Dr. Piehler studies microorganisms and microbially mediated processes in coastal land-water interfaces (particularly wetlands) and near-shore waters. His research spans a broad range of microbial systems including microphytobenthic communities, epiphytic microalgae, benthic bacterial communities, bacterioplankton, and phytoplankton. The land-water interface is an area of intensive biogeochemical cycling and trophic interactions involving microorganisms. It is also an area of extensive human activity, making the interactions of pollutants and native microbial communities in the land-water interface a significant issue in developed coastal environments.
Current research projects include
- Land use impacts on coastal stream carbon and nutrient loading
- Effects of oyster reefs on nutrient dynamics
- Denitrification in tidal marshes (projects in NC and NJ)
- Ecological impacts of ocean hydrokinetic energy extraction