We are a team of researchers from University of Houston, Texas A & M University at Galveston, and Florida International University. We seek to understand changes in our coastal environments in order to support better management of fisheries and other recreational resources.
Dr. Steven C. Pennings: Principal Investigator
Pennings is a Professor at the University of Houston. He studies the factors that structure plant communities in salt marshes. His laboratory is currently studying the ecological interactions between mangrove seedlings and salt marsh vegetation that are mediating the success of mangroves in different habitats along the Texas coast.
Dr. Anna R. Armitage: Co-Principal Investigator
Armitage is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Her research examines the community-level interactions that structure food webs in coastal ecosystems such as salt marshes, mangrove swamps, tidal mudflats, seagrass beds, and tidal freshwater wetlands.
Dr. John Kominoski: Co-Principal Investigator
Kominoski is an Assistant Professor at Florida International University. His research focuses on how variation in nutrient concentrations (nitrogen, N; phosphorus, P) and carbon: nutrient ratios influence microbial organic matter process rates and ecosystem metabolism in upland and coastal ecosystems such as forested streams, freshwater and salt marshes, mangrove forests and swamps.
Dr. Hongyu Guo: Research scientist
Guo is currently examining the consequences of mangrove invasion into salt marsh habitats on the Texas coast. His Ph.D. research focused on examining the factors that mediate the distribution of plants along the freshwater-salt water gradient in estuaries, and how these factors simultaneously mediate plant productivity and diversity.
Dr. Zoe Hughes: Visiting Scientist
Hughes is a coastal oceanographer who studies tidal and wave hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphodynamics in shallow coastal environments such as estuaries. My link to this group lies in how physics and ecology interact: vegetation and fauna influencing geomorphology and vice versa.
Dr. Carolyn Weaver: Postdoctoral research associate
Weaver is interested in the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on community-level biodiversity and species interactions, with particular focus on how trophic interactions influence community structure and ecosystem function.
Sean Charles: Doctoral student
Charles is a doctoral student at Florida International University. His research focuses on the functional implications of spatial and temporal distribution of vegetation regime shifts in coastal wetlands. He is testing the effects of mangrove expansion into freshwater and marine marsh ecosystems with increasing winter low temperatures and sea-level rise on carbon sequestration and accretion rates.
Sayantani Dastidar: Doctoral student
Dastidar will be studying community assembly and structure in the mangrove-marsh ecotone on the Texas coast.
Ashley Whitt: M.S. student
Whitt is studying differences in bird communities between mangroves and salt marshes.