Research Interests and Expertise
Dr. Langston is an ecologist with over 20 years of research and applied experience. Her work focuses on investigating responses of ecosystems to climate change and local disturbances, and developing strategies for promoting ecosystem resilience. She is especially interested in ecosystem turnover, changes in species ranges and distributions, and landscape scale changes in ecosystem functions in response to climate change. Dr. Langston primarily works in coastal and desert systems. She uses a variety of tools, including modeling, field observation and experimentation, and spatial analysis, to address research questions.
Prior to joining DRI, Dr. Langston was a postdoc at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where she developed a salt marsh accretion model to predict landscape-level responses of marsh systems in Massachusetts and Georgia to scenarios of sea level rise. She also used field data and remote sensing to compare ecosystem functions in old and newly formed marsh, investigated vegetation turnover in developing ghost forests, and analyzed red cedar responses to press-pulse disturbances (sea level rise and coastal storms) along the mid-Atlantic.
As a PhD student, Dr. Langston studied freshwater forest retreat and poleward mangrove migration along the Gulf Coast of Florida. She also worked with a rural coastal community in Florida to develop sea level rise adaptation strategies and collaborated on research with USGS evaluating the freeze tolerances of mangroves along the southeastern US.
In her applied work, Dr. Langston has managed several grant-supported conservation projects benefitting desert systems threatened by changing land use, wildfire, and recreation activities in the Mojave Desert. She has also worked in environmental consulting in California, where she conducted wetland delineations and CRAM assessments, evaluated potential impacts to natural resources from proposed projects, and prepared technical reports and permit applications in compliance with NEPA/CEQA requirements.
Dr. Langston has a PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Florida, an MS in biology from San Francisco State University, and a BS in ecology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Messerschmidt, TC, Langston, AK, Kirwan, ML. 2021. Asymmetric root distributions reveal press-pulse responses in retreating coastal forests. Ecology 102: e03468. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3468.
Langston, AK, Coleman, DJ, Jung, NW, Shawler, JL, Smith, AJ, Williams, BL, Wittyngham, SS, Chambers, RM, Perry, JE, Kirwan, ML. 2021. The effect of marsh age on ecosystem function in a rapidly transgressing marsh. Ecosystems 1-13. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-021-00652-6.
Langston, AK, Alexander, CR, Alber, M, Kirwan, ML. 2021. Beyond 2100: elevation capital disguises salt marsh vulnerability to sea level rise in Georgia, USA, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 249: 107093. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2020.107093.
Langston, AK and Kaplan, DA. 2020. Modelling the effects of climate, predation, and dispersal on the poleward range expansion of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans). Ecological Modelling 434: 109245. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109245.
Langston, AK, Duran Vinent, O, Herbert, E, Kirwan, ML. 2020. Modeling long-term salt marsh response to sea level rise in the sediment-deficient Plum Island Estuary, MA. Limnology and Oceanography 65: 2142-2157. DOI: 10.1002/lno.11444.
Osland, MJ, Day, RH, Hall, CT, Feher, LC, Armitage, AR, Cebrian, J, Dunton, KH, Hughes, AR, Kaplan, DA, Langston, AK, Macy, A, Weaver, CA, Anderson, GH, Cummins, K, Feller, IC, Snyder, CM. 2020. Temperature thresholds for black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) freeze damage, mortality and recovery in North America: Refining tipping points for range expansion in a warming climate. Journal of Ecology 108: 654-665. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13285.
Langston, AK, Kaplan, DA, Putz, FE. 2017. A casualty of climate change? Loss of freshwater forest islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Global Change Biology 23: 5383-5397. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13805.
Langston, AK, Kaplan, DA, Angelini, CA. 2017. Predation restricts black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) colonization at its northern range limit along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Hydrobiologia 803: 317-331. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3197-0.
Keywordscoastal ecology, coastal forests, community ecology, data science, desert conservation, ecosystem response to climate change, mangrove forest, modeling, natural resource management, restoration ecology, salt marsh, wetland ecology