This faculty member is potentially considering one new graduate student (Research Assistant) position for admission in 2013.
As a Research Professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, I study shallow-water community and food web structure, and restoration ecology, of estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems along the Pacific Northwest coast, from San Francisco Bay, the Oregon and Washington coasts, Puget Sound, and Alaska. Ecosystems that have especially attracted my interests include: coastal marshes, mudflats and eelgrass of Pacific Northwest estuaries; nearshore, kelp-dominated shores of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska; and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Much of my recent research is involved in the Columbia River estuary, where I am particularly intrigued by ecological processes associated with estuarine turbidity maxima and the importance of brackish marshes and forested wetlands to juvenile Pacific salmon. The underlying question in my research is often "What controls variability in the capacity of these ecosystems and landscapes to support ecologically- and socioculturally-important consumer organisms, particularly juvenile Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), and what alters the integrity of these relationships?"
Much of this research has focused on the role of ecosystem structure and change, and the associated ecological (e.g., food web) interactions that are regulated by strong ecological interactions (e.g., keystone species such as sea otters), natural disturbance, or sensitivity to anthropogenic effects, such as wetland alteration. I've become increasingly interested in large-scale interactions across landscapes that alter fundamental ecosystem structure and processes at local scales, such as river flow diversion and regulation influences on estuarine communities and food webs, and the strategic planning of ecosystem restoration and preservation at different scales.
Recent research emphasis has included:
- ecological mechanisms whereby estuarine and coastal wetlands and other shallow habitats support fish (especially juvenile Pacific salmon) and wildlife;
- basic ecosystem-, community- and habitat-level interactions, with emphasis on predator-prey relationships;
- sources, organization and flow of organic matter through food webs;
- restoration, creation and enhancement of estuarine and coastal wetland ecosystems; and
- using ecological approaches to evaluating the success of anthropogenic stressors, such as the introduction of exotic species, and ecosystem manipulations, such as freshwater flow alteration.
Since 1990, I have been particularly dedicated to coordinating the Wetland Ecosystem Team (WET), a small team of research scientists, educators, and graduate students that conducts both basic and applied research on these topics. Current research initiatives include: (1) leading WET's CALFED research on tidal freshwater wetland restoration patterns and rates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers delta (BREACH studies); (2) evaluating the importance of estuarine life history diversity of juvenile Pacific salmon in population resilience and recovery, and the potential role of estuarine habitat restoration in increasing life history diversity; (3) restoration of natural ecosystem processes as a sustainable approach to recovery of endangered salmon; and, (4) the practical application of landscape ecology concepts and quantitative metrics to planning and implementing coastal ecosystem restoration. Much of my concentration is presently focused on strategic planning restoration of nearshore ecosystems in Puget Sound under the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP), under which I chair the Nearshore Science Team (NST).