Tanglewood encompasses distinct biodiverse terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Due to its history of agricultural and forest management, the Tanglewood Biological Field Station is a unique outdoor lab where researchers can design and evaluate the impact of land management practices. The varied ecosystems on the property provide an opportunity for long-term data collection from biologically diverse forest and stream ecosystems.

Dr. Jennifer Howeth

weather station
Weather station at Tanglewood
Associate Professor Jennifer Howeth has several longstanding research projects utilizing the mesocosm facility at the Tanglewood Biological Station. During 2019, one large-scale mesocosm experiment was performed by doctoral student Riley Lovejoy that evaluated the relative influence of metacommunity (landscape) connectivity and predation from functionally distinct native predators on invasion success of a non-native species. Freshwater pond plankton communities were assembled in mesocosms, with treatments reflective of predator-prey assemblages and species dispersal regimes found regionally in natural ponds.

Dr. Christina Staudhammer

Professor Christina Staudhammer has collected weather data at the station since 2018 and has an ongoing forest inventory project at the site. Weather station data is available for download at cstaudhammer.people.ua.edu/data.html.

The recent forest inventory showed a high degree of tree species diversity (3-11 species per 0.04 ha plot), with 45 species on the property. The most common tree was loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), followed by Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). On average, trees had a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 23.6 cm, with the largest individual recorded with a DBH of 90.4 cm.  In the future, students will use this first inventory to monitor changes in forest structure over time.

Dr. Nate Jones

Assistant Professor Nate Jones received a grant from the Alabama Water Institute to conduct watershed research at Tanglewood. Long-term hydrologic observations are critical for understanding how the world is changing and how humans can better prepare for those changes. This award will provide the funds to install a suite of hydrologic instrumentation to establish two experimental catchments at the Tanglewood Biological Station. Specific research objectives include: (i) developing a predictive understanding of stream drying, and (ii) quantifying the impact of stream drying on downstream waters. Work in the watersheds was initiated in summer 2020 and is currently supporting multiple graduate student projects.

Dr. Monica Kersch-Becker

Assistant Professor Monica Kersch-Becker has several longstanding research projects at Tanglewood, and over the last year has been investing how caterpillars modify their small-scale environment to facilitate other organisms, including other invertebrates and microorganisms. A manuscript produced from work at Tanglewood is under review in the journal Nature Climate Change. Work at Tanglewood in Dr. Kersch-Becker’s lab is supporting several graduate student and post-doctoral research projects.


mesocosm facility
Aquatic mesocosm experiment located at the Mesocosm Facility