Environmental stewardship is woven into the very fabric of SREL’s mission and encompasses a wide diversity of research activities undertaken by SREL scientists on the Savannah River Site within the United States, and across the globe. On the SRS, SREL researchers investigate the influence of the activities of the U.S. Department of Energy and their contractors on the quality and health of natural ecosystems. Such investigations have been at the core of SREL’s research focus since the inception of the laboratory and incorporate research investigating how industrial and nuclear activities influence ecosystem services; wetland function; biological diversity; plant, wildlife and insect health; as well as the role that the SRS plays in regional and global ecological and biogeochemical processes.
SREL researchers are also routinely called upon to lend their scientific expertise in environmental stewardship to assist private, state, and federal organizations in solving problems of national and international significance. Examples include the design and implementation of reintroduction programs for threatened and endangered species, the design and implementation of conservation management plans for species in decline, studies of the ecology and impacts of invasive species on island ecosystems, the design and optimization of genetic markers for use in species conservation and management programs, and studies of the impacts of changing land use practices upon the sustainability of ecosystem processes and biological communities. From its very beginning as a field project of Dr. Eugene Odum and his graduate students, the commitment to environmental stewardship and the preservation of sustainable ecosystems was the underlying foundation upon which SREL was built and continues today.