Dr. Randall Hughes, among other things, studies biodiversity in salt marshes, and how it affects the habitat’s ability to cope with disturbances. Does having a greater variety of plant species benefit a salt marsh? Does having more genetic individuals of smooth cordgrass help when environmental or man made catastrophes strike? Randall is looking at several factors, from the animals that eat the cordgrass (the foundation species of the marsh), to which combinations of plants work best together, or how seagrass wrack affects the health of a marsh.
Most of her study is centered on St. Joseph Bay, on Florida’s Gulf coast. On this blog you will also see some of her side projects looking at black mangroves are starting to become more prevalent in Gulf salt marshes and why seagrass beds around the world are dying off.