Project Reporting ANNUAL REPORT FOR AWARD # 0080381

Bruce P Hayden ; University of Virginia
LTER IV: Long-Term Ecological Research on Disturbance, Succession, and Ecosystem State Change at the Virginia Coast Reserve

Participant Individuals:
CoPrincipal Investigator(s) : John H Porter; Karen J McGlathery
Senior personnel(s) : Joseph C Zieman; Linda K Blum; Herman H Shugart; Iris Anderson; Nancy Moncrief; Aaron L Mills; Mark Brinson; Robert Christian; R M Erwin; Frank Day; James N Galloway; Stephen Macko; Donald Young; George Oertel; Patricia Wiberg; David E Smith; John Albertson
Graduate student(s) : Anna C Tyler; David L Richardson; Amanda Knoff; Jennifer Wu
Technician, programmer(s) : Charles R Carlson; James R Spitler; Phillip Smith
Graduate student(s) : Mindi May; Sandra Morrison; Sarah Lawson; Jessica White; Julie Zinnert; Rachel A Rounds; Frank Parker; Bo Dame; Mark Keusenkothen
Technician, programmer(s) : Kathleen M Overman; Jason K Restein
Graduate student(s) : Jordan Barr; Jennifer L Rosinski; Kristina M Russell; Meetan Chauhan; Devon Herod; Steven Turaski; Scott Dusterhoff
Senior personnel(s) : Jose Fuentes
Technician, programmer(s) : Brannon Patrick
Graduate student(s) : Tami Lunsford
Research Experience for Undergraduates(s) : Adriana Veloza; Samuel Diaz
Graduate student(s) : Allison Holinka
Undergraduate student(s) : Elizabeth Skane; Jessica Burton
Pre-college teacher(s) : Thomas Bonniwell; Joseph Mysco
Graduate student(s) : Michael Lowit; Cassondra Thomas; Patricia Willis; James Dame; Brett McMillan; Diane Barnes; Mads Thomsen; Joseph Battistelli; Rima Franklin; Holly Galavotti; Jeffrey Vandever; Nicola McGoff; Rachel Michaels; Thomas Mozdzer
Technician, programmer(s) : Rene Reynolds
High school student(s) : Alison Caison; Michele White; Amy Taylor
Research Experience for Undergraduates(s) : Jaime Robinson; Katherine Quigley; Laurel Woodworth
Undergraduate student(s) : Claudia Jiron-Murphy

Partner Organizations:
NASA, Kennedy Space Flight Center: Personnel Exchanges

Collaborative comparative studies between the Virginia Coast and the
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

USFWS- US Fish and Wildlife Service: Personnel Exchanges
Collaborative, comparative project between the Virginia Coast and the
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida

USGS Biological Resources Division: Collaborative Research; Personnel Exchanges
USGS scientist R. Michael Erwin holds a joint faculty appointment at
the University of Virginia and collaborates extensively on faunal
studies on the Virginia Coast.

PI's Blum and Mills have worked on a collaborative, comparative
project between the Virginia Coast and the Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge in Florida that includes USGS as a partner.

Florida St John's Water Management Dist.: Collaborative Research
PI's Blum and Mills have worked on a collaborative, comparative
project between the Virginia Coast and the Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge in Florida that includes the St. John's Water
Management District as a Partner.

University of Buenos Aires: Collaborative Research
PI Mark Brinson has been working with Dr. Patricia Kandus, University
of Buenos Aires, who visited the VCR site. She is part of a wetland
ecology group in UBA biology department working on remote sensing of
the Parana River Delta in Argentina.  The are involved in developing a
management plant for  a MAB site in the delta, and are interested in

Environmental Protection Agency: Collaborative Research
The Atlantic Slope Consortium, a group funded by an EPA STAR grant,
will be working in the connection between watersheds and coastal
estuaries. Primary contacts are through Mark Brinson at East Carolina
University (ECU is a member of the consortium and will be conducting
evaluations of watershed-estuarine coupling and condtions.) The
consortium is coordinated by Penn State (Rob Brooks, PI) and includes
other institutions such as Virginia Institute of Marine Science,
Smithsonian Environemtal Research Center, and the Environmental Law

USDA: Financial Support
PI Iris Anderson is working under a USDA -National Research
Initiative, Competitive Grants Program with a grant to study physical
vs. biological process rates in VCR coastal lagoons

Czechoslovak Academy Science: Collaborative Research; Personnel Exchanges
PI Iris Anderson has been working with the Hydrobiological Institute -
Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic on a collaborative 
study in the Shumava International LTER site.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility: In-kind Support; Collaborative Research
The VCR/LTER has been designated as a MODIS Validation Site, so NASA
has been making available MODIS and other remote sensing data for the
site. An Aeronet Sun Photometer has been hosted at the VCR/LTER. It
uses changes in solar radiation to quantify atmospheric aerosols.

Participation as a EOS Land Validation core site has provided the
VCR/LTER with numerous satellite images (ETM+, IKONOS).

Department of Navy Naval Research Laboratory: Collaborative Research; Personnel Exchanges
PI John Porter has been collaborating with NRL researchers Charles
Bachman and Tim Donoto on remote sensing of land cover on the Virginia
barrier islands.

Nature Conservancy: Facilities; Collaborative Research
Many of our research sites are owned by the Virginia Coast Reserve of
The Nature Conservancy.  We have also collaborated with them on a
variety of projects ranging from landscape ecology of colonial
waterbirds, to predator populations, to restoration of dredge spoil

US Army Corps of Engineers: Collaborative Research
Army Corps of Engineers - They have expertise in sensing leaf optical
properties which allows us to identify the presence and
degree of stress in plants and, hopefully, the cause of the stress.

Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality: Financial Support
They continue to provide support for vegetation monitoring on the
Swash Bay dredge spoils. The longterm goal of the project is to
eradicate or control Phragmites australis at the sites and return the
landscape to native flora and fauna.

Northampton Co. VA Public Schools: Facilities; Collaborative Research
Through the Schoolyard Long-term Ecological Research supplement we
have been interacting intensively with the Northampton County VA
public schools. Students have been used to collect water quality and
biological data at a number of sites.

Global Terrestrial Observing System: In-kind Support
The VCR/LTER is one of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites
participating in GTOS.

City of Greenville, NC: Personnel Exchanges
VCR/LTER PI Robert Christian serves as chair of the Environmental
Advisory Commission and is a member of the Comprehensive Planning

Global Ocean Observing System: Personnel Exchanges
PI Robert Christian works with both GOOS and GTOS on remotely-sensed
monitoring of ocean and terrestrial systems, including the Virginia

Italian International LTER: Collaborative Research; Personnel Exchanges
PI Robert Christian collaborates with a large number of researchers at
coastal sites of the Italian Long-Term Ecological Research Network.

American Type Culture Collection: Collaborative Research
PI Linda Blum has been collaborating with Dave Emerson of ATCC on
studies of the microbial communities on the Virginia coast.

Old Colorado City Communications: In-kind Support; Personnel Exchanges
They have provided wireless networking equipment and expertise to the
VCR/LTER, allowing us to link our island research sites with the
Internet at high (2 MBS) rates of speed.

Other collaborators:

We have collaborated extensively with researchers at other LTER sites.
This includes:

-- Contacts with Scientists from several countries in Southern Africa,
specifically exchanges with LTER sites in southern Africa. Remote
teleconferencing instruction was offered during 2002 with participants
from Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa (Macko)

-- collaborations through workshops. PI Christian organized 2
workshops on network analysis through LTER (one at Snow Bird and one
at ECU) and have received support for another (jointly with Alan
Covich at Colorado State U.). More collaborations resulted from a
biocomplexity workshop on network analysis. The list of collaborators
contacts is extensive. They include individuals from other LTER sites,
social scientists, and ecologists from outside the LTER network from
the USA and abroad. (Christian)

-- Another collaborative effort from a cross-site LTER workshop
focused on preseration of soil organic matter in wetlands. This
alos involved scientists from the LTER netaork and outside.

-- Drs. Jiri Kopacek, Vera Straskrabova, and Jarda Vrba,
Hydrobiological Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences --collaborative
study of nitrogen cycling processes in mountain lakes of the Sumava
ILTER (Anderson, Macko)

-- Dr. Hana Santruckova, University of South Bohemia - collaborative
study of N-cycling processes in watersheds of the Sumava ILTER

-- Dr. Rudolph Jaffee, Florida International University, Collaborative
study of DOM quality in the VCR coastal lagoons and in PIE estuaries

-- Dr. Charles Hopkinson, Marine Biological Laboratory, PIE LTER,
intercomparison of dissolved organic nitrogen dynamics in PIE

-- University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, GCE-LTER, intercomparison
of groundwater/saltmarsh interactions (Anderson)

-- FCE-LTER, Collaborative study of dissolved organic
matter quality (Anderson)

-- James T. Morris (PIE LTER) co-hosted Organic matter workshop held
at Virginia Institute of Marine Science, July 26, 01 (Anderson)

-- Dr. Patricia Kandus, University of Buenos Aires, visited the VCR
site. She is part of a wetland ecology group in UBA biology department
working on remote sensing of the Parana River Delta in Argentina. The
are involved in developing a management plant for a MAB site in the
delta, and are interested in ILTER. (Brinson)

-- PI Blum has been an active participant in cross LTER Organic Matter
Workshops organized by Jim Morris. The goal of these workshops has
been to compare organic matter accumulation in wetland sediments and
the mechanisms controlling OM accumulation and to plan a series of
experiments that include controlled laboratory incubations and
reciprocal transplants of soil cores. Measurements might include CO2
and CH4 flux, O2 consumption, DOC loss, root ingrowth of cores,
molecular characterization of microbial communities, pyrolosis GCMS
and nutrient characterization of organic matter composition (new
production and old SOM). (Blum)

-- Blum is PI on NSF funded cross-site comparison study to examine the
relative importance of local abiotic conditions vs. organic
matter on microbial communities associated with decaying marsh grass
and mangrove litter. Collaborators include: Gary King, Univ. of Maine
Chuck Hopkinson, PIE LTER John Hobbie, PIE LTER Randy Chambers,
College of William and Mary Mike Reiter, Delaware State Univ. Bob
Christian, East Carolina Univ. Jim Morris, Univ. South
Carolina, NIN Steve Newell, GCE LTER Jay Garland, Dynamac Corp, NASA
Mike Roberts, Dynamac Corp, NASA Joy
Boyer, FCE LTER 

-- Collaborative project with NASA Kennedy, USFWS, USGS,and State of
Florida's St. John's Water Management District - working on comparison
of the contribution of primary production and decomposition to organic
matter accumulation and the effect on salt marsh sediment surface
elevation changes between VCR and Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge. Collaborators include: Ross Hinkle, Dynamac, Corp. Kelly
Gorman, NASA Ron Brockmeyer, St. John's Water Management District Don
Cahoon, USGS Mark Epstein, USFWS  (Blum, Mills)

-- We have also had active contacts with African researchers
interested in establishing International LTER sites. With an NSF
supplement we hosted a workshop 'SOUTHERN AFRICA VIRGINIA NETWORKS AND
ASSOCIATIONS - SAVANA I' Nov. 6-10, 2000. The purpose of the workshop
was to explore scientific research topics, to share information about
broad institutional collaboration, and to identify demonstration
projects that would lay the foundations for a regional environmental
research and teaching infrastructure. The workshop participants
identified three demonstration projects:  (1) a collaborative distance
learning project initially including WITS, the University of Eduardo
Mondlane, and UVA; (2) an ecology and sustainable resource management
station on the Mozambique coast; and (3) a collaborative ecological
research station in the eastern Lowveld/Limpopo River basin that joins
three existing stations in South Africa and Mozambique.  Co-Convenors
of the workshop were Harold Annegarn, Atmosphere and Energy Research
Group, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa; Robert Swap, PI,
SAFARI 2000 (Southern Africa Regional Science Inititative), Department
of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; Hank Shugart,
Leader, Global Climate Change Program, Department of Environmental
Sciences, University of Virginia  and participanting scientists were 
Pauline Opha Dube, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of
Botswana; Bane Marjanovic, Director, Sasol Centre for Innovative
Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, University
of Witswatersrand; Peter Omara-Ojungu, Dean, School of Science,
University of Venda; Lars Ramberg, Director, Harry Oppenheimer
Okavango Research Center, University of Botswana, Maun; Francisco
Vieira, Dean, School of Science, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane,
Mozambique; 'Diran Makinde, Dean, School of Agriculture, Rural
Development, and Forestry, University of Venda; Stephen Macko,
Workshop Program Chair, Department of Environmental Sciences, UVA;
Paul Desanker, Coordinator, Miombo Network, UVA; and Mike Garstang,
Bruce Hayden (Director, Virginia Coastal Reserve NSF LTER), Christelle
Hely, Don Clark, Lufafa Abel, and Sam Alleaume, all faculty members in
the Department of Environmental Sciences, UVA, and 13 graduate

-- In May 2001, African scientists Susan Ringrose, Luisa Santos, Rui
Brito, and Almeida Sitoe visited the VCR/LTER. They toured the
research site and met with VCR/LTER PI's and information specialists
to discuss issues surrounding the creation and operation of LTER

-- In July 2002, VCR/LTER PI's Zieman, Macko, Porter and Shugart
participated in a series of meetings in Mozambique, South Africa and
Botswana. These included participation in the Ecological Long-term
Observatories of Southern Africa (ELTOSA) meeting (an International
LTER regional group), Information Management training in Maputo,
Mozambique, presentations on ecological information management to the
staff of Kruger National Park in South Africa and a series of meetings
with university administrators at a variety of South African

Non-LTER collaborations include:

-- We have collaborated with Jay Austin (Old Dominion University),
Dave Fugate and Karl Friedrichs (Virginia Institute of Marine
Sciences) on the development and testing (using automated drifters) of
a hydrodynamic model for Hog Island Bay. 

-- We are collaborating with Dr. Donald Stillwell of Virginia Tech on
the use of autonomous underwater vehicles to measure oxygen
concentration in the lagoon. This will give us access to data on
ecosystem metabolism that is otherwise difficult to get. 

-- Boise State University - Dr. Steve Novak along with Dr. Greg
Plunkett (VCU) and PI Don Young are collaborating on an integrated
project (genetics, populaton biology, and physiological ecology) to
assess the invasion potential of Phragmites australis on the
Eastern Shore of Virgina. (Young) 

-- Dr. Randy Chambers, Director Keck Laboratory, College of William
and Mary - study of nutrient cycling processes in mudflats of the VCR

Dr. Carl Friedrich, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. 
Collaboration with Anderson on modeling studies of particle transport
and residence times in Hog Island Bay (Anderson)

-- Dr. Mandy Joye, University of Georgia and Dr. Carolyn Ruppel,
Georgia Tech, Groundwater flow at the salt marsh interface (Anderson)

-- Matt Jones, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
Collaboration on testing of Ecological Metadata Language. (Porter)

-- Dr. Raymond Dueser, Utah State University, Barry Truitt, The Nature
Conservancy. Mammalian predators often have severe negative effects on
colonial-nesting waterbirds such as gulls, terns and shorebirds. These
effects may vary with predator and prey species and with habitat, but
often are extreme for introduced predators on islands. The raccoon
(Procyon lotor) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) are frequently implicated
on islands. Based on both long-term anecdotal accounts and 20 years of
breeding bird counts, most beach- and dune-nesting colonial waterbird
populations have declined in recent decades on the Virginia barrier
islands. It has been proposed that much of this decline is
attributable to expanding distributions and increasing abundances of
raccoons and red foxes. Direct effects such as nest depredation have
been observed repeatedly but relatively infrequently over the past 20
years. We have been working to determine more directly the effects of
mammalian predators on nesting waterbirds. There appeared to be a real
effect of mammalian predators on nesting colonial waterbirds (in the
form of reduced bird abundance) even in the absence of apparent
effects (in the form of signs of depredation) in a given year. These
results support the contention that mammalian predators have had  a
significant long-term effect on colonial-nesting waterbirds on the
Virginia barrier islands despite the infrequency of observed direct
effects.  This study represents a highly effective partnership among
The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the VCR-LTER
Program.(Moncrief, Porter)

We collaborated in 2002 with Dr. Ronald A. VanDenBussche, Department
of Zoology, Oklahoma State University, in an (mtDNA)analysis of the
phylogeography of raccoons on the Virginia barrier islands and the
adjacent the Delmarva Peninsula (Moncrief). 

Activities and findings:

Research and Education Activities: 
See attached file

See attached file

Training and Development:
We have engaged in training at all levels of education. At the graduate level we have a large number of students who participate in the research conducted at the VCR/LTER. A smaller number of undergraduate student REUs participate in research, while a larger number of undergraduates experience the LTER site through class field trips. In the K-12 area we are engaged in taking hands on science into the classroom in the area of field measurements using state-of-the-art equipment. This involves classroom teaching on the part of VCR scientists, field demonstartions and WEB based communications. Some specific training and development activities were: Robert Christian led a cross-site workshop to help develop the experise of network analysis within the LTER network. He is teaching a course at ECU in 'global issues in coastal ecology' which promotes large-scale thinking and is tied to the first panel meeting for the coastal module of GTOS. He directed 2 graduate students, and with their help, four undergraduates on projects at the VCR. Also, a high school student has worked with him.

Outreach Activities:
The Schoolyard LTER program continues to be a meaningful way of increasing future public understanding, now serving both elementary, middle and highschools in Northampton County, VA. During the past year we have worked with The Nature Conservancy on issues of landscape dynamics, surveys of bird populations and on the extend of envasive species. PI Robert Christian continues to be active with the Italian International LTER program. While PI Stephen Macko continues to be active in African ILTER efforts. He, Porter, Shugart and student A. Knopf participated in the southern African ELTOSA workshop in Mozambique in July 2002. Nancy Moncrief used distributional data collected from the multi-island surveys in a Teacher Re-Certification class that she teaches through the University of Virginia at the Roanoke Higher Education Center. She reviewed processes such as extinction and colonization and concepts such as succession, habitat complexity, and carrying capacity. Typically, there are 20-30 K-12 teachers in this course each year. Her work at VCR/LTER was featured in an article about me that appeared in VMNH's popular publication The Virginia Explorer, published in May 2002. Don Young was appointed to the Governor's Advisory Board of Soil Scientists and Wetlands Professionals. We will be developing guidelines for certifying professionals as wetlands ecologists. Bruce Hayden serves on the Florida Coastal Everglades Advisory Committee Images from the VCR/LTER WWW site have appeared in a number of publications for the general public. These include Chesapeake Life Magazine, UVA Insights and the Eastern Shore Post. The VCR/LTER WWW site ( widely used. 101 gigabytes were downloaded from the site during the period 11/01/01 through 7/26/03. Educational users accounted for 26% of all requests with commercial users (or educational users using a commercial network provider) accounted for 25%. A complete web statistics report is available at: .

Journal Publications:
McGlathery, K. J., "Macroalgal blooms contribute to the decline of seagrass in nutrient-enriched coastal waters", Journal of Phycology, vol. 35, (2001), p. 1. Published
Anderson, I. C., K. J. McGlathery, and A. C. Tyler, "Microbial processing of reactive nitrogen in a temperate coastal lagoon", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 246, (2003), p. 73. Published
Baker, K.B. B.J. Benson, D.L. Henshaw, D. Blodgett, J.H. Porter, and S.G. Stafford, "Evolution of a Multisite Network Information System: The LTER Information Management Paradigm", BioScience, vol. 50, (2000), p. 963. Published
Barimo, J.F. and D.R. Young, "Grasshopper(Orthoptera:Acrididae)-plant-environmental interactions in relation to zonation on an Atlantic Coast barrier island", Environmental Entomologist, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Barimo, J.F. and D.R. Young, "Insect-plant-environmental interactions in relation to primary succession in a coastal ecosystem", Oikos, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Berg, P. and K. J. McGlathery, "A high-resolution pore water sampler for sandy sediments", Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 46, (2001), p. 203. Published
Blum, L.K. and Christian, R.R., "Below ground production and decomposition along a tidal gradient in a Virginia, U.S.A, salt marsh", Estuaries, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Brinson, M. M., and R. R. Christian, "Assessing functions of wetlands and the need for reference", Biologia Ambientale, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Brinson, M.M., "Fluvial forms and processes: A new perspective (book review)", Ecological Engineering, vol. 14, (2000), p. 307. Published
Christiansen, T., P.L. Wiberg and T.G. Milligan, "Flow and sediment transport on a salt marsh surface", Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Craig, C.L. and D.R. Young, "Physiological responses of Phragmites australis to flooding at variable salinities", Wetlands, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Crawford, E.R. and D.R. Young, "Comparison of gaps and intact shrub thickets on an Atlantic Coast barrier island", American Midland Naturalist, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Day, F.P., C. Conn, E. Crawford, and M. Stevenson, "Long-term effects of nitrogen fertilization on plant community structure on a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence", Canadian Journal of Botany, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Day, F.P., E. Crawford, and J.J. Dilustro, "Aboveground plant biomass change along a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence over a six-year period", J. Torrey Bot. Soc., vol. 128, (2001), p. 197. Published
Elliott, M.T. and D.R. Young, "Influence of tidal wrack and microtopography on strand species and on community composition", American Midland Naturalist, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Erwin, R.M., B.R. Truitt and J. Jimenez, "Ground-nesting waterbirds and mammalian carnivores in the Virginia barrier island region: running out of options", Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 17, (2001), p. 292. Published
Franklin, R.B., D.R. Taylor, and A.L. Mills, "The influence of chemical environment and spatial separation on the distribution of microbial communities in anaerobic and aerobic zones of a shallow coastal plain aquifer", Microb. Ecol., vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Giannotti, A. L. and K. J. McGlathery, "Consumption of Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta) by the omnivorous mud snail Ilyanassa obsoleta", Journal of Phycology, vol. 37, (2001), p. 1. Published
Havens, K. E., A. C. Tyler, J. Hauxwell, S. Thomas, K. J. McGlathery , I. Valiela, J. Cebrian, A. D. Steinman, and S. J. Hwang, "Complex interactions between primary producers in shallow marine and freshwater ecosystems: Implications for community responses to nutrient stress.", Environmental Pollution, vol. , (2001), p. 113. Published
Howarth, R., D. Anderson, J. Cloern, C. Elfring, C. Hopkinson, B. Lapointe, T. Malone, N. Marcus, K. McGlathery, A. Sharpley, and D. Walker., "Nutrient Pollution of Coastal Rivers, Bays and Seas", Ecological Issues, vol. 7, (2000), p. 1. Published
Hutton, J. and F.P. Day, "The effect of nitrogen fertilization on short-term fine root dynamics in a barrier island dune community", Plant and Soil, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Joy, D.A. and D.R. Young, "Promotion of mid-successional seedling recruitment and establishment by Juniperus virginia in a coastal environment", Plant Ecology, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Knapp, E. P., J.S. Herman, A.L. Mills, and G.M. Hornberger, "Alteration of reactive mineral surfaces in anaerobic groundwater systems", Appl. Geochem., vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Knoff, A.J., S.A. Macko and R.M. Erwin, "Diets of nesting Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla) at the Virginia Coast Reserve: Observations from stable isotope analysis", Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, vol. 37, (2001), p. 67. Published
Kopacek, J., E. Stuchlik, J. Vesely, J. Schaumburg, I.C. Anderson, J. Fott, J. Hejzlar, and J. Vrba, "Hysteresis in reversal of Central European mountain lakes from atmospheric acidification", Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Layman, C.A. and D.E. Smith, "Sampling Bias of Minnow Traps in Shallow Aquatic Habitats on the Eastern Shore of Virginia", Wetlands, vol. 24, (2000), p. 145. Published
Lowit, M.B., L. K. Blum, and A. L. Mills, "Determining replication for discrimination among microbial communities in environmental samples using community-level physiological profiles", FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol. 32, (2000), p. 97. Published
McGlathery, K. J., "Macroalgal blooms contribute to the decline of seagrass in nutrient-enriched coastal waters", Journal of Phycology, vol. 35, (2001), p. 1. Published
McGlathery, K. J., Anderson, I. C., and Tyler, A. C., "Magnitude and Variability of Benthic and Pelagic Metabolism in a Temperate Coastal Lagoon", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 216, (2001), p. 1. Published
Miller, W.D., S.C. Neubauer and I.C. Anderson, "Effects of sea level induced disturbances on high salt marsh metabolism", Estuaries, vol. 24, (2001), p. 357. Published
Moncrief, N.D. and R.D. Dueser, "Allozymic variation in the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus): Genetics of a translocated population", American Midland Naturalist, vol. 146, (2001), p. 37. Published
Mood, M.L. and D.R. Young, "Salinity tolerance for brackish and freshwater populations of Phragmites australis", Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Neubauer, S. C., I.C. Anderson, J.A. Constantine, and S.A. Kuehl, "Sediment deposition and accretion in a mid-Atlantic (U.S.A) tidal freshwater marsh", Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Neubauer, S.C., W.D. Miller and I.C. Anderson, "Carbon cycling in a tidal freshwater marsh ecosystem: a carbon gas flux study", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 199, (2000), p. 13. Published
Newell, S.Y., L.K. Blum, R. E. Crawford, T.Dai, M. Dionne, "Autumnal biomass and potential productivity of salt marsh fungi from 29 to 43 north latitude along the United States Atlantic Coast", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 66, (2000), p. 180. Published
Rheinhardt, R., D.F. Whigham, H. Kahn, and M. Brinson, "Vegetation of headwater wetlands in the inner coastal plain of Virginia and Maryland", Castanea, vol. 65, (2000), p. 21. Published
Rheinhardt, R.R., M.C. Rheinhardt, M.M. Brinson, and K.E. Faser, Jr., "Application of reference data for assessing and restoring headwater ecosystems", Restoration Ecology, vol. 7, (1999), p. 241. Published
Tobias, C.R., E.A. Canuel, and I.C. Anderson, "Biogeochemical controls on nitrate reduction in groundwaters from a shallow coastal aquifer", Estuaries, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Tobias, C.R., I.C. Anderson, E.A. Canuel and S.A. Macko, "Nitrogen cycling through a fringing marsh-aquifer ecotone", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 210, (2001), p. 25. Published
Tobias, C.R., J.W. Harvey, and I.C. Anderson, "Quantifying groundwater discharge through fringing wetlands to estuaries: Seasonal variability, methods comparison, and implications for wetland-estuary exchange", Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 46, (2001), p. 604. Published
Tobias, C.R., S.A. Macko, I.C. Anderson, E.A. Canuel, and J.W. Harvey., "Tracking the fate of a high concentration groundwater nitrate plume through a fringing marsh: A combined groundwater tracer and in situ isotope enrichment study.", Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 46, (2001), p. 1977. Published
Tyler, A. C., K. J. McGlathery, and I. C. Anderson, "Macroalgal mediation of dissolved organic nitrogen fluxes in a temperate coastal lagoon", Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. , (), p. . Accepted
Walsh, J.P., and J.C. Zieman, "Development of an epifaunal community along a back-barrier salt marsh chronosequence", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Wijnholds, A.E. and D.R. Young, "Interdependence of the host plant, Myrica cerifera, and the actinomycete, Frankia, in a coastal environment", Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 16, (2000), p. 139. Published
Wu, K. W. and L. K. Blum, "Estuarine bacteria: important links to higher trophic levels", Estuaries, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Layman, C. A., "Fish Assemblage Structure of the Shallow Ocean Surf-Zone on the Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands", Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 51, (2000), p. 51. Published
Layman, C.A., D.E. Smith and J.D. Herod, "Seasonally Varying Importance of Abiotic and Biotic Factors in Marsh-Pond Fish Communities", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 207, (2000), p. 155. Published
Brannon, M.P. Moncrief, N.D. Dueser, R.D., "New records of reptiles from the Virginia barrier islands", Banisteria, vol. 18, (2001), p. 42. Published
Greenland, D., B. P. Hayden, J. J. Magnuson, S. V. Ollinger, R. A. Pielke Sr., and R. C. Smith, "Long-term Research on Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions", Bioscience, vol. 53, (2003), p. 33. Published
Erwin, R. M., Allen, D.H., and D. Jenkins, "Created versus natural coastal islands: Atlantic waterbird populations, habitat choices, and management implications", Estuaries, vol. , (), p. . Submitted
Franklin, R. B., L. K. Blum, A. McCombe, and A. L. Mills, "A geostatistical analysis of small-scale spatial variability in bacterial abundance and community structure in salt-marsh creek bank sediments", FEMS, vol. 34, (2002), p. 1. Published
Fuentes, J. D., B. P. Hayden, M. Garstang, M. Lerdau, D. Fitzjarrald, D. D. Baldocchi, R. Monson, R. Lamb, and C. Geron, "New directions: VOCs and biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks", Atmospheric Environment, vol. 35, (2001), p. 189. Published
Knoff, A. J., Macko, S.A., Erwin, R.M., and K. M. Brown, "Stable isotope analysis of temporal variation in the diets of pre-fledged Laughing Gulls", Waterbirds, vol. 25, (2002), p. 142. Published
Layman, C. A., D. E. Smith, and J. D. Herod, "Seasonally Varying Importance of Abiotic and Biotic Factors in Marsh-Pond Fish Communities", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 207, (2000), p. 155. Published
Russell, K. M., J. N. Galloway, W. C. Keene, and K. J. McGlathery, "Characterization of particulate atmospheric nitrogen and implications for coastal deposition", EOS Trans. AGU, vol. 81, (2000), p. 51. Published
Russell, K. M., W. C. Keene, J. R. Maben, and J. N. Galloway, "Phase-partitioning and dry deposition of nitrogen at the mid-Atlantic U.S. coast", Eos Trans. AGU, vol. 82, (2001), p. F51. Published
Thomas, C. R., and R. R. Christian, "Comparison of nitrogen cycling in salt marsh zones related to sea-level rise", Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 221, (2001), p. 1. Published
Bachmann, C. M., T. F. Donato, G. M. Lamela, W. J. Rhea, M. H. Bettenhausen, R. A. Fusina, K. R. Du Bois, J. H. Porter, and B. R. Truitt, "Automatic classification of land cover on Smith Island, VA, using HyMAP imagery", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 40, (2002), p. 2313. Published
Brinson, M. M., and A. I. Malvarez, "Temperate freshwater wetlands: types, status, and threats", Environmental Conservation, vol. 29, (2002), p. 115. Published
Buffam, I., and K. J. McGlathery, "Effect of ultraviolet light on dissolved nitrogen transformations in coastal lagoon water", Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 48, (2003), p. 723. Published
Christian, R. R., "Coastal initiative of the Global Terrestrial Observing System", Ocean & Coastal Management, vol. 46, (2003), p. 313. Published
Christian, R. R., and C. R. Thomas, "Network analysis of nitrogen inputs and cycling in the Neuse River Estuary, North Carolina, USA", Estuaries, vol. 26, (2003), p. 815. Published
Porter, J. H., G. Shao, and B. P. Hayden, "Our Changing Shorelines: Researchers try to keep pace with a high-speed island landscape", Imaging Notes, vol. 18, (2003), p. 24. Published
Sharp, J.H., K.R. Rinker, K.B. Savidge, J. Abell, J.Y. Benaim, D. Bronk, D.J. Burdige, G.Cauwet, W.Chen, M.D. Doval, D. Hansell, C. Hopkinson, G. Kattner, N. Kaumeyer, K.J. McGlathery, J. Merriam, N. Morley et al., "Preliminary methods comparison for measurement of dissolved organic nitrogen in seawater", Marine Chemistry 78:171-184., vol. 78, (2002), p. 171. Published
Silliman, B. R., and J. C. Zieman, "Top-down control of Spartina alterniflora production by periwinkle grazing in a Virginia salt marsh.", Ecology, vol. 82, (2001), p. 2830. Published
Swift, D. J. P., B. S. Parsons, A. Foyle, and G. F. Oertel, "Between beds and sequences: stratigraphic organization at intermediate scales in the Quaternary of the Virginia coast, USA", Sedimentology, vol. 50, (2003), p. 81. Published
Erickson, D. L., and J. L. Hamrick, "Genetic and clonal diversity for Myrica cerifera along a spatiotemporal island chronosequence", Heredity 90:25-32., vol. 90, (2003), p. 25. Published
Erwin, R. M., "Integrated management of waterbirds: Beyond the conventional", Waterbirds, vol. 25, (2002), p. 5. Published
Franklin, R. B., and A. L. Mills, "Multi-scale variation in spatial heterogeneity for microbial community structure in an eastern Virginia agricultural field", FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol. 44, (2003), p. 335. Published
Oertel, G. F., "Hypsographic, hydro-hypsographic and hydrological analysis of coastal bay environments, Great Machipongo Bay, Virginia", Journal of Coastal Research 17:775-783., vol. 17, (2001), p. 775. Published

Book(s) of other one-time publications(s):
Appolone, E., "Organic matter distribution and turnover along a gradient from forest to tidal creek" , bibl. MS thesis, Biology Department, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C., (2000). Thesis Published
Buck, T., "High marsh plant community response to sea-level rise induced high marsh subsidence and ecosystem state change" , bibl. East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, (2001). Thesis Published
Christian, R. R., and C. Thomas, "Neuse River Modeling and Monitoring Project stage I: Network analysis for evaluating the consequences of nitrogen" , bibl. UNC-WRRI Report No. 325F. Raleigh, NC. 44 pp., (2000). Book Published
Christian, R. R., and D. G. Capone, "Overview of issues in aquatic microbial ecology" , bibl. ASM Press, Washington, DC., (2001). Book Published
of Collection: C.J. Hurst, G. R. Knudsen, M. J. McInerney, L. D. Stetzenbach, and M. V. Walter, "Manual of Environmental Microbiology, 2nd edition"
Christian, R. R., and R. E. Ulanowicz, "Network Ecology" , bibl. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, (2001). Book Published
of Collection: A. El-Shaarawi and W. W. Pierogorsch, "Encyclopedia of Environmetrics"
Christian, R.R., L.E. Stasavich, C.R. Thomas, and M.M. Brinson, "Reference is a moving target in sea-level controlled wetlands." , bibl. Pages 805-825. Kluwer, Dordeht,The Netherlands, (2000). Book Accepted
of Collection: M.P. Weinstein and D.A. Kreeger, "Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology"
Craig, C.L., "Physiological responses of Phragmites australis to flooding at different salinity levels" , bibl. MS thesis. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, (2001). Thesis Published
Dusterhoff. S., "Controls on Near-Surface Soil Moisture Dynamics within a Tidal Marsh-Forested Upland Costal Environment" , bibl. MS Thesis. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, (2001). Thesis Published
Erwin, R.M. and T.W. Custer, "Herons as indicators" , bibl. pages 311-330. Academic Press,London UK, (2000). Book Published
of Collection: J.A. Kushlan and H. Hafner, ""
Hutton, John, "The effect of nitrogen fertilization on short-term fine root dynamics in a barrier island dune community" , bibl. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, (2001). Thesis Published
Neubauer, S.C., "Carbon dynamics in a tidal freshwater marsh" , bibl. Ph.D dissertation, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, (2000). Thesis Published
Porter, J.H., "Scientific databases" , bibl. Blackwell Science Ltd., London, (2000). Book Published
of Collection: W.K. Michener and J. Brunt, "Ecological Data: Design, Processing and Management"
Porter, J.H., "The Ecological Society of America" , bibl. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., (). Book Accepted
of Collection: A. El-Shaarawi and W. W. Pierogorsch, "Encyclopedia of Environmetrics"
Richardson, J.L. and M.M. Brinson, "Wetland soils and the hydrogeomorphic classification of wetlands" , bibl. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, USA., (2000). Book Published
of Collection: J.L. Richardson and M.J. Vepraskas, "Wetland Soils: Genesis, Hydrology, Landscapes, and Classification"
Roberts, S.W., "Primary production of Distichlis spicata and Spartina patens and effects of increased inundation on a salt marsh" , bibl. East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, (2000). Thesis Published
Weber, Rett, "An analysis of the energetic budgets of grasses to assess the effectiveness of different competitive strategies" , bibl. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, (2001). Thesis Published
Keiss, O., "Mammalian Predator Distribution and Abundance on the Virginia Barrier Islands in Relation to Breeding Habitats of Colonial Birds" , bibl. M.S. Thesis, Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, Utah State University, Logan, UT., (2000). Thesis Published
Callaos, N., J. H. Porter, and N. Rishe, "Proceedings of the 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: Volume VII Information Systems Development II, July 14-18, 2002." , bibl. International Institute of Informatics and Systemics, Orlando, Florida, USA., (2002). Book Published
Christian, R. R., and R. E. Ulanowicz, "Network Ecology" , bibl. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., London., (2001). Book Published
of Collection: A. El-Shaarawi and W. W. Pierogorsch, "Encyclopedia of Environmetrics"
Christian, R. R., and D. G. Capone, "Overview of issues in aquatic microbial ecology" , bibl. ASM Press, Washington, DC., (2001). Book Published
of Collection: C. J. Hurst, R. L. Crawford, M. J. McInerney, L. D. Stetzenbach, and M. V. Walter, "Manual of Environmental Microbiology, 2nd Edition"
Christian, R. R., "Coastal resources" , bibl. FAO, Rome, Italy., (2002). Report Published
of Collection: , "Global Terrestrial Observing System Biennial Report 2000-2001"
Christian, R. R., and J. Gosz, "Long-term ecological research in concept and practice" , bibl. Societa Italiana di Ecologia, (). Book Accepted
of Collection: , "Atti del XXV Congesso Nazionale della Societa Italiana di Ecologia"
Hayden, B. P., and N. R. Hayden, "Decadal and Century-long Storminess changes at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites" , bibl. Oxford Univ. Press, (2003). Book Published
of Collection: D. Greenland, D.G. Goodin and R.C. Smith, "Climate Variability and Ecosystem Climate Variability and Response at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites"
Heyel, S., "Long-term residual effects of a nutrient addition on a barrier island dune ecosystem" , bibl. MS Thesis. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA., (2002). Thesis Published
Keiss, O., "Mammalian predator distribution and abundance on the Virginia barrier islands in relation to breeding habitats of colonial birds" , bibl. MS Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, UT., (2001). Thesis Published
Parsons, K., S. Brown, R. M. Erwin, and H. Czech, "Introduction: Managing wetlands for waterbirds - Integrated approaches" , bibl. Waterbirds 25, Special Issue Number 2., (2002). Book Published
of Collection: K. Parsons, S. Brown, R. M. Erwin, and H. Czech, ""
Porter, J. H., and K. W. Ramsey, "Integrating ecological data: tools and techniques" , bibl. International Institute of Informatics and Systemics, Orlando, Florida, USA., (2002). Book Published
of Collection: N. Callaos, J. H. Porter, and N. Rishe, "Proceedings of the 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: Volume VII Information Systems Development II, July 14-18, 2002."
Russell, K. M., J. N. Galloway, W. C. Keene, K. J. McGlathery, and J. L. Moody, "Characterization of particulate atmospheric nitrogen and implications for coastal deposition" , bibl. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, (2000). Book Published
of Collection: , "Meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Copenhagen."
Russell, K. M., J. R. Maben, W. C. Keene, and J. N. Galloway, "Controlling the Phase Partitioning of Gaseous and Particulate NH3/NH4+ at the mid-Atlantic U.S. Coast: Preliminary Results, The Significance of Ammonia to Coastal and Estuarine Areas, Airsheds and Watersheds" , bibl. Chesapeake Bay Program, Great Waters Program, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association, Dewey Beach, Delaware., (2000). Book Published
of Collection: , "Third Shared Resources Workshop,"
Russell, K. M., "Characterization and Deposition of Atmospheric Nitrogen at the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Coast" , bibl. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA., (2002). Thesis Published
Sanders, G., D. J. Prosser, and R. M. Erwin, "Sea-level rise and salt marsh dynamics: Changes in Atlantic coastal waterbird habitats" , bibl. NOAA/CSC 20114-CD (CD-ROM). NOAA Coastal Sciences Center, Charleston SC, (2001). Book Published
of Collection: , "2nd biennial Coastal GeoTools Conference"
Turaski, S. J., "Spatial and temporal controls on saturated overland flow in a regularly flooded salt marsh" , bibl. MS Thesis. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, (2002). Thesis Published
Poff, N. L., M. M. Brinson, and J. W. Day Jr., "Potential Impacts on Inland Freshwater and Coastal Wetland Ecosystems in the United States" , bibl. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Arlington, VA., (2002). Book Published

Other Specific Products:

Data or databases
The VCR/LTER provides access to more than 100 formally documented data
sets. They are listed on the WWW at: They include  physical,
biological, geographical and model data sets. Some data sets also
support sophisticated queries, such as our biodiverisity database, or
extensive graphical output, such as our meterlogical and tide data
sets. In addition to the formal data sets we provide a wealth of
textual and graphical material resulting from research at the
Data is made available via the WWW in conformance with LTER-wide data
policies. The data is widely used for research and education, with
over half of the data requests coming from researchers, educators and
students not associated with the VCR/LTER both within the US and
Physical collection (samples, etc.)
In collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Natural History, we have
established a sample archive for the VCR/LTER. This includes mammalian
tissue samples, as well as soil, and water.  To date, collections at
the Virginia Museum of Natural History include more than one thousand
traditional skin and skeletal preparations of 18 species of mammals
from more than 40 locations on the Virginia barrier islands and
southern Delmarva Peninsula. Ninety-nine percent of these specimens
are accompanied by frozen tissue samples (heart, liver, kidney, and
skeletal muscle). Also, intensive long-term live-trapping data were
collected for 3 island sites and 3 sites on the adjacent mainland for
a five-year period. In conjunction with that study, non-invasive
tissue samples (earclips) were collected from more than two thousand
individuals of three species of rodent.
These samples are available through standard loan procedures of the
Virginia Museum of Natural History.
Audio or video products
We provide online access to over 20,000 images of ecological research
activities and sites at 
This includes several compressed videos of our site and research
procedures on the WWW at These
are not 'production quality' videos, but aid in the orientation
researchers who may be interested in conducting research at the
Images are available in standard Internet formats (.jpg and .gif) at
They are available in RealPlayer or Windows Media Player formats on
the WWW site:
Teaching aids
We provide live Webcams viewing research sites of the Virginia Coast
Reserve LTER. These are used by K-12 students to view these remote
Cameras and time series of images can be viewed at: and at

Internet Dissemination:

This WWW site serves as the "file cabinet" for the VCR/LTER Project -
both for researchers within the project and external scientists. It
provides access to a wide array of information products derived from
the grant including data, searchable bibliographies, full text of
proposals and theses and dissertations. The site is heavily used, with
over 31.7 GB of data downloaded to over 106,000 different computers
during the period September 2001 through August 2002.


Contributions within Discipline:

 We have continued to contribute to the understanding of coastal
systems through our efforts in studying the effects of sea level rise
(which involves developing detailed understandings of the processes
that effect accretion in marshes - both physical and biotic, and
encroachment into uplands), coastal eutrophication, controls on plant
production, and determinants of faunal biogeography in an island


Coastal eutrophication has been recognized as an increasing problem in
areas such as the East and Gulf coasts of the U.S.  Symptoms of
eutrophication include blooms of phytoplankton, which when they
decompose may reduce available oxygen in the water; blooms of harmful
algae that are toxic to fish, shellfish, and occasionally humans;
blooms of macroalgae that cause die-backs of sea grasses which are
vital to maintaining populations of many fish and crabs.
Eutrophication generally results from export of excess nutrients from
land, in particular nitrogen.  Sources of nitrogen include
agriculture, septic tanks, waste water treatment plants, industry, and
atmospheric deposition of nitrogen derived from automobiles, power
plants, and other industrial sources.   Nitrogen from these sources is
most often transported to coastal waters in shallow groundwater and in
surface water runoff. 

Coastal lagoons are common features of the land margin, especially
along the East and Gulf coasts.  We have hypothesized that these
lagoons play an important role in retarding and transforming nitrogen
during transport from land to the sea.  Our study of the Virginia
Coast Reserve lagoonal system has been designed to: (1) measure
groundwater sources of nutrients to the lagoon; (2) measure rates of
biological processes that remove or transform nitrogen in the waters
and sediments of the lagoon; (3) compare rates of nitrogen cycling
processes to physical transport across and out of the lagoon in order
to determine whether the nitrogen remains in the lagoon for a
sufficient length of time to allow biological processing to occur. 
The biological studies described in this report are being performed
jointly by Iris Anderson, VIMS, and Karen McGlathery, University of

Our preliminary results support our hypotheses that: (1) nitrogen
entering the lagoon is rapidly removed by both benthic macro- and
microalgae.  The bloom of macroalgae that results in early summer
crashes during mid-summer, releasing much of the nitrogen as dissolved
inorganic and organic nitrogen.  The sediments act to rapidly remove
the nitrogen released to the water column by a combination of
mechanisms including immobilization by benthic microalgae and coupled
nitrification - denitrification.  We are currently attempting to
determine how the nitrogen released during decomposition of the
macroalgal bloom is partitioned between the various potential
consumptive mechanisms. 


Surface Elevation Tables (SETs) are used at numerous VCR/LTER research
sites to quantify subtle changes in sedimentation that ultimately will
determine the fate of marshes in the face of sea level rise. These
baseline measurements at different marshes are then used in
association with process-based studies focusing on the processes such
as transport of material through tidal flooding, burial of organic
matter and its decomposition, marsh plant production (both above and
below ground), bioturbation by crabs and even herbivory by insects to
develop models aimed at predicting changes in marshes over the coming

Recent work on microbial communities in the marshes and tidal creeks
at the VCR (as well as 9 other coastal systems as part of a cross-site
comparison study) contribute to our understanding of what abiotic and
biotic factors determine microbial community structure and the scales
over which microbial communities vary. Linking information about
variation in microbial community structure and microbially controlled
processes (e.g., nitrogen-fixation), will allow prediction of how
critical ecosystem processes will be affected by disturbance. (Blum)

We have continued to work with a small group to compare the ways in
which salt marshes, mangroves and coral reefs respond to sea-level
change and are perceived to respond to sea-level change.  This
synthesis promises to be valuable. (Christian)

The work culminating in the masters theses of Scott Dusterhoff (under
supervision of Albertson and Wiberg) and Steven Turaski (supervised by
PI Wiberg) has applied instrumentation and models most commonly used
in studies of fields and forests to marshlands.  Measurements of soil
moisture (using TDR), water table elevation, soil texture and
topography were used to characterize near surface soil moisture
dynamics and runoff potential across a marsh-upland transect at 
Phillips Creek Marsh, VCR-LTER.  Models of soil moisture (Richards
equation) and evapotranspiration were successfully used to investigate
controls on soil moisture and water table level, including soil
texture, elevation, root density in addition to precipitation, tidal
inundation and etc. 

One of PI Robert Christian's major commitments for the last couple of
years has been to encourage and promote the use of network analysis
within ecology. Network analysis is a modeling tool (really an
accounting tool for data. These data must be organized in a network
form of interactions aomong system compartments) These efforts have
come to some fruition via publications and workshops sponsored by NSF
biocomplexity and the LTER network. Now several groups within and
beyond the LTER network have begun using the tools. Jim Morris at U.
South Carolina and PI Christian have collaborated on large number
(>1,000) compartment networks, randomly generated but following
perscribed rules. We have found some distribution dependent and
independent attributes of food webs. This work will be continued at a
workshop on Network Analysis at the LTER All Scientists Meeting in
Sept. 2003.


The results of this work to date have increased our understanding of
dynamic vegetation changes and their causes in coastal barrier island
ecosystems. New cross site and cross species analyses are linking
meteorological and climatological drivers to plant production. This
analysis is revealing complex patterns showing that all species and
sites do not respond similarly to meteorological drivers. 

To date, one of our most significant contributions has been to
demonstrate that biotic interactions are very important in the coastal
environment of the VCR, which we often define as being dominated by
physical parameters.  Most importantly PI Donald Young, demonstrated
the importance of the presence for a soil actinomycete, Frankia, for
the successful establishment of Myrica cerifera.  Myrica usually is
usually the first woody species to establish in these environments. 
Once established, Myrica rapidly forms extensive thickets in coastal
environments. These thickets are excellent indicators of island
stability and may be precursors to the establishment of maritme

Ten years of research in shrub thicket ecology has provided excellent
background and experience for studying the potential for invasive
species in coastal environments.  This is especially true for the
weedy grass, Phragmites australis. Populations of Phragmites are
establishing and rapidly expanding throughout the VCR as well as in
coastal environments of the mid-Atlantic region. Phragmites often
establishes in habitats similar to those of shrub thickets. 

Studies of island-dwelling organisms, such as those underway at VCR,
have long played an important role in testing ecological and
evolutionary theory about patterns and processes related to
distribution and abundance of species and genetic variation within and
among natural populations. The Virginia coast is a highly dynamic,
frequently disturbed landscape, and the Virginia barrier islands are
the only undeveloped barrier system on the Eastern seaboard. As such,
this system affords a unique opportunity to study phenomena associated
with island systems, including fragmentation of habitats and
populations, local extinction, dispersal, and colonization, which are
also important issues in conservation biology.

Contributions to Other Disciplines:
 The studies conducted by the VCR/LTER are inherently interdisciplinary
or multidisciplinary. Our studies are being performed by an
interdisciplinary team of ecologists, hydrologists, biologists, and
physical oceanographers. When such collaborations take place, it is
not unusual that each each group of scientists will gain greater
insight into problems that may not be recognized within their own

Additionally, our workshops on network analysis have exposed a broad
group of scientists to the field or network ecology. Social scientists
have also used network analysis, and one of our accomplishements has
been to bring awareness of the different approaches to the broader
group. (Christian)

Research on ecological information management has included computer
scientists. The challenges posed by ecological data provide
opportunities for innovation in computer science. (Porter)

In association with educators (and with additional support from the
Virginia Environmental Endowment) we have been exploring the use of
wireless web cameras for use in K-12 science education. (Smith,

Contributions to Education and Human Resources:
 As can be seen from the number of graduate and undergraduate students
listed on our participant list, this project provides abundant
opportunities for training. Moreover, the inter- and
multi-disciplinary nature of the research teaches the students how to
operate in a collaborative environment. 

We have, in our Schoolyard LTER program provided instruction and
assistance to local teachers as well as graduate courses in assistance
of their recertification. We have brought LTER research activities
into the classroom had extensive contact with more than 125 students
in grades 9-12, over 300 students in grades 6-9 and over 120 students
in K-5. 

From Jan 1, 2003 through July 2003, the LTER laboratory has been used
by two college classes totaling more than 20 undergraduate students. 

PI Nancy Moncrief continues to use distributional data collected from
the multi-island surveys in a Teacher Re-Certification class that she
teaches through the University of Virginia at the Roanoke Higher
Education Center. She reviews processes such as extinction and
colonization and concepts such as succession, habitat complexity, and
carrying capacity. Typically, there are 20-30 K-12 teachers in this
course each year. Additionally, she has developed a K-12-level
activity that illustrates various island biogeography principles. She
distribute it through Teacher Recertification courses and workshops.

PI John Porter continues to contribute to training efforts in the area
of Ecoinformatics. He co-taught a one week short course on ecological
databases for participants from the Organization of Biological Field
Stations in October 2002. Internationally, he co-taught a two day
course on ecological information management in Maputo Mozambique in
July 2002.

Contributions to Resources for Science and Technology:
 Our WWW site ( provides access to a
wide variety of information in text, graphical and video forms. Data
are frequently downloaded for use by classes and researchers at
institutions not associated with the VCR/LTER. Since the beginning of
this grant in Nov. 2000, our web site has distributed 101 gigabytes of
information to over 257,000 different client computers. The site
averages over 7,000 'hits' per day throughout that period. A detailed
summary can be found at:

Through the web server, we have provided data for 405 formal requests.
27% were by VCR/LTER associated researchers, but 73% were from
individuals not associated with the VCR/LTER. 64% of the total
requests were for research use and an additional 36% were for
classroom use. 14% of the total requests were from outside the US
including the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Chile, Australia,
Germany and the Netherlands, among others. 

Through our Schoolyard LTER supplement, we have been able to provide
equipment such as global positioning system, taxonomic guides and
water chemistry analysis kits and equipment to the Northampton Co. VA
Public Schools. This program now extends from grades K-12 through the
Northampton Co. elementary, middle and high schools. 

Work that we are currently doing at the VCR is of much interest to the
Department of Environmental Quality of the State of Virginia, and in
particular to the Water Conservation Districts located on the Eastern
Shore. The major source of nitrogen to VCR coastal lagoons is
agriculture. Proper management of agricultural activities and
fertilization practices requires an improved understanding of nitrogen
losses to the coastal lagoons via groundwater and surface water

Contributions Beyond Science and Engineering:
 We have engaged in studies designed aid the conservation of avian
fauna and better understanding of the extent and change in
exotic plant species in the coastal zone in conjunction with The
Nature Conservancy. (Erwin, Moncrief, Porter, Hayden, Blum, Young)

Knowledge of the relationship between land use, nutrient contamination
of groundwater, groundwater export of nutrients to coastal lagoons,
and the fate of nutrients within lagoons will be of benefit to state
and federal agencies charged with managing coastal resources.

Linking information about variation in microbial community structure
and microbially controlled processes (e.g., nitrogen-fixation), will
allow prediction of how critical ecosystem processes will be affected
by disturbances due to human activities in the coastal zone. (Blum)

Activities with the UN programs on observing global change along
coastal ecosystems have significance for broad aspects of public
welfare and environmental protection. (Christian)

Special Requirements for Annual Project Report:

Unobligated funds: less than 20 percent of current funds
Categories for which nothing is reported:
Special Reporting Requirements
Animal, Human Subjects, Biohazards

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View Findings PDF File

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