Research Interest

While numerous studies over the past several decades have described the impairment of ecological integrity associated with urbanization , few attempts have been made to clearly define and quantify the ecological functions and services of urban green-space. Those studies that attempt to define urban ecology generally use biodiversity, as the primary metric. They take the traditional approach of comparing an index of measured urban diversity to a hypothetical historic reference. Couched in terms of ecological resilience they generally prescribe to the theory that species richness can be positively correlated with ecosystem stability and to lesser degree function. Our lab seeks to further define ecological function as a product of assembly theory, focused on urban novel communities which may or may not be connected to species richness. We  establish new references, associated with the urban environment that focus on the ecological function such as, carbon and nitrogen cycling, hydrology and the mitigation of those contaminants typically associated with the urban soils of novel urban assemblages. Novel assemblages often referred to as “urban wildlands “appear to function in spite of the environmental stress of the urban environment. They developed unique patterns of species diversity/distribution; models of primary productivity and carbon sequestration that are driven by threshold tolerances, and develop along nontraditional guild trajectories. In addition, the ecological risk associated with uptake and transfer of various contaminants appears not to follow traditional paths.  Our research seeks address current knowledge gaps and develop correlations between ecological function and the post-industrial character of the urban environment.

  • Selected Findings
  • Change in community composition
  • above and below TML threshold
Leaf Area Index before and after Super Storm Sandy
  • Betula poulifolia age determination
  • Fungal Community Cluster
Feedback Loops in contaminated soils
  • Amended soil root growth
  • Betula populifolia
DBH vs Mass Betula populifolia, Consistant
regardless of soil metal load