1) Rock weathering and soil formation processes. Applications toward paleoclimate interpretation, landscape evolution, and extreme event impacts (such as forest fires).
2) Stone conservation. Deterioration of ancient and historic stone monuments and architecture. Deterioration of archaeological objects. Impacts of acid precipitation.
3) Climatic and weather hazards, such as severe storms, global warming, and air pollution.
4) Environmental change evident in soil and sedimentary record, particularly in New Jersey.
Along with team members Drs. Josh Galster, Huan Feng, and Meiyin Wu, outstanding undergraduate students participate in ongoing research on watersheds in northwest New Jersey. My contribution is toward fingerprinting the source of stream sediments using trace elements. Sediment source would be partially dependent on land use; changes in land use as well as environmental change would impact stream quality. For Summer 2013, the goal is to extend this trace element fingerprinting toward soil profile development.
Forest fire impacts on soils
With colleague Dr. Jennifer Callanan (William Paterson University), we seek to understand the impacts of forest fires on soil development. Thus far, we have identified a unique soil chemistry that persists for several years following a fire, as well as alteration to clay minerals. Ongoing research aims to ascertain the translocation of ash-generated cations and clay minerals into the soil profile. Fire-impacted soil development would influence the ecology, soil stability, and water quality.
Using field tests (such as Schmidt hammer) and laboratory analysis (such as SEM and ICP), assessing the deterioration of cultural stone artifacts or architecture. Previous work included stone weathering in Portugal, and rock art deterioration in Portugal and Arizona. Current research is associated with the "Villa of the Antonines" project, Genzano di Roma, Italy.
Storm impacts on forest soils
Northwest New Jersey experienced a number of severe storms since 2011, including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. My students and I have been surveying forest damage at the New Jersey School of Conservation and in Morris County, and quantifying the impacts on soil. Research was presented at the 2013 Binghamton Symposium and will appear in an upcoming paper.