Research Staff Biography
Marie Windstein was born in Germany and grew up in Alsace, France. Fascinated by nature’s wonders since she first explored her grand-parents’ garden, there is nothing she enjoys more than an unexpected wildlife encounter or a breathtaking landscape, whether it is while hiking, snowboarding, scuba diving, or working. Four years ago she traveled to the United States to earn a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Florida followed by a Masters of Environmental Management at Duke University. During this time, she developed career interests in tropical ecosystem conservation, with a particular focus on coastal and marine environments.
Derek Fedak grew up in St. Louis Missouri as an avid outdoorsman and wildlife enthusiast. He received his Masters in Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment in May 2011. He has focused on wildlife and ecosystem sciences, principally researching the African lion and mangroves. In the summer of 2010, Derek traveled to Costa Rica with Marie to study the unique and beautiful Flamingo mangroves, where he also proposed to his now-fiance, Kristen. A week after returning to the U.S., Derek traveled to southern Africa to survey lions in remote areas of Tete Province, Mozambique.
Nina Rodriguez is originally from Costa Rica and lives now in Miami with Pepe and Nacho, her two dogs. She graduated from Duke in May 2011 with a BA in Environmental Science and Policy and a Certificate in Film/Video/Digital. She is the co-founder of the Duke Campus Farm, and loves scuba diving during her spare time.
Adam Spitzig obtained his Master’s of Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in May 2011. He earned a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School in 2009, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida in 2005. Adam has concentrated his graduate studies in forest and wetland ecology, geospatial analysis, wildlife/habitat conservation, and United States natural resources law. He is passionate about the detailed study of ecosystems through field research and geospatial analysis, the application of ecology to conservation and land management, and the permacultural design and operation of small-scale food systems.
Curtis J. Richardson is Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Richardson earned his degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee. His research interests are in the area of applied ecology and are centered on wetlands ecology and restoration. The objectives of his research are to utilize ecological principles to develop new approaches to environmental problem solving. The goal of his research is to provide predictive models and approaches to aid in the management of ecosystems. His research has focused on long-term ecosystem responses to large-scale perturbations such as nutrient additions, hydrologic alterations and trace metal effects in such areas as the Everglades and the marshes of Iraq. More recently he and his graduate students have focused on the development of indicators of ecological thresholds. His specific area of research is biogeochemistry with a focus interest in phosphorus nutrient dynamics in ecosystems. Major research efforts have focused on wetlands as nutrient sinks and transformers. Currently funded NSF research is testing the concept of differential nutrient limitation (DNL) as a mechanism to overcome N or P limitations across trophic levels. Other funded research activities in his lab include: 1) The effects of climate change on invasive species in wetlands, 2) restoration of wetland plant communities and the effects of diversity on regional water quality and nutrient biogeochemical cycles, 3) development of ecosystem metrics as indices of wetland restoration success, 4) the development of ecological thresholds along environmental gradients, 5) effects and cycling of nanomaterials in wetland ecosystems, and 6) the development of an outdoor wetland research and teaching laboratory on Duke Campus. He oversees the main analytical lab in NSOE, which is open to students and faculty. Dr. Richardson has been listed in Who’s™ Who in Science annually since 1989 and was elected President of the Society of Wetland Scientists in 1987-88. He has served on many editorial review committees for peer-reviewed scientific journals, and he is a past Chair of the Nicholas School Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy. Dr. Richardson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Soil Science Society of America.
Website Author: Marie Windstein
Last Update: May 2011