Motivated by basic and applied questions, our research seeks to understand the sources, fate and ecological implications of anthropogenic pollutants in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Modern aquatic ecosystems are infiltrated with diverse mixtures of pollutants that can act together as a multiple stressor to alter biotic systems at all levels of biological organization, including individuals, populations and communities.
Our research program uses tools from ecology, ecotoxicology, environmental chemistry and physiology to investigate (1) the sources, (2) fate and (3) the ecological implications of the mixtures of contaminants to aquatic habitats. Because plastic debris provide a unique opportunity to examine a complex mixture of contaminants, our past and current work focuses on plastic. Plastic debris is associated with the physical stressor of the particle, innate chemicals added during manufacturing, and chemicals that accumulate on microplastics from surrounding water.
We are committed to doing ecological research that is applicable to management. To bridge the gap between academia and management, we collaborate with non-profit organizations and government agencies.