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Paul R. Wetzel

Research Associate / Environmental Monitoring Coordinator / Co-Director Sustainable Food Concentration

email Send E–mail office Office: Center for the Environment / Wright Hall phone Phone: 585–2646

Paul Wetzel

Paul R. Wetzel earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

I am interested in vegetation dynamics, landscape differentiation, and ecosystem ecology and how that knowledge can be applied to ecosystem restoration. My recent research interests have centered on the spatial redistribution and focus of limited resources on a landscape and the effect such focused resources have on vegetation patterns. Vegetation enhancement from resource redistribution may in turn allow vegetation communities to modulate their environment. The Florida Everglades, the largest wetland restoration ever attempted, is an ecosystem in which groups of trees (tree islands) focus the limiting resource phosphorus on the landscape. This focused redistribution of limited resources maintains tree islands and allows them to expand; creating a patterned landscape with greater biocomplexity than if the tree islands were absent.

I am also interested in vegetation community response to disturbance from chronic stress events (such as multi-year droughts or prolonged water chemistry changes) to major fire events. This knowledge can also be used to predict the outcome of human caused ecosystem disturbances before they actually happen.

Representative publications

Wetzel, P. R., A.G. van der Valk, S. Newman, W. H. Orem, C. A. Coronado, D. L. Childers, T. Troxler Gann, and F. H. Sklar. 2008. "Phosphorus Concentration in a Patterned Landscape," the Florida Everglades. Plant Ecology.

Wetzel, P. R., T. Pinion, D. T. Towles, and I. L. Heisler. 2008. "Analysis of Tree Island Head Vegetation in Water Conservation Area 3, Florida Everglades." Wetlands 28(2):276–289.

van der Valk, A. G., P. R. Wetzel, and E. Cline. 2008. "Restoring Tree Islands in the Everglades: Experimental Studies of Tree Seedling Survival and Growth." Restoration Ecology 16(2):281–289.

Wetzel, P. R. and W. M. Kitchens. 2007. "Vegetation change from chronic stress events: Detection of the effects of tide gate removal and long-term drought on a tidal marsh." Journal of Vegetation Science 18:431–442.