The Ed Proffitt & Donna Devlin Coastal Ecology and Genetics lab is focused on ecological consequences of global climate change (e.g., incidence of freezes, sea level rise, storm frequency) such as “regime shifts” from dominance by herbaceous salt marsh plants to woody mangroves that is occurring in south Texas. Studies include population growth of mangroves, interactions between marsh and mangrove species, and differences in the rate of accretion from belowground production and trapping of sediments in marsh and mangrove dominated sites using Surface Elevation Table / Marker Horizon technology. One of us (Dr. Donna Devlin) worked with colleagues in the United Kingdom to assess the relationships between soil microbial diversity and mangrove genetic diversity and identity. In addition, we study estuarine invertebrate assemblages in (and interactions with the foundation species) in salt marshes, mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and oyster reef. Finally, we study restoration ecology in marsh, mangrove, and oyster systems.
Ecology of estuarine and marine plants and invertebrates; ecological genetics; experimental design and biometry; applying multivariate statistics to address large-scale problems