Angelini Lab updates

The Angelini Lab has been busy! Over the past few months, Ph.D. student, Sean Sharp has been working alongside undergraduates Kat Tran and Emily Persico, as well as Master’s student Lexie Liu, to wrap up a large-scale field experiment investigating the resilience of southeastern US salt marshes to drought and feral hog disturbance. To expand this research, Sean has been recently awarded the Wetlands Foundation Research Grant and HT Odum Scholarship to explore the role of feral hogs in driving persistent salt marsh die off throughout Gulf of Mexico and southeastern Atlantic coastlines in summer 2015. In this study, Sean will be using surveys of plant vegetation, hog density and impacts, soil characteristics, and human development and additional field experiments to examine factors that mediate when and where hogs infest salt marshes and how long their disturbances are likely to persist.

In addition, undergraduates Katheryne Cronk and Bridget Chalifour have been working together to quantify the effects of fungal-farming periwinkle snails on salt marsh grasses and changes in snail radula morphology and toughness in response to drought stress. And, finally, undergraduates Wes Lewis, Sam Hagman, Gabe Somarriba, and Kerrie Durham have been making impressive progress characterizing the response of arthropod communities in long leaf pine savannas to drought and cogongrass invasions in an Angelini-Flory lab long-term field experiment in Gainesville, FL. From their hundreds of hours in the lab, this team has discovered that pollinator and sap-sucker assemblages are undergoing dramatic changes in response to drought and cogongrass-induced loss of plant biodiversity and have grand plans to expand this research in the summer ahead.

For more information our research, please check out the Angelini lab website or our recent papers out in Oikos and Ecosystems.