Dr. Carrie Adams
Our research focuses on plant ecology and restoration of ecosystem structure and function, including the establishment of native plant communities and invasive plant management. Our work takes place in wetlands and aquatic habitats, terrestrial ecosystems and cultural landscapes such as roadsides. Research on invasive ornamental management is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Sandy Wilson and Dr. Zhanao Deng.
Decision making for revegetation
Decisions about sourcing plant material for conservation and restoration should be based on science and linked to restoration goals, which typically target some ecosystem function. Examples of goals may include rapid plant establishment, long-term persistence, resistance to invasion, or some suite of pre-specified ecosystem functions. Propagule type, species selection, source location and level of genetic diversity all confer population-level traits to the restored population, and need to experimentally tested prior to broad application in restoration practice. We have been exploring these issues across ecosystems, and specifically in invaded wetlands and coastal dunes.
Invasive species management
Control of Invasive Ruellia simplex: Ruellia simplex, a popular ornamental in the southern United States, has escaped cultivation and is invading ecosystems in nine states, including Florida. The project aims to evaluate the potential for control of Ruellia simplex with glyphosate applications and active revegetation with native species. Additionally, we are assessing the plant composition of the seedbank and the potential for recolonization of the native plant community. The goals of this study are to explore revegetation approaches (natural recolonization and active revegetation of aggressive native species) for native plant establishment, and R. simplex invasion limitation. This study is being conducted in the Lake Jesup Conservation Area, managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Restoration of native plant communities in altered environments
Barriers to native plant establishment include invasive species, altered biotic and abiotic site characteristics, and propagule limitation. The goal of this research is to determine efficient and ecologically-sound techniques for revegetation of native plant community diversity and function. Current study sites are located in north and south Florida.
Developing effective approaches for managing invasive species can likely be advanced through an adaptive management (AM) framework, i.e., one where management decisions are improved over time because they are based on an enhanced understanding of the system gleaned from periodic monitoring, structured experimentation and modeling. Past projects have focused on the control of reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) the recovery of these impacted ecosystems after its removal.