Dr. Meiyin Wu, Director of Passaic River Institute and Professor in the Department of Biology and Molecular Biology, is an ecologist whose research focuses on sustaining water resources, maintaining biodiversity, and restoring ecosystem functions and services. Her research goal is to advance the understanding and practice of ecosystem management by providing innovative technologies, by improving habitat qualities and by helping direct policy decisions to better manage environmental challenges.
Dr. Wu’s research focuses on human impacts on aquatic ecosystems, such as impacts of urban development on rivers and watersheds. Wu’s team studies water chemistry, soil chemistry, hydrology, geomorphology, pathogen indicators, aquatic flora and fauna, and riparian habitat. This research extends to watershed management, nonpoint source pollution reduction, storm water management and green infrastructures. Green infrastructures include an array of practices that use or mimic natural systems to better manage storm water runoff. Dr. Wu is currently working on flood prevention/mitigation strategies for NJ vulnerable communities. Green infrastructures are often included in the design for storm water management and flood prevention.
Her research emphasizes on sustaining biodiversity via rebuilding habitat connectivity and controlling invasive species. Due to high human population density and dense urban development, wildlife habitats are fragmented and/or destroyed. Extensive road network has been shown to create complete barriers to wildlife movement and cause mortality of wildlife. Dr. Wu’s research identifies and prioritizes wildlife crossing/mortality hotspots for mitigation planning to restore habitat connectivity and for the long-term persistence of wildlife species.
Exotic species invasion is a global environmental problem associated with increasing human activity, which causes significant global ecological and economic consequences. Dr. Wu’s research examines the impacts of exotic species introduction at population, community and ecosystem levels, efficacies of invasive management strategies, as well as development of new technologies to control invasive populations. Currently, Dr. Wu is working on development of ultrasonic treatment devices for invasive species management and disinfection.
Globally, wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Dr. Wu’s research interests extend to wetland ecology, management, restoration, and impacts of global climate change on wetlands. Scientific evidence suggests that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are having a discernible effect on the global climate, including acceleration of global temperature and sea-level rise. Dr. Wu’s research studies the role of wetlands in global climate change. Do wetlands produce a surplus of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere or retain them? Are wetlands acting as carbon sinks or carbon sources? Should wetland construction be used in exchange for carbon credits? Moreover, with sea-level rise, there could be substantial loss of floodplain and coastal wetlands. Conversely, many terrestrial ecosystems today may be flooded and become wetlands in the future. Invasive species, insects and pathogens may increase their competitive ability, expand their distribution ranges and move poleward, outcompete native species and occupy the newly developed wetlands. Dr. Wu’s research investigates the impacts of global climate change on wetland distribution, biogeochemical cycles, structure and dynamics, and ecosystem functions and services.
For more information on her research, please visit http://www.montclair.edu/csam/wu-lab/