Indiana University Bloomington

Abhijit Basu

Christopher B. Craft


Public and Environmental Affairs

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geological Sciences

Office:   MSBII 408
Phone:   812-855-5971

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Soil Science, North Carolina State University, 1987

Professional Societies

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Estuarine Research Federation
  • INTECOL International Association for Ecology
  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • Soil Science Society of America


University Committee Service

  • SPEA Oversees Education Committee (SPEA, Indiana University, Jan. 1 2009-present)
  • Personnel Committee. (SPEA, Indiana University, Fall 2008-present)
  • Budgetary Affairs Committee. (SPEA, Indiana University, Fall 2007-present)
  • Policy Committee. (SPEA, Indiana University, Fall 2007-present)
  • General Education Committee. (Indiana University, Fall 2007-present)
  • Jordan River Renewal Working Group. (IU Council for Environmental Stewardship , Jan. 2001-present)
  • Ph.D Admissions Committee (SPEA, Indiana University, Jan. 2005-present)
  • Fairness Committee (SPEA, Indiana University, Jan. 2002-present)
  • Strategic Directions Committee (SPEA, Indiana University, Jan. 2000-present)
  • Admissions Committee (SPEA, Indiana University, Fall 1999-present)

Public Service (State and Local)

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Brunswick, Georgia. Damage assessment, mitigation, creation of restoration of tidal marshes in Glynn County and elsewhere in coastal Georgia (June 2007-present)
  • The Nature Conservancy. Georgia. Modeling effects of climate change/sea level rise on TNC land holdings in coastal Georgia (April 2007-present)
  • Member, Georgia Coastal Resources Council. July 1 2006-present
  • Member, Wetland Science Advisory Group. Indiana Department of Environmental Management (August 1 2004-present)
  • Expert Assistance Pool, South Florida Water Management District. West Palm Beach, Florida. June 15 2001-present.
  • Advisor on wetlands issues: Monroe County Solid Waste Management District (Bloomington Indiana, Mar. 1 2001-present)

Public Service (National)

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Review of Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration. Nov. 1 2007-present.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA Restoration Center, Natural resource damage assessment and restoration. Creation and restoration of tidal marsh habitat at the USEPA Superfund site, Brunswick, Georgia. July 2007-present.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, D.C. Modeling effects of climate change/sea level rise on USFWS coastal reserves in Georgia and South Carolina (April 2007-present)
  • U.S. Department of Justice. United States v. Rapanos. January 2007-present.
  • Wetlands Working Group: Developing Nutrient Criteria for Wetland Systems (USEPA, Washington DC, Fall 1999-present)
  • EPA Region 5 Nutrient Criteria Working Group. USEPA. Chicago, Illinois. Jan. 1 2000-present
  • Biological Assessment of Wetlands Working Group. USEPA, Washington DC. Jan. 1 2000-present.

Research Interests

Wetland Restoration, Soil Science, Nutrient Cycling
Our research program uses constructed salt marshes as a model to (1) evaluate ecosystem development of created and restored wetlands and (2) identify and test indicators to assess the development of community structure and ecosystem processes following restoration. Part of this work, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, compares ecosystem development along a chronosequence of restored coastal marshes that range in age from one to thirty years old.

Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) in Georgia
Set at Sapelo Island and Altamaha River in Georgia, this study seeks to understand how freshwater pulsing and anthropogenic surface and groundwater withdrawals affect estuaries and associated wetlands and will involve the monitoring of physical and biological variables in the river system and in the island's marsh complex. The interaction between tidal flooding and freshwater discharge as it mediates soil organic matter accumulation by affecting nutrient inputs, primary production, and decomposition rates will be our focus of investigation.

Effects of Shading from Bridges on Estuarine Wetlands
Bridges are obviously a necessary and important part of providing good transportation routes along the coastal mainland and to the barrier islands. In many locations, bridges span tidal marshes as well as open water. Bridging marshes clearly has less impact on valuable estuarine wetlands than building causeways with fill material that reduces wetland acreage and disrupts tidal flow. However, regulatory agencies contend that shading from bridges results in adverse impacts on marshes even though the extent and severity of effects caused by bridge shading has not been quantified. Mitigation is often required to compensate for the shading effect, which adds to the cost of bridge construction. There is a need to document the effects of bridge shading on structure and function of marshes, and to determine how these effects are altered by factors such as height, width or orientation of the bridge. If in some cases, bridge shading effects are less than perceived, then the amount of mitigation required can be reduced thereby resulting in cost savings. The overall objective of the research project is to determine the effects of shading from bridges, which span salt or brackish-water marshes, on ecosystem structure and function.

Sediment and Nutrient Retention in Wetlands
Sediment deposition and nutrient (N, P, organic C) accumulation were compared in floodplain and depressional freshwater wetlands of southwestern Georgia to evaluate the role of riverine (2600 km2 catchment) versus depressional (<10 km2 catchment) wetlands as sinks for sediment and nutrients (Craft and Casey 1999). Floodplain and depressional wetland soils sequestered similar amounts of sediment (120-1300 g/m2/yr), organic C (18-107g/m2/yr) and N (1.4-8.0 g/m2/yr) whereas P accumulation was 1.5 to three times greater in floodplain (0.12-0.75 g/m2/yr) than depressional wetlands (0.08-0.25 g/m2/yr). Rates of sediment and nutrient accumulation were much higher during the past 100 years as compared to the past 30 years, reflecting human activities such as land clearing, grazing and logging of uplands and wetlands in southwestern Georgia during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Our findings suggest that anthropogenic land use is the primary factor that determines a wetland's ability to trap sediment and sequester nutrients. However, P retention also is affected by catchment size and connectivity to sources of fine textured (clay) sediments as evidenced by higher P accumulation in floodplain wetlands.

Representative Publications

Brittain, R.A., C.B. Craft and V. Meretsky. Breeding densities and habitat relationships of avian species in coastal Georgia, USA, using distance sampling and indicator species analysis. Journal of Field Ornithology. In review.

Loomis, M.J. and C.B. Craft. Carbon sequestration and nutrient (N, P) accumulation in river-dominated tidal marshes, Georgia, USA. Soil Science Society of America Journal. In review.

Fennessy, S. and C. Craft. Effects of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Wetland Ecosystem Services in the Interior Glaciated Plains. Ecological Applications. In review.

Saunders, Colin, Michael J. Blum, Jason S. Mclachlan, Christopher Craft, and Jeffrey D. Herrick. Evolutionary responses to global environmental change: inferences from a coastal marsh sedge population resurrected from a century long seed bank. American Naturalist. In review.

Kazimierz Wieski, Hongyu Guo, C. Craft and Steven C. Pennings. Ecosystem functions of tidal fresh, brackish and salt marshes on the Georgia coast. Estuaries and Coasts. In press.

Tackett, N.W. and C.B. Craft. Ecosystem development on a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence. Journal of Coastal Research. In press.

Craft, C., J. Clough, J. Ehman, S. Joye, D. Park, S. Pennings, H. Guo and M. Machmuller. 2009. Forecasting the effects of accelerated sea level rise on tidal marsh ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7:73-78.

Krull, K. and C.B. Craft. 2009. Ecosystem development of a sandbar emergent tidal marsh, Altamaha River estuary, Georgia USA. Wetlands 29:314-322.

Frost, J.W., T. Schleicher, and C. Craft. 2009. Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus additions on primary production and invertebrate densities in a Georgia (USA) tidal freshwater marsh. Wetlands 29:196-203.

Webb, K., C. Craft and E. Elswick. 2008. The evaluation of freshwater western pearl mussel, Margaritiferea falcata (Gould 1985), as a bioindicator through the analysis of metal partitioning and bioaccumulation. Northwest Science 82:163-173. (PDF)

Aldous, A.R., C.B. Craft, C.J. Stevens, M.J. Barry, and L.B. Bach. 2007. Soil phosphorus release from a restoration wetland, Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Wetlands 27:1025-1035.

Craft, C., K, Krull and S. Graham. 2007. Ecological indicators of nutrient condition, freshwater wetlands, Midwestern United States (U.S.). Ecological Indicators 7:733-750.

Cornell, J.A., C. Craft and J.P. Megonigal. 2007. Ecosystem gas exchange across a created salt marsh chronosequence. Wetlands 27:240-250.

Craft, C.B. 2007. Freshwater input structures soil properties, vertical accretion and nutrient accumulation of Georgia and United States (U.S.) tidal marshes. Limnology and Oceanography 52:1220-1230.

Book Chapters: (total of 13)

Broome, S.W., and C.B. Craft. Tidal marsh creation. In, G.M.E. Perillo, E. Wolanski, D. Cahoon, and M.M. Brinson (ed.), Coastal Wetlands. Elsevier. In review.

Neubauer, S.C. and C.B. Craft. 2009. Global change and tidal freshwater wetlands: Scenarios and impacts. PP. 253-310. In, A. Barendregt, D.F. Whigham and A.H. Baldwin (ed.), Tidal freshwater Wetlands. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Published Abstracts: (total 100+)

Craft, C. Effects of climate change on water quality improvement functions of tidal forests and marshes. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 20th biennial conference. November 1-5 2009. Portland, Oregon.

Jun, Mi hee and C. Craft. 2009. Effects of climate change on N and P sorption processes in tidal freshwater floodplain forests. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 20th biennial conference. November 1-5 2009. Portland, Oregon.

Craft, C. 2009. Water quality improvement functions of tidal forests and marshes. 3rd Wetland Pollutant Dynamics and Control (WETPOL) conference. September 20-24, 2009. Barcelona, Spain.

Craft, C. and S. Sutton. 2009. Effects of climate change on water quality improvement functions of tidal freshwater floodplain forests (USA). Joint meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists, Wisconsin Wetlands Association and Wetland Biogeochemistry Symposium. June 22-26 2009. Madison, Wisconsin.

Craft, C. 2009. Effects of sea level rise and climate variability on ecosystem services of tidal marshes. USEPA-sponsored workshop on The Plight of Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: Impacts on Services, Interactions and Responses Workshop. May 27-28 2009. Seattle Washington.

Craft, C. and S. Sutton. 2009. Water quality improvement functions of tidal freshwater floodplain forests (USA). 7th International Workshop on Nutrient Cycling and Retention in Natural and Constructed Wetlands. April 22-25 2009. Trebon, Czech Republic.