My general interest is in understanding complex interrelationships in natural (and sometimes human) systems. This focus has evolved out of the recognition that the study of systems (as opposed to individual processes) requires methods that are quite different from time-honored univariate statistical procedures which are the core training of biologists. If we are to understand and predict the behavior of systems, we need to develop and evaluate multivariate hypotheses. One approach to the evaluation of multivariate hypotheses involves the use of structural equation modeling (SEM).
We are current working to develop third-generation SEM techniques that will provide a more complete toolbox for scientists to both learn about systems and also to forecast their behavior. In addition to working on methodology, we are applying these techniques to study problems such as (1) Sustainability of coastal wetlands in the face of rising sea levels; (2) Ability of plant biodiversity hotspots to withstand changes in climate; (3) Effects of human activities on biotic integrity of wetlands at Rocky Mountain and Acadia National Parks; (4) Effects of nutrients on plant communities around the world; (5) Effectiveness of habitat management on sagebrush communities of the Great Basin; (6) Factors controlling wildlife concentrations in the Serengeti of Africa; (7) Foodweb relationships in near-shore eelgrass communities; Plus numerous other collaborative projects.