Mangroves are unique ecosystems and are important links between marine and terrestrial systems. Mangroves have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon in their soil and aboveground growth, effectively keeping it out of the atmosphere. My research has looked at mangrove wetlands in both south Florida and Puerto Rico to understand how disturbance (hurricanes and hydrologic alterations) effect how effectively mangroves are able to store carbon.


  • Griffiths, L. N., & Mitsch, W. J. 2021. Estimating the Effects of a Hurricane on Carbon Storage in Mangrove Wetlands in Southwest Florida. Plants10(8), 1749. Read here
  • Griffiths, L.N.; Hernandez, E.; Cuevas, E.; Mitsch, W.J. Above‐ and Below‐Ground Carbon Storage of Hydrologically Altered Mangrove Wetlands in Puerto Rico after a Hurricane. Plants 2021, 10, 1965.

Nutrient retention in wetlands

Wetlands are able to reduce the amount of nutrients in the water column by storing these nutrients in biotic and abiotic pools within the ecosystem. Much of my research has focused on a created stormwater treatment wetland in Naples, Florida that was designed to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus load to downstream ecosystems including the Gulf of Mexico. By looking at the different pathways that retain nutrients (sedimentation, algal and vegetative uptake, etc.), I have been able to identify the processes that are most important in nutrient retention in created wetlands.


  • Griffiths, L.N., Haupt, T.N., Zhang, L, and Mitsch, W.J. 2021. Role of emergent and submerged vegetation and algal communities on nutrient and management in a subtropical urban stormwater treatment wetland. Wetlands Ecology and Management. Read here
  • Griffiths, L.N. and Mitsch, W.J. 2020. Nutrient retention via sedimentation in a created urban stormwater treatment wetland. Science of the Total Environment, 727. Read here
  • Griffiths, L.N.and Mitsch, W.J. 2017. Removal of nutrients from urban stormwater runoff by storm-pulsed and seasonally pulsed created wetlands in the subtropics. Ecological Engineering 108, 414-424. Read here

Red tide

As red tide (K. brevis) has become an issue almost annually in the Gulf of Mexico, it is more important than ever to understand the cause and what is leading to enhanced blooms. Red tide has a noxious effect on humans and marine life as it can cause respiratory issues. Our research has been looking at the nitrogen present in and around the red tide blooms to try to identify the source of the nutrient using isotopic analysis.

CNN story about this research
WINK News story about this research
WGCU story about this research

Algae bloom reduction

Our new project works with LG Sonic to deploy their MPC-buoys into 7 stormwater lakes in a housing development in Naples, Florida. These buoys monitor and predict possible algae blooms using water quality sensors and control or prevent the bloom by using ultrasonic waves to prevent algae from being able to flourish. I am working to calibrate and verify the buoys by collecting and analyzing water samples as well as attempt to determine what is happening within the nutrient budget of these lakes as a result of runoff and the buoys.