Welcome to the Physical Ecology Group at the University of Lincoln
Although organisms obey the same physical laws as inanimate objects the evolutionary implications of these laws are often neglected. Physical factors influence the fitness value of traits and play an important role in the course of evolution. These are the areas of investigation that interest us.
Blackwater rivers, like the Suwannee River in Florida, carry waters so laden with organic material that they’re dyed a deep, dark brown. For the Suwannee, most of this material comes from the rich peat deposits of the Okefenokee Swamp that lies upstream. As vegetation in the swamp decays, tannins from the plants dissolve into the water, giving it its distinctive color, which the river maintains along its full 400-kilometer journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The dark waters of the river act as a tracer, revealing how the fresh river water mixes with the ocean in the enhanced-color satellite image above. It’s amazing to see how far the river’s influence spreads before delicate wisps of color pierce the darkness. (Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey; via NASA Earth Observatory)