Dr. Michael Piehler



Michael Piehler, MSPH, Ph.D.

Interim Executive Director
Estuarine Ecology and Human Health Program Head
CSI Office:
850 NC 345
Wanchese, NC 27981



Morehead City Office:
3431 Arendell St.
Morehead City, NC 28557

CSI Phone: 252-475-5442
Phone: 252-726-6841
Fax: 252-726-2426
Email: piehler@unc.edu
Lab web page: http://www.unc.edu/~mpiehler/

Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 1997. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M.S.P.H. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 1994. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B.S. in Biology, 1990. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Collaborative Research: Microbial Regulation of Greenhouse Gas N2O Emission from Intertidal Oyster Reefs, National Science Foundation, 8/12-7/15

Collaborative Research: the influence of predators on community structure and resultant ecosystem function at a biogeographic scale, National Science Foundation, 6/10-5/14

Assessing the potential for estuarine nitrogen removal using ecosystem engineers, 4/10-2/14

Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program 2, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, 2/13-1/17

Monitoring, prioritization, and assessment of ocean outfalls of stormwater in Dare Co., NC, NC DENR, 5/06-12/14

Piehler’s research focuses on microorganisms and microbially mediated processes in coastal land-water interfaces (particularly wetlands) and near-shore waters. He has conducted work on a broad range of microbial systems including microphytobenthic communities, epiphytic microalgae, benthic bacterial communities, bacterioplankton, and phytoplankton. The land-water interface is an area of intensive biogeochemical cycling and trophic interactions involving microorganisms. It is also an area of extensive human activity, making the interactions of pollutants and native microbial communities in the land-water interface a significant issue in developed coastal environments.

Piehler was the founding head of CSI’s Estuarine Ecology and Human Health Program in 2004. In this role, he works to bring together scientists from an array of disciplines to help find solutions to the complex issues facing coastal North Carolina by providing unbiased information to government, non-government and private organizations.

He is an Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City and is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology at UNC Chapel Hill.

Authors in bold are students and post-docs advised by Piehler – publications from the last 5 years. Please email piehler(at)unc.edu for reprints. More information on publications is available here

Hughes, AR, AFP Moore and MF Piehler. Independent and interactive effects of two associated facilitators on their habitat-providing host plant, Spartina alterniflora. Oikos, in press.

Byers, JE, TL Rogers, JH Grabowski, AR Hughes, MF Piehler and DL Kimbro. Host and parasite recruitment correlated at a regional scale. Oecologia, in press.

Smyth, AR, NR. Geraldi, MF. Piehler. 2013. Oyster Mediated Benthic-Pelagic Coupling Modifies Nitrogen Pools and Processes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 493:23-30.

Gonzalez, DJ, AR Smyth, MF Piehler, KJ McGlathery. 2013. Mats of the non-native macroalga, Gracilaria vermiculophylla, alter denitrification rates and nutrient fluxes on intertidal mudflats. Limnology and Oceanography 58: 2101-2108.

Anderson, IC MJ Brush, MF Piehler, CA Currin, JW Stanhope, AR Smyth, JD Maxey and ML Whitehead. 2013. Impacts of climate related drivers on the benthic nutrient filter in a shallow photic estuary. Estuaries and Coasts.

Ensign, SH, MW Doyle and MF Piehler. 2013. The effect of tide on the hydrology and morphology of a freshwater river. Earth Surface Processes and LandformsVolume 38: 655–660.

Elsey-Quirk,T A. Smyth, M. Piehler, J. Mead, and D. Velinsky. 2013. The exchange of nitrogen through an urban tidal freshwater wetland in Philadelphia, PA USA. Journal of Environmental Quality 42: 584-595.

Ensign, S, K Siporin, M Piehler, M Doyle, and L Leonard. 2013. Hydrologic versus biogeochemical controls of denitrification in tidal freshwater wetlands. Estuaries and Coasts 36: 519-532.

Higgins, C.B., C.R. Tobias, M.F. Piehler, A.R. Smyth, R. Dame, K. Stephenson, B.B. Brown. 2013. Impact of aquacultured oyster biodeposition on sediment N2 production in Chesapeake Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 473:7-27.

Smyth, A.R., S. P. Thompson, K.N. Siporin, W. S. Gardner, M.J. McCarthy, M. F. Piehler. 2013. Assessing nitrogen dynamics throughout the estuarine landscape. Estuaries and Coasts 36:44-55.

Ensign, SH, MW Doyle and MF Piehler. 2012. Tidal geomorphology affects phytoplankton at the transition from forested streams to tidal rivers. Freshwater Biology 57: 2141-2155.

Grabowski, J.H., R.D. Brumbaugh, R. Conrad, A.G. Keeler, J. Opaluch, C.H. Peterson, M.F. Piehler, S.P. Powers, A.R. Smyth. 2012. Economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs. Bioscience 62: 900-909.

Rodriguez, A.B., M.N. Waters, M.F. Piehler. 2012. Burning peat and reworking loess contribute to the formation and evolution of a large Carolina-bay basin. Quaternary Research 77(1): 171–181.

Waters, M.N., M. F. Piehler, J.M. Smoak, and T. S. Bianchi. 2012. Algal community responses to shallow lake dystrophication. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69 (8), 1433-1443.

Moisander, PH, LA Cheshire, J Braddy, ES Calandrino, M Hoffman, MF Piehler HW Paerl. 2012. Facultative diazotrophy increases Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii competitiveness under fluctuating nitrogen availability. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 79 (3): 800–811.

Christian, R.R., V.F. Camacho-Ibar, M.F. Piehler and A.R. Smyth. 2012. Understanding the nitrogen cycle through network models in coastal ecosystems. Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science.

Piehler, M.F. and A.R. Smyth. 2011. Habitat-specific distinctions in estuarine denitrification affect both ecosystem function and services. Ecosphere 2(1):art12.

Wong, M. C., C.H. Peterson, M.F. Piehler. 2011. Evaluating estuarine habitats using secondary production as a proxy for food web support. Marine Ecology Progress Series 440: 11-25.

Converse, R.R., M. F. Piehler and R.T. Noble. 2011. Contrasts in concentrations and loads of conventional and alternative indicators of fecal contamination in coastal stormwater. Water Research, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2011.07.029.

O’Connor, M.I., C.R. Violin, A. Anton, L.M. Ladwig and M.F. Piehler. 2011. Salt marsh stabilization affects primary producers at the marsh edge. Wetlands Ecology and Management 19: 131-140.

Piehler, M.F., C.A. Currin, N.S. Hall. 2010. Estuarine intertidal sandflat benthic microalgal responses to in situ and mesocosm nitrogen additions. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 390:99-105.

Stumpf, C.H., R.T. Noble, M.F. Piehler and S.P. Thompson. 2010. Loading of fecal indicator bacteria in North Carolina tidal creek headwaters: hydrographic patterns and terrestrial runoff relationships. Water Research 44: 4704-4715.

Waters, M.N., M.F. Piehler, J. Smoak, and C. Martens. 2010. The development and persistence of alternative ecosystem states in a large, shallow lake. Freshwater Biology 55:1249-1261.

McMillan, S.K., M.F. Piehler, S.P. Thompson and H.W. Paerl. 2010. Denitrification of nitrogen released from senescing algal biomass in coastal agricultural headwater streams. Journal of Environmental Quality 39:274-281.

O’Connor, M.I., M.F. Piehler, D.M. Leech, A. Anton, and J.F. Bruno. 2009. Warming and resource availability shift food web structure and metabolism. PLoS Biology 7(8):e1000178.

Piehler, M.F., J. Dyble, P.H. Moisander, A.D. Chapman, J. Hendrickson and H.W. Paerl. 2009. Interactions between nitrogen dynamics and the phytoplankton community in Lake George, Florida, USA. Lake and Reservoir Management, 25:1-14.

Waters, M.N., M. F. Piehler, A.B. Rodriguez, J.M. Smoak and T.S. Bianchi. 2009. Shallow lake trophic status linked to late-Holocene climate and human impacts. Paleolimnology 42:51-64.