We are developing the fluctuating asymmetry as an ecological indicator of ecosystem health. Fluctuating asymmetry is a measure of random deviation of organismal traits from perfect bilateral symmetry and can be induced by environmental and/or genetic stress. These ecological indicators are rapid and inexpensive. In order to develop FA as an ecological indicator, we are quantifying FA of different plant species exposed to different pollutants.
I have been conducting a series of experiments to assess the impact of pollutants on growth and behavior of aquatic and wetland plants. I have been focusing on aquatic and emergent macrophytes and terrestrial plants from the Cuyahoga River, Lake Erie wetlands, as well as from local brown-fields. We are exposing these plants to different levels of pollutants to test species-specific tolerance and uptake to identify the target species for phytoremediation. We are also investigating the mechanisms of pollutant uptake and tolerance in plants.