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Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) strandings have been documented in Alabama since 1978, with enhanced data collection since 1996. Members of the public report sick, injured, and deceased marine mammals to the state stranding network and are asked to submit descriptions and/or photographs to confirm the species, location, and other necessary ...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

The Pascagoula River Estuary contains one of the most expansive marsh ecosystems on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The marsh provides essential economic and ecological services by supporting fisheries, filtering impurities and sediments from estuarine waters, and reducing storm surge impacts to upland areas. To assess spatial changes in marsh extent o...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

Marine debris constitutes as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and, directly or indirectly, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment. The presence of marine debris has been shown to have significant environmental and economic impacts. Unfortunately, the quantity of marine debris is increasing at accelerating ...

Oral Presentation

In this work, we demonstrate a suite of conservation tools for conservation prioritization and visualization that enables integration of 1) openly available peer-reviewed data from federal and state agencies, 2) the priorities and values identified in local and regional plans with those identified by stakeholders representing local and regional age...

Oral Presentation

The Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) was designated as Mississippi’s Center of Excellence in September 2016. MBRACE is a consortium of Mississippi’s four research universities (Jackson State University [JSU], Mississippi State University [MSU], University of Mississippi [UM], and The University of Southern Mississippi...

Oral Presentation

Tag Alabama is a partnership between CCA Alabama, the University of South Alabama Department of Marine Sciences, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Tag Alabama gives CCA Members the opportunity to participate in angler-based Atlantic Tarpon, Red Drum, and Speckled Trout research in coastal Alabama and surrounding waterways. After attending a training ...

Oral Presentation

While coastal and marine infrastructure (CMI) such as ports and marinas, add a significant amount of hard substrate for marine organisms to inhabit, they do not support similar species assemblages to those of natural habitats. Standard CMI are designed and built to comply with specified engineering and operational requirements (strength, longevity ...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

Copepods are considered the best initial live food item for the feeding of many marine fish. However, the culture of copepods on a large scale has been problematic due to the high variability of productivity of cultures and the relatively low density that can be applied in culture. Understanding the impact that different environmental conditions ha...

Oral Presentation

Within the last five decades, northern hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria, aquaculture has grown into a thriving industry along the east coast and, notably, the Gulf Coast of Florida. Within the Gulf of Mexico, the Cedar Key area is flourishing as a producer of hard clams with about 125 million clams harvested annually. This industry brings $45 milli...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

The Watershed Game is a decade-old proven interactive tool for educating audiences about relationships between land use and water quality in streams, lakes, and large rivers. Existing in both local leader (policymakers, community leaders) and classroom (student) versions, the game allows players to understand how land use impacts water quality, inc...

Oral Presentation

Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in estuaries are known to provide many ecosystem services. However, anthropogenic stressors such as development, dredging, boat traffic, and excess nutrient loading are rapidly causing declines in SAV. The actions of waterfront property owners can directly lead to the impairment of SAV and consequently hamper many...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

Basic demographic data such as size variation in a stranded population can provide critical information about population dynamics, particularly for highly mobile marine mammals that can be difficult or costly to directly monitor. The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is found in coastal and nearshore environments throughout the world a...

Oral Presentation

The Marine Education Center (MEC), part of the University of Southern Mississippi, recently expanded a multi-year Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) program to reach students from across the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast. The program focuses on coastal hazard resilience and aligns with the Community Resilience Index (CRI), a MS-A...

Oral Presentation

As glacio-eustatic sea-level change continues to impact coastal communities, an increased understanding of surface elevation changes within coastal areas is crucial to predicting the fate of coastal infrastructure, ecosystems, and habitats. The purpose of this study is to examine the spatial extent and variability of subsidence using an east-west t...

Oral Presentation

Establishing clear objectives for restoration can help to reduce uncertainty in restoration implementation by aligning actions with measurable outcomes. Several methods exist for developing objectives, such as conducting workshops to elicit and prioritize values from relevant stakeholders or facilitating activities to translate broad goals into mea...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

Shallow coastal sediments and their burrowing invertebrate (infauna) communities are important for nutrient cycling and carbon storage. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, frequent storms disturb infauna and resuspend sediments. Re-consolidation of sediments following a storm impacts infaunal habitat suitability and community recovery, but this has bee...

Oral Presentation

The University of Southern Mississippi Marine Education Center and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art teamed up to offer summer camp online during the pandemic. The camp was a pilot project to explore compelling ways of delivering art and science virtually. The partners chose the oyster as the topic. Each day the team linked one hour of online oyste...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

There has been a constant battle with land owners and shoreline erosion. In the past, the main defense against erosion has been the construction of hardened structures. However, these structures eventually fail, require expensive maintenance, and change the ecosystem of the shoreline. This study will compare hardened shorelines to a newer alternati...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

The Harmful Algal BloomS Observation System (HABSOS) is a web based data collection and distribution system for harmful algal bloom (HAB) information in the Gulf of Mexico, operated by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The goal of HABSOS is to provide environmental managers, scientists, and the public a resource for HA...

Oral Presentation

For more than 50 years, Sea Grant has established collaborative relationships across the United States, linking science to application. Recently, the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Science Outreach Team, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), and the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) partnered to expand the use of long-term records of coa...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

The Gulf of Mexico is an area of rich culture and beautiful coastlines; however, coastal living comes with ever-increasing risk. Communities are already experiencing increased flooding and exacerbated storm surge due in part to sea-level rise (SLR). Many Gulf communities are already taking steps to become more resilient to current and future hazard...

Oral Presentation

Mobile, apex predators are commonly assumed to stabilize food webs through trophic coupling across spatially distinct habitats. The assumption that trophic coupling is common remains largely untested, despite evidence that individual behaviors of these predators might limit trophic coupling. We used stable isotope data from common bottlenose dolphi...

Oral Presentation

An increased number of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) with skin lesions indicative of freshwater exposure stranded in Alabama during Spring 2020. Little is known about the salinity threshold and length of exposure required for lesions to appear. Grossly, these lesions present acutely as combinations of pale, proliferative skin with areas ...

Oral Presentation

Together with the City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mobile County, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy implemented a large scale restoration project committed to protecting and preserving the coastal community of Bayou La Batre from future storms and coastal hazar...

Oral Presentation

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was founded in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWH) with a commitment of $500 million in non-penalty funds by BP to conduct science to understand the impacts of oil spills on the environment and to public health. Now in its tenth and final year, GoMRI leadership and investigators are wrapp...

Oral Presentation

Oysters and other bivalve shellfish assimilate elements from the environment into their shell and soft tissues, making them potentially useful bioindicators of pollution to local waters. Unlike soft tissues, shell material is not readily metabolized and may provide a temporally explicit record of past pollution exposure. To determine if shell can b...

Oral Presentation

Commercial shrimpers in the Mississippi Sound frequently encounter marine debris in their nets, resulting in the loss of time and catch, and added repair costs. However, there is no formal reporting procedure in place for reporting these interactions and, thus, little data exists on the types, abundances, or economic impact of marine debris in the ...

Oral Presentation

Manmade freshwater diversion efforts in Louisiana will likely drive gradual community shifts of brackish and salt-tolerant plants species to more freshwater oriented species. Sagittaria lancifolia, a freshwater dominant wetland species, may replace salt-tolerant species as salinity regimes are altered due to freshwater diversion input. Therefore, t...

Oral Presentation

In 2020, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium offered a Coastal Science Fellowship for Minority Undergraduates for the first time in an effort to broaden diversity in coastal sciences in the region. Fellows were recruited from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in MS and AL to participate in a 10 week program. Each selecte...

3-Minute Lightning Talk

The occurrence of microplastic (MP) pollution in consumer seafood is an increasingly studied and worrying circumstance. Microplastics have been found to negatively impact marine life that ingests them and filter feeding organisms and detritivores are particularly vulnerable. Compounding this, many of these species, like oysters, are foundational sp...

Oral Presentation