To this
end, 15 streams ranging from second to third order have been chosen
in national forests in Alabama. Eight of these sights are located in
the piedmont region of the state, and seven are located on the coastal
plain. Artificial substrate samplers are used to collect invertebrates
in each of these streams. These samplers are allowed to colonize for
5 weeks, before the invertebrates are collected, identified, and measured.
Primary production is also being measured in all of the sites to see
the relationship between primary production and macroinvertebrate biodiversity.
Additional parameters that are being measured because of their potential
influence on macroinvertebrate production and diversity include stream
discharge, nutrient levels, stream temperature, dissolved oxygen, total
suspended solids, ash-free dry mass, pH, seston chlorophyll a, and alkalinity.
Ideally, these parameters will vary minimally between national forest
Beginning in summer 2003, I will begin research in urban Atlanta, Georgia
streams. The research methods will be identical to the current study,
but the goals will be slightly different. The first goal will be to
show how human land use impacts the natural relationship between macroinvertebrate
biodiversity and secondary production. This study will also take place
in streams that had been previously studied in the mid 1970's using
similar methods. Because of this, a second goal will be to demonstrate
the impact of 25 years of human impact on stream biodiversity. Because
of the variability of land use in these systems, the additional parameters
that are measured (pH, nutrients, etc.) will hopefully help explain
some of the variability in macroinvertebrate diversity and production.
The final component of my research will take place in New Mexico streams.
This portion is still subject to reconsideration, but current plans
are to carry out the same type of study in an arid environment. This
different climate could greatly impact the levels of production and
diversity in stream invertebrates, and could lead to a different type
of production-diversity relationship than is seen in Alabama.