Parker is interested in the impact of recalcitrant allochthonous organic matter input on the nutrient budget of fluvial systems. Wood is relatively inert, and is considered an insignificant nutrient source in most streams. However, unique circumstances, including woody pest invasion, can introduce significant amounts of wood to streams, possibly altering stream nutrient flux. A nuanced view of wood breakdown rates is necessary to understand the effect of woody pest invasion on aquatic systems.
Future research aims to isolate the microbial breakdown rate of wood for different dissolved nutrients and treatments. Specifically, emerald ash borer wood will be analyzed compared to a control. Such research allows a more comprehensive view of the effects of emerald ash borer on the riverine landscape.