Meet Candy Feller and Dennis Whigham, the scientists you heard featured on the Podcast of Life Mangroves episode. We asked them a few questions about their work. Do you have a question you'd like answered? Submit your question here!
From left to right: Candy Feller and Dennis Whigham
Where do you work?
Candy: My office and laboratory are at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland. We are part of the Smithsonian Institution. I do my field work in mangrove forests around the world, including Florida, Belize, Panama, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.
Dennis: I am a Senior Botanist and have conducted plant-related research at the Smithsonian for almost 34 years.
What do you study?
Candy: I study mangrove forests and the animals that inhabit them. The focus of my research is to determine the influence of nutrient pollution and climate change on mangrove food webs.
Dennis: Our lab is currently working on research grants that support projects on orchid-fungal interactions, the ecology of invasive species, the effects of human activities on estuarine ecology in the Chesapeake Bay, the ecology of headwater streams in Alaska that support juvenile salmon, and the ecology of mangroves; most recently starting a new project in Saudi Arabia.
What are three titles you would give yourself?
Candy: scientist, ecologist, environmentalist
Dennis: ecologist, botanist, grandfather extraordinaire
What do you like to do when you are not working?
Candy: When I am not working, I am gardening or carving.
Dennis: I spend a lot of time in nature on foot and on bike. I am an avid exerciser which include jogging up and down an 11 story meteorological tower at SERC. I am an over-the hill sports junkie, love to read, love to travel, and look forward to time with my children and grandchildren.
What do you like most about science?
Candy: What I most like about my work is discovering new things and solving complex problems.
Dennis: The Smithsonian has been an outstanding forum to explore all of the trails that my career as a researcher have taken. The freedom to explore, travel and meet wonderful people all around the world has been a joy and blessing.