Executive Director and Chief Scientist/Associate Director of Science/Associate Professor/REU Program Director
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Restore Food Web

Education · Research Interests · Current Projects · Teaching · Research Group · Selected Publications


  • Ph.D., 2004, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Cornell University
  • M.A., 1996, Marine Biology
    Boston University Marine Program
  • B.S., 1995, Biology and Philosophy
    College of William and Mary


The Roberts Lab is interested in understanding how ecosystems transform and retain carbon, nutrients, and energy. We are particularly interested in how human activities (e.g. land use changes, nutrient enrichment, climate change, and oil spills) alter the mechanisms that regulate trophic dynamics, biogeochemical cycling, and materials transport along the continuum from headwater streams and lakes to large rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and open-ocean ecosystems. We are also interested in how restoration efforts might ameliorate some of these deleterious impacts.


Current research in the Roberts Lab is broadly focused in three areas: 1) ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry (particularly focused on terrestrial-aquatic and community-ecosystem linkages), 2) human-induced environmental impacts on wetland and aquatic ecosystems, and 3) restoration ecology. Our research team is currently involved in projects in multiple ecosystem types including headwater streams, rivers, baldcypress swamps, salt marshes, estuaries, and coastal oceans.  The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of our research lends itself to providing numerous research opportunities to students.

Specifically, ongoing projects include:

  • Biogeochemical cycling in estuaries and continental shelf ecosystems
  • Coastal hypoxia and ocean acidification in the northern Gulf of Mexico
  • Pelagic and benthic primary and secondary production in the northern Gulf of Mexico
  • Effects of the Macondo Oil Spill on coastal ecosystems
  • Wetland biogeochemistry, plant ecology, and microbial ecology
  • Food webs and carbon flow in marsh ecosystems
  • Vegetation and salinity regime shift influences on wetland biogeochemistry
  • Salinity alterations and marsh creation project impacts on wetland food webs
  • Influence of living shoreline restoration projects on plant and biogeochemical dynamics
  • Stream ecosystem metabolism and biogeochemistry



  • Ryann Rossi, Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate
    • Ph.D., 2018, Ecology and Evolution
      North Carolina State University
    • B.S., 2012, Marine Biology
      University of Rhode Island
  • Stephanie Plaisance, Research Technician
    • B.S., 2019, Environmental Science
      Louisiana Tech University
  • Caitlin Bauer, Research Assistant
    • M.S., 2018, Biology
      Villanova University
    • B.S., 2016, Biology
      Bryn Mawr College
  • Jordan Logarbo, M.S. Student, Renewable Natural Resources (Louisiana State University)
    • B.S., 2017, Marine Biology
      Nicholls State University
  • Sarah Catherine LeBlanc, M.S. Student, Renewable Natural Resources (Louisiana State University)
    • B.S., 2019, Natural Resource Ecology and Management
      Louisiana State University
  • Ronald Scheuermann, M.S. Student, Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (Louisiana State University)
    • B.S., 2015, Biology
      Our Lady of Holy Cross College


PDFs are available for all of the published articles listed below. Links at the end of each article will take you directly to the article on the journal’s website. If the article is a free-access publication or if you or your library has an on-line subscription to the journal, you will be able to download and/or print the article directly from the link. If you do not have access to the PDF and would like a reprint of the article, please send me an email.

(underline indicates student author, italics indicates post-doc author)

Recent Publications

  • Bernhard AE, Chelsky A, Giblin AE, Roberts BJ. 2019. Influence of local and regional drivers on spatial and temporal variation of ammonia oxidizing communities in Gulf of Mexico salt marshes. Environmental Microbiology Reports. In press.
  • Jiang Z-P, Cai W-J, Lehrter J, Chen B, Ouyang Z, Le C, Roberts BJ, Hussain N, Scaboo MK, Zhang J, Xu Y. 2019. Spring net community production and its coupling with the CO2 dynamics in the surface water of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Biogeosciences 16: 3507–3525. DOI: [link]
  • Jiang Z-P, Cai W-J, Chen B, Wang K, Han C, Roberts BJ, Hussain N, Li Q. 2019. Physical and biogeochemical controls on pH dynamics in the northern Gulf of Mexico during summer hypoxia. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans In press. DOI: 10.1029/2019JC015140 [link]
  • Jensen OP, Martin CW, Oken KL, Fodrie FJ, López-Duarte PC, Able KW, Roberts BJ. 2019. Simultaneous estimation of dispersal and survival of the gulf killifish Fundulus grandis from a batch tagging experiment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 624: 183-194. DOI: [link]
  • Rietl AJ, Sorrentino MG, Roberts BJ. 2018. Spatial distribution and morphological responses to predation in the salt marsh periwinkle. Ecosphere (6):e02316. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2316 [link]
  • McClain CR, Conover J, Conover J, Roberts BJ, Schutte V. 2018. Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin 27: 11-13. DOI: 10.1002/lob.10220. [link]
  • Bernhardt ES, Heffernan JB, Grimm NB, Stanley EH, Harvey JW, Arroita M, Appling AP, Cohen MJ, McDowell WH, Hall Jr RO, Read JS, Roberts BJ, Stets EG, Yackulic CB. 2017. The Metabolic Regimes of Flowing Waters. Limnology and Oceanography. 63(S1):S99-S118. DOI: 10.1002/lno.10726.
  • Hill TD, Roberts BJ. 2017. Effects of seasonality and environmental gradients on Spartina alterniflora allometry and primary production. Ecology and Evolution. 7(22): 9676–9688. DOI:10.1002/ece3.3494.
  • Walker B, Druffel ERM, Kolasinski J, Roberts BJ, Xu X, Rosenheim BE. 2017. Stable and radiocarbon isotopic composition of dissolved organic matter in the Gulf of Mexico. Geophysical Research Letters. In press. DOI: 10.1002/2017GL074155 [link]
  • Vastano AR, Able KW, Jensen OP, López-Duarte PC, Martin CW, Roberts BJ. 2017. Age Validation and Seasonal Growth Patterns of a Subtropical Marsh Fish: The Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis. Environmental Biology of Fishes.  In press. DOI: 10.1007/s10641-017-0645-7 [link]
  • McCann MJ, Able KW, Christian RR, Fodrie FJ, Jensen OP, Johnson JJ, Lopez-Duarte PC, Martin CW, Olin JA, Polito MJ, Roberts BJ, Ziegler SL. 2017. Key taxa in food web responses to stressors: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1474  [link]
  • Mason OU, Canter E, Gillies LE, Paisie T and Roberts BJ. 2016. Mississippi River plume enriches microbial diversity in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:1048. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01048. [link]
  • Bernhard AE, Scheffer R, Giblin AE, Marton JM, Roberts BJ. 2016. Population Dynamics and Community Composition of Ammonia Oxidizers in Salt Marshes after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:854. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00854. [link]
  • Weber SC, Peterson L, Battles JJ, Roberts BJ, Peterson RN, Hollander DJ, Chanton JP, Joye SB, Montoya JP. 2016. Hercules 265 Rapid Response: Immediate ecosystem impacts of a natural gas blowout incident. Deep Sea Research Part II 129:66–76. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.11.010. [link]

Most Cited Papers

  • Roberts BJ, Mulholland PJ, Hill WR. 2007. Multiple scales of temporal variability in ecosystem metabolism rates: results from two years of continuous monitoring in a forested headwater stream. Ecosystems 10(4): 588-606. doi: 10.1007/s10021-007-9059-2 [link]
  • Roberts BJ, Mulholland PJ. 2007. In-stream biotic control on nutrient biogeochemistry in a forested headwater stream, West Fork of Walker Branch. JGR-Biogeosciences 112, G04002, doi:10.1029/2007JG000422 [link]
  • Roberts BJ, Mulholland PJ, Houser JN. 2007. Effects of upland disturbance and in-stream restorations on hydrodynamics and ammonium uptake in headwater streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 26(1):38-53. [link]
  • Hill WR, Fanta SE, Roberts BJ. 2009. Quantifying phosphorus and light effects in stream algae. Limnology and Oceanography 54(1):368-380.[link]
  • Rosenheim BE, Roe KE, Roberts B.J, Kolker AS, Allison MA, Johannesson KH 2013. River discharge influences on particulate organic carbon age structure in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River System. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 27:1-13. doi: 10.1029/2012GB004339.[link]