A new video featuring VCR/LTER researcher Laura Moore and her students is available. See: https://endeavors.unc.edu/keepers-of-our-coast/
Effective April 9, 2018, Dr. Cora A. Johnston has taken on the role of Site Director for the Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center. She will also direct the Education and Outreach programs, with assistance from Donna Fauber.
Cora is a coastal ecologist, who recently completed a post-doctoral research appointment at the University of California – Santa Barbara. She comes to us with an impressive combination of collaborative and leadership skills, ecological research experience, and training in STEM education and outreach.
Cora grew up on the Eastern Shore, and so has a strong sense of place for the ecosystems and people of the region.
EOS has provided a “Research Spotlight” regarding research on the impact of hurricanes on the Virginia coast: https://eos.org/research-spotlights/impact-of-hurricanes-and-noreasters-on-coastal-forests . It highlights the paper “Declining Radial Growth Response of Coastal Forests to Hurricanes and Nor’easters” by Arnold Fernandes Christine R. Rollinson William S. Kearney Michael C. Dietze Sergio Fagherazzi that was published earlier this year in The Journal of Geophysical Research (https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JG004125).
The research of Penn State meteorology and LTER graduate student Jesus Ruiz-Plancarte is featured in a new story about uses of graduate fellowships.
You can read the full story at: http://news.psu.edu/story/511148/2018/03/19/research/fellowships-help-graduate-student-trace-carbon-cycling-salt-marsh
VCR/LTER Researchers Karen McGlathery and Peter Berg were featured in a recent UVA research highlights video at: Video of Seagrass and Sediments Research
A story on VCU’s web page features many photos of VCR/LTER researchers led by Julie Zinnert on Hog Island. You can read the full story and see the many photos at: https://vcu.exposure.co/island-time
A new press release from the National Science foundation highlights the role of LTER science addressing coastal armoring and its effects on ecological processes. https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242562
UVA Today has a new article on UVA’s Environmental Resilience Institute that features many photos of VCR/LTER researchers and the ABCRC.
Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research project student Amy Ferguson won one of the top awards for posters at the 2017 Robert J. Huskey Graduate Research Exhibition. Her poster “Making the case for nature-based solutions to coastal erosion in Virginia’s coastal bays” tied for 1st Place in Division 1 – Natural Sciences Poster Presentation. The R.J. Huskey exhibition showcases the work done by graduate students at the University of Virginia. Each poster was rated on how effectively it: 1) set up the question being investigated; 2) framed the question in context of its broader importance; 3) communicated an evidence-based argument; 4) was accessible to an audience of diverse backgrounds.
Amy’s poster focused on the suitability of nature-based protection techniques to reduce coastal erosion. Sea level rise, increased storminess, and human population growth amplify coastal erosion problems, pressuring landowners to implement shoreline protection measures. Growing concern over the negative impacts of traditional shoreline protection methods (seawalls or bulkheads) has increased interest in nature-based solutions, called “living shorelines”. Studies offer encouraging findings that living shorelines that use natural marsh vegetation and constructed oyster reefs can control erosion while maintaining ecosystem functions.
Her project explores the factors influencing erosion along salt marshes and the suitability of individual shorelines for nature-based protection techniques. Using geospatial information, a Marsh Vulnerability Index was developed that relates disparate factors related to shoreline erosion and serves as the foundation for living shoreline design and placement recommendations. Field study investigated the effects of marsh vegetation and constructed oyster reefs in Virginia’s coastal bays on dampening waves, the main driver of shoreline erosion. Marsh vegetation was found to dampen waves by 91% over a 20-meter transect when water levels are high; and, constructed oyster reefs were effective at dampening waves when water levels are low to moderate. These results suggest that combining marsh vegetation with constructed oyster reefs may offer effective and sustainable long-term coastal protection.
Ultimately, data from this study will be incorporated into The Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience online decision-support tool, where it can be easily viewed, queried, and analyzed with other geospatial data to find cost-effective, nature-based solutions to coastal erosion problems.