Healthy Coastal Ecosystems Virtual Oral Abstracts
Dec 02, 2020 10:00 AM - Dec 31, 2020 11:30 AM(America/Chicago)
20201202T1000 20201202T1130 America/Chicago Healthy Coastal Ecosystems - Wetland Ecology (Oral)

Development, resource extraction, climate change and other anthropogenic stressors on coastal ecosystems are issues of management concern. Scientists and stakeholders are attempting to understand such impacts and find integrative coastal management strategies. The seascape changes that may occur to coastal habitats because of these stressors can be dire. For example, changes in the hydrogeomorphology of a landscape combined impacts of subsidence, sea level rise and alterations in freshwater flow may have negative impacts on coastal habitats. They may also have cascading impacts on the many species residing in these habitats. The focus of this track is to present research, policy and educational opportunities and tools that have been used to improve our understanding of habitat vulnerability. This track is intended to provide a venue for scientists and managers to share their insights about habitat protection, conservation and restoration in light of the inevitable changes to our coasts. 

Virtual 2020 Bays and Bayous Symposium melissa.schneider@usm.edu
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration logoMobile Bay National Estuary Program logoMississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium logoThe University of Southern Mississippi  logoDauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation logoAlabama State Port Authority logoMississippi Commercial Fisheries United logoGulf of Mexico Alliance logoHydro, LLC logoGeosyntec  logoNorthern Gulf Institute logoGoodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc. logoNeel-Schaffer, inc. logoHeadwaters LLC logoStantec Consulting Services Inc. logoDog River Clearwater Revival logoEnvironmental Science Associates (ESA) logoThompson Engineering logo

Development, resource extraction, climate change and other anthropogenic stressors on coastal ecosystems are issues of management concern. Scientists and stakeholders are attempting to understand such impacts and find integrative coastal management strategies. The seascape changes that may occur to coastal habitats because of these stressors can be dire. For example, changes in the hydrogeomorphology of a landscape combined impacts of subsidence, sea level rise and alterations in freshwater flow may have negative impacts on coastal habitats. They may also have cascading impacts on the many species residing in these habitats. The focus of this track is to present research, policy and educational opportunities and tools that have been used to improve our understanding of habitat vulnerability. This track is intended to provide a venue for scientists and managers to share their insights about habitat protection, conservation and restoration in light of the inevitable changes to our coasts. 

Avian Use of Marsh Terraces in Gulf Coastal Wetlands View Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/02 16:00:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 16:15:00 UTC
Gulf of Mexico coastal wetlands support millions of migratory birds annually. However, between 2004 and 2009, Gulf states have experienced 71% of the total decline of coastal wetlands within the conterminous United States with Louisiana accounting for most of this loss. Marsh terracing is one method used to combat coastal wetland loss. This restoration technique uses in situ sediment to construct segmented ridges in open water areas of shallow coastal wetlands to dissipate erosive wave energy, reduce turbidity, increase submerged aquatic vegetation production, and create habitat for a diversity of avian species. Despite widespread use of marsh terraces in coastal restoration, research on their value as bird habitat is limited and inconclusive. Using both ground and aerial surveys, our study evaluates avian use of marsh terraces across multiple paired sites (terraced and non-terraced) in coastal Louisiana. Surveys focused on two guilds of birds: breeding secretive marsh birds and wintering waterfowl. Preliminary results from our first field season indicated: 1) terraced sites were used predominately by non-focal species such as red-winged blackbirds, 2) low use of terraced sites by focal marsh bird species, 3) and generally low use of terraced and non-terraced sites by wintering waterfowl, although species abundances varied in space and time. Field efforts are ongoing, and data collection will be completed by July 2021. Future analysis will examine relationship between avian use and habitat characteristics of study sties (e.g., submerged aquatic vegetation, diversity and structure of emergent vegetation). Marsh complexes throughout the Gulf region, including the “Biloxi” marshes in southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi, continue to experience significant marsh loss. Our results will better inform decisions on restoration techniques used to minimize marsh loss and improve bird habitat at local and regional scales.
Presenters Madelyn McFarland
Mississippi State University
Co-authors
BD
Brian Davis
Mississippi State University
MB
Michael Brasher
Ducks Unlimited Inc
MW
Mark S. Woodrey
Mississippi State University
LR
Larry Reynolds
Louisiana Department Of Wildlife And Fisheries
Evaluating Functional and Trophic Equivalence of Restored Marshes on Deer Island, MSView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 10:15 AM - 10:30 AM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/02 16:15:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 16:30:00 UTC
Monotypic stands of Juncus roemerianus dominate the marshes of Mississippi and other areas in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Although Juncus-dominated marshes are common in this region, few studies examined the effects of restoration efforts on faunal inhabitants of these marsh ecosystems. Deer Island is a remnant island off the coast of Biloxi, Mississippi and has been subject to erosion and morphological changes since the 1850s resulting in a loss of one third its original footprint. Restoration projects began on the island in 2003 to restore the Juncus-dominated landscape, hydrology, soil characteristics, and community structure in hopes of enhancing ecological functions such carbon sequestration and fisheries support. To assess the outcome of these restoration efforts, this study examined environmental characteristics, faunal community structure, and trophic support in two restored marshes (5+ yrs old and 15+ yrs old) and a natural reference marsh (100+ yrs old). Transect sampling targeted fiddler crabs, periwinkles, olive snails, and ribbed mussels on the marsh surface, while minnow trap sampling in submerged areas targeted nekton. Invertebrate abundances along the transects were significantly higher in the natural marsh. Nekton abundance, species richness, and Simpson’s index of diversity varied by site and season. We used mixed effects models to observe these differences as a function of percent Juncus cover and total vegetation cover. Stable isotope analysis (SIA) will provide insight as to whether Juncus is a primary basal carbon source for consumers and how energy is transferred through food webs in the restored marshes compared to the natural marsh. Our assessment of consumer community structure, combined with previous studies evaluating environmental and vegetative characteristics provide a thorough assessment of restoration efforts on Deer Island, MS and gives insight into future restoration projects on Juncus-dominated marshes in this area.
Presenters Emelia Marshall
The University Of Southern Mississippi
Co-authors M. Zachary Darnell
The University Of Southern Mississippi
PB
Patrick Biber
The University Of Southern Missisippi
KD
Kevin Dillon
USM Division Of Coastal Sciences
From Devastation to Regeneration: Atlantic White-Cedar Regeneration 14 Years Post- Hurricane Katrina View Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/02 16:30:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 16:45:00 UTC
The number and severity of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast are increasing, resulting in intensified disturbance to coastal forest communities. Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) grows no further than one hundred miles from the coast, making the species and associated plant communities particularly vulnerable to large-scale disturbances such as hurricanes. Occurring primarily along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida, this species does form isolated communities along the Gulf Coast regions of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Atlantic white-cedar is imperiled and at risk of extirpation by extreme weather events, altered disturbance regimes, changes in hydrology, and management. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the recovery of Atlantic white-cedar 14-years post-Hurricane Katrina. Pre- and post- Hurricane Katrina data were compared with recent data to determine how Southern Mississippi’s Atlantic white-cedar has recovered post-Hurricane Katrina. All Atlantic white-cedar ≥ 2.5 cm at breast height (1.37 m) were inventoried within a ~4.85 ha study area located within Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Jackson County, Mississippi. This inventory was compared with data obtained after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to evaluate the long-term impacts of hurricanes on the stand density for this species. Following the 2005 hurricane, Atlantic white-cedar has increased in density across the study site. This increase was spatially correlated with wind damaged and toppled trees previously recorded within this population just after the hurricane. The structural changes caused by the hurricane disturbance supported the regeneration of this imperiled species. Understanding the long-term recovery of Atlantic white-cedar allows land managers and conservationists to more effectively manage for the species on the landscape.
Presenters Clayton W. Hale
Department Of Forestry, Mississippi State University
Co-authors
JG
Joshua J. Granger
Department Of Forestry, Mississippi State University
Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University
The University of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi State University
No moderator for this session!
 Crystal  Hightower
University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
 Tom Herder
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Florida DEP
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