My research is focused on the ecosystem function of wetlands - that is, what roles do they play within nature and what ecosystem services do they provide for us? This incorporates elements of ecology, geomorphology and biogeochemistry, among other environmental science fields.
I have specific interest in the carbon sequestration potential, or 'blue carbon', of mangrove, saltmarsh and supratidal forested wetlands. The biogeochemical conditions in these habitats are conducive to long-term carbon retention, with carbon-rich sediments continuing to accrete over long periods of time, anoxic conditions slowing down the decay of organic material and the influence of marine waters minimising the release of methane to the atmosphere.
My research aims to improve understanding of the quantity and character blue carbon stocks in coastal wetlands and their response to environmental change. This includes assessing the importance of geomorphic setting to carbon stocks, as well as identifying contributions of autochthonous (resulting from primary production within the ecosystem) and allochthonous (imported from adjacent ecosystems or elsewhere in the catchment) sources to carbon stocks. Improved understanding of the processes driving carbon sequestration in coastal saltmarshes as well as improved methodologies for measuring carbon dynamics within and between ecosystems will also help to inform regional and global carbon management and potential carbon offset schemes.