The Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute (WBI) was established to conduct investigations of wetland soils and sediment in fresh, brackish, and salt marsh environments. Soil-plant relations, their responses to stresses, and the production of greenhouse gases from natural and agricultural wetlands are major research areas. The name of the institute was changed from Laboratory for Wetland Soils and Sediments in 1991.
The main strength of WBI's research program is its emphasis on wetland biogeochemical processes combined with a multi disciplinary approach to studying wetlands. WBI's research in wetlands includes investigations of redox chemistry of wetlands, major biogeochemical cycles (C, N, S, P, O), sedimentation processes, environmental chemistry of toxic metals and organics, soil morphology and water quality functions, greenhouse gas production and emission, biotic and abiotic controls on wetland plant growth and distribution, wetland plant stress physiology and adaptations, effects of global change factors on wetland vegetation, and disturbance ecology. In addition to this strong, basic research program, the Institute also conducts projects with more applied objectives such as oil bioremediation, wetland creation and restoration, improvement of yields in agricultural wetlands, treatment of industrial and municipal wastes, and functional assessment and delineation of freshwater wetlands.