Welcome to LUMCON's Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry Lab!
The Roberts Lab is interested in understanding how ecosystems transform and retain nutrients and energy. We are particularly interested in examining how the mechanisms regulating the autotrophic/heterotrophic balance and the biogeochemical cycling and transport of materials along the continuum from headwater streams and lakes to large rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and open-ocean ecosystems are altered as a result of human perturbations to the landscape (e.g. land use changes, fertilizer applications, climate change, oil spills, etc.). We are also interested in examining how restoration efforts might mitigate some of these deleterious impacts.
In our work, we seek to open “the black box" of ecosystems by attempting to understand the biotic and abiotic interactions occurring within them so we can better understand the factors that regulate important biogeochemical fluxes. Specifically, we have been involved in several projects studying the influence of particular species or communities at regulating ecosystem-scale processes [e.g. studying 1) how shifts in microbial communities impact ecosystem-scale N-cycling rates and greenhouse gas fluxes in wetlands; 2) the relative contribution of autotrophs & heterotrophs to ecosystem R in lakes, streams & estuaries; and 3) the role of snails in regulating periphyton and contributing to ecosystem-scale nutrient cycling & R rates in streams].
Current research in the Roberts Lab is broadly focused in three areas: 1) ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry (particularly focused on terrestrial-aquatic and community-ecosystem linkages along the aquatic continuum), 2) human-induced environmental impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and 3) restoration ecology. Our research team is currently involved in projects in multiple ecosystem types including headwater streams, rivers, baldcypress swamps, salt marshes, estuaries, and coastal oceans. The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of our research lends itself to providing numerous research opportunities to students.
Vastano AR, Able KW, Jensen OP, López-Duarte PC, Martin CW, Roberts BJ. 2017. Age Validation and Seasonal Growth Patterns of a Subtropical Marsh Fish: The Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis. Environmental Biology of Fishes. In press.
McCann MJ, Able KW, Christian RR, Fodrie FJ, Jensen OP, Johnson JJ, Lopez-Duarte PC,
Martin CW, Olin JA, Polito MJ, Roberts BJ, Ziegler SL. 2017. Key taxa in food web responses
to stressors: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1474 [link]
Mason OU, Canter E, Gillies LE, Paisie T and Roberts BJ. 2016. Mississippi River plume enriches microbial diversity in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:1048.
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01048. [link]
Bernhard AE, Scheffer R, Giblin AE, Marton JM, Roberts BJ. 2016. Population Dynamics and Community Composition of Ammonia Oxidizers in Salt Marshes after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:854. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00854. [link]
Weber SC, Peterson L, Battles JJ, Roberts BJ, Peterson RN, Hollander DJ, Chanton JP, Joye SB, Montoya JP. 2016. Hercules 265 Rapid Response: Immediate ecosystem impacts of a natural gas blowout incident. Deep Sea Research Part II 129:66–76. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.11.010. [link]
Roberts BJ, Doty SM. 2015. Spatial and temporal patterns of benthic respiration and net nutrient fluxes in the Atchafalaya River Delta Estuary. Estuaries and Coasts 38:1918-1936. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-015-9965-z. [link]
Middleton BA, Johnson D, Roberts BJ. 2015. Hydrologic remediation for the Deepwater Horizon Incident drove ancillary primary production increase in coastal swamps. Ecohydrology 8:838-850. DOI: 10.1002/eco.1625. [link]
Marton JM, Roberts BJ, Bernhard AE, Giblin AE. 2015. Spatial and temporal variability of nitrification potential and ammonia-oxidizer abundances in Louisiana salt marshes. Estuaries and Coasts 38:1824-1837. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-015-9943-5. [link]
Roberts Lab is featured in video release from Dispatches from the Gulf Series created by Marilyn & Hal Weiner (See the video here)
Roberts lab research collaboration across GoMRI consortia (Weber et al. 2016) highlighted on GoMRI website (See story here)
Brendan Kelly joined the Roberts Lab as a Research Assistant
Research activities included sampling of soil greenhouse gas fluxes at Terrebonne Bay sites and plant sampling at LUMCON sites.
Caleb Bourgeois joined the Roberts Lab as a Research Assistant
The Roberts lab participated in CWC-II spring marsh sampling campaign; Ron made photosynthesis measurements across core sites; remaining members sampled plants for food web; Brian, Ari, and Anthony worked with food web group. Natalie's thesis research samping was completed and LUMCON plant sites were also sampled in October
Brian gave a seminar at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory
Research activities included sampling of soil greenhouse gas fluxes at Terrebonne Bay sites, plant sampling at LUMCON sites, completion of snail distribution sampling, and a collaboration with Jennifer Hill (Louisiana Tech)
REU interns Nicole, David, and Madelyn gave presentations in the 6th Annual LUMCON Student Research Symposium
Ekaterina Bulygina joined the Roberts Lab as our lab manager.
Research activities included plant sampling at the CWC food web sites and LUMCON sites, continued sampling of snail distributions across coast, and snail foraging preference experiments
Jordan Logarbo (Nicholls State University) and Katie Baudoin (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) joined the Roberts Lab as summer interns
Research activities included the 5th year of summer nitrification rate sampling across the LA coast, LUMCON plant sampling, Natalie's thesis research project and REU summer research projects.
Nicole Farley (Wayne State University), David Klinges III (Dartmouth College), and Madelyn Sorrentino (University of Vermont) joined the Roberts Lab as REU interns for summer 2016.
Ari and Brian gave presentations at the State of the Coast Conference in New Orleans.
Dr. Anthony Rietl joins the lab as a postdoctoral researcher focused on wetland plant ecology as part of our Coastal Waters Consortium effort after earning his PhD from LSU.
The Roberts lab participated in CWC-II spring marsh sampling campaign; Sam Setta made photosynthesis measurements across core sites; remaining members sampled plants for food web; Brian and Anthony worked with food web group.
March - April 2016
CWC field sampling included monthly plant sampling at LUMCON sites
The Roberts lab authored or co-authored 11 presentations at the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in Tampa, FL.
The Roberts lab authored or co-authored 5 presentations at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
Jacqui Levy joins the lab as a research assistant
CWC field sampling included plant sampling at LUMCON sites
December 2015 - January 2016
CWC field sampling included monthly plant sampling at LUMCON sites
Brian gave presentation on marsh N cycling work at CERF meeting in Portland; CWC field sampling included plant sampling at LUMCON sites
The Roberts lab participated in CWC fall marsh sampling campaign; Sam Setta made photosynthesis measurements across core sites; remaining members sampled plants for food web; Brian and Ari worked with food web group.
Brian participated in a three day CWC marsh food web workshop at RUMFS
CWC biogeochemistry/microbial ecology sampling included soil net greenhouse gas fluxes at Terrebonne Bay sites and plant sampling at LUMCON and TB sites
September 2015 CWC field sampling included plant sampling at LUMCON sites and soil sampling in collaboration with Giulio Mariotti and Tracy Quirk as part of a marsh erosion study
The Roberts Lab participated in a second hypoxia cruise from 20-23 August. Brian and Ari again collaborated with Mary Kate Rogener (UGA) on water column processes as well as an intact benthic core incubation study.
August 2015 CWC field sampling included soil net greenhouse gas fluxes from Terrebonne Bay sites, plant sampling at LUMCON and TB sites, and plant sampling in Port Sulpur region as part of the CWC-II food web effort
REU interns Kristen Chatelain and Samantha Fortin and grad student Natalie Ceresnak all gave presentations in the LUMCON Student Symposium
Grad student Natalie Ceresnak completed her first sampling campaign for her MS thesis research work on the effects of salinity alterations on greenhouse gas production and denitrification along a wetland salinity gradient in Barataria Bay, LA
Brian was one of 5 invited presenters at the "Impacts of DWH on Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico" workshop organized by LA Sea Grant along with partners NERRS CTP, MS-AL Sea Grant and held in Slidell, LA on 11 August 2015. [link]
The Roberts Lab participated in the annual shelfwide hypoxia cruise 28 July - 4 Aug 2015. We continued our collaboration with the Joye Lab at UGA by having Ari Chelsky (LUMCON) working with Mary Kate Rogener (UGA) on board the R/V Pelican.
Dr. Troy Hill joins the lab as a postdoctoral researcher focused on wetland plant ecology as part of our Coastal Waters Consortium effort after earning his PhD from Yale University
The entire Roberts Lab group is collaborating a project examining marsh subhabitat variability in biogeochemical process rates
Dr. Ariella Chelsky joins the lab as a postdoctoral researcher focused on wetland biogeochemsitry as part of our Coastal Waters Consortium effort after earning her PhD from Griffiths University
Kristen Chatelain (LA Tech) and Samantha Fortin (Eckerd College) join lab group as REU interns
Ronald Scheuermann joins lab group as summer research technician
Katie Baudoin joins lab group as summer intern
Natalie Ceresnak joins the lab as a MS student in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences after earning a BS from University of Scranton
Brian and Hillary participate in CWC marsh sampling campaign: Brian works with food web group and Hillary makes photosynthesis measurements across core sites.
Sam Setta joins lab group as research assistant
Roberts Lab participates in LUMCON's Open House with over 1000 people touring the Marine Center on 25 April.
Lab member Regina Bledsoe will be entering graduate school at East Carolina University in fall 2015!
Hillary led a Gulf Lagniappe public education event on coastal marshes that was sponsored by CWC and LUMCON on 28 March
Roberts Lab members were author and/or co-author on 7 presentations at the 2015 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in Houston, TX
Brian led "Dads and Daughters" Event for girls 5-8 years old and their dads as part of CWC's education and outreach program on 31 January
Brian is promoted to Associate Professor!