Frederick Lab – Wetlands Ecology and Conservation
Welcome to the Frederick Lab
Interests in the Frederick lab are typically diverse, but are loosely centered around understanding wetland processes both for their own sake and as guides to restoration and conservation activities. Most of our studies have the names of wetland vertebrates (often birds) in their titles. But it is the ecological processes that create habitat and maintain support for wetland communities that is usually the core interest. It has long been recognized that wetlands are driven by abiotic factors. Our work has demonstrated that rare and sometimes cataclysmic natural disturbance events (drought, fire, flood, hurricanes) are critical to the maintenance of community dynamics and population size of many wetland animals. In some cases, our work has also shown that mobile wetland vertebrates may be adapted to and highly dependent upon a mosaic of wetland conditions created by large scale geographical and temporal discontinuities in disturbance regimes. In addition, it is increasingly apparent that biotic influences are also important in structuring wetland ecosystems, and that wetland responses to abiotic cycles may be highly interactive with biotic communities. Identifying the mode and magnitude of natural cycling in wetlands is critical to directing the scale and focus of conservation and management. Inevitably, wetlands today are strongly affected by anthropogenic action, and documenting and untangling human effects from natural cycling has been an important part of our work.