Dr. Carrel
 
Research Interests:
 
CURRENT RESEARCH
 

As a naturalist with training in chemical ecology and physiology, I tend to delve into a wide range of research topics and follow them into different directions.  Most of my work is aimed at learning more about the lives of arthropods uniquely adapted to Florida scrub.  I chose this topic in the mid-1980's when I came to appreciate that the scrub habitats at the Archbold Biological Station collectively represent one of the oldest, most restricted, and harshest ecosystems in North America, making them a globally important center of endemism.  In short, the insects, spiders, and millipedes of interest to me turned out to be species whose entire distributions are confined to patchy sand dunes that comprise the Lake Wales Ridge in south-central Florida.  Furthermore, because these uplands are being further fragmented and destroyed by rapid development of Highlands and Polk Counties, it is a matter of some urgency that we learn more about the conservation status of the endemic arthropods.

I also continue to collaborate with Dr. Jan Weaver, my wife, in her long-term study of arthropods in oak forests in the Missouri Ozarks (Click here to see her website). As shown in the photograph below, during summer we have a mix of high school, college, and graduate students processing samples of "bugs" extracted from leaf litter.  All this goes on daily under the direction of our lab technician, Mary Jackson [at microscope], who is an expert at insect and mite identification.

 

 
 
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