Restoration & Conservation Horticulture
Ecotourism in Florida has a $7.8 billion yearly impact on the state's economy. The areal extent of Florida's unique ecosystems has been reduced by approximately 57%. Habitat has been converted to residential, agricultural, and commercial use; remaining habitat has been fragmented, hydrologically altered, fire-suppressed, and overrun by invasive plants. Our Plant Restoration and Conservation Consortium programs are addressing this challenge by developing strategies for invasive species management, reinstatement of natural disturbance regimes, and active revegetation of habitats with native species. Ex-situ conservation approaches, including seed storage, plant propagation (i.e. tissue culture, vegetative and sexual propagation) and genetic diversity characterization, are developed for critical native species. In addition to practical applications, the program makes considerable contributions to advances in basic science including the fields of conservation genetics, restoration ecology, and plant physiology (over 41 peer-reviewed publications and more than $2 million grant dollars generated in the last three years) and education (over 15 peer-reviewed teaching publications in the last three years).
Our research involves issues in plant ecology and restoration of ecosystem structure and function, including the establishment of native plant communities. Much of our work takes place in wetlands and aquatic habitats, but our interests also include terrestrial ecosystems and cultural landscapes, such as roadsides. More...
Our research is focused on seed developmental physiology, dormancy/ germination, and macropropagation. A rationale for this research is to better understand how plant germplasm may be stored, when seeds may be harvested, how germination is controlled, and how to propagate plants more effectively for restoration purposes. We work with native plants from various ecosystems.