Projects

Coastal Ecosystems Group

A complete listing of funded research grants from 2007 to the present is available here. Listed below are a selection of recent projects conducted by Coastal Ecosystems Group researchers.

Mississippi Coastal Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV), Research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory by Dr. Patrick Biber

Mississippi Coastal Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)

Patrick Biber

Seagrant funded this study to determine where submerged aquatic vegetation habitat is found along the Mississippi coastline. We sampled 106 stations from Mobile Bay to the Pearl River and used multivariate statistical analyses to predict the landscape features that were most important in describing where SAV are commonly found.

Additional project information

Oil Spill Impacts and Recovery, Research at GCRL by Dr. Patrick Biber Oil Spill Impacts and Recovery

Patrick Biber

In response to the unprecedented amount of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico marine waters during 2010, we initiated two research projects to investigate the impacts and recovery of coastal marsh habitats in Mississippi. Salt marsh habitats in Mississippi were not affected over large areas by oil, but some locations experienced heavy oiling impacts at the local scale.

Additional project information

Seasonal Hypoxia in the Mississippi Bight Seasonal Hypoxia in the Mississippi Bight

Kevin Dillon

Recent studies have found severe hypoxia in the bottom waters off the Mississippi Sound and in the Mississippi Bight. This finding shows that dead-zones are not restricted to the Mississippi River plume in Louisiana.

Shading of Marsh Plants by Docks and Piers Shading of Marsh Plants by Docks and Piers

Patrick Biber

A one year study to do an engineering analysis of shading effects by docks and piers of different construction (height x width x decking type). Responses by Spartina and Juncus to a range of shade stress were also tested and presented in images on this site.

Additional project information

Giant Salvinia and Invasive Aquatic Plants Giant Salvinia and Invasive Aquatic Plants

Patrick Biber

Salvinia molesta, a floating invasive aquatic plant, is one of the top ten worst invasive aquatic weeds in the world. It was discovered in the lower Pascagoula River in 2005 and evidence suggests that this species is spreading along the northern Gulf of Mexico .

Additional project information

Chandeleur Islands Seagrasses - Monitoring and Assessment Chandeleur Islands Seagrasses - Monitoring and Assessment

Patrick Biber

A post-Katrina project to determine the status and trends of the large seagrass meadows along the lee of the Chandeleur Islands, LA. Ties in with data collected by previous researchers at GCRL in 1998 & 1999, looking at impacts of Hurricane Georges.

Additional project information

The Diversity and Role of Root-Associated Fungi in Saltmarsh and Seagrass Plants and Implications for Restoration Success The Diversity and Role of Root-Associated Fungi in Saltmarsh and Seagrass Plants and Implications for Restoration Success

Patrick Biber

The main objective of the proposed work is to investigate the presence and ecological role of natural mycorrhizal fungi in estuarine plant habitats found along the Mississippi coastline, and to determine the effect of the presence of mycorrhizal fungi on seagrass and salt marsh restoration, survival, and function.

Additional project information

Identifying Critical Habitat Across Multiple Scales for Estuarine-Dependent Fishes with a Landscape: Quantitative Tools, Model Development, and Validation Identifying Critical Habitat Across Multiple Scales for Estuarine-Dependent Fishes with a Landscape: Quantitative Tools, Model Development, and Validation

Mark S. Peterson

Collaborators:

  • Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Breeze, FL - Richard Fulford
  • Department of Coastal Sciences, USM - Wei Wu and Paul Grammer

We are attempting to quantify and model critical or nursery habitat for young stages of estuary-dependent fishes at multiple scales along a dynamic river mouth estuary coupling both stationary (ecological) and dynamic (physiological) components of the environment. This requires real-time water quality data coupled with fish abundance along a changing landscape in space and time.

Salt Panne Ecology Salt Panne Ecology

Mark S. Peterson

Collaborators

  • Grand Bay NERR (Gretchen L. Waggy, Mark S. Woodrey, Chris A. May)
  • MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center (Mark S. Woodrey, David W. Held)
  • Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (Jeffery Clark)
  • The University of Georgia (Robert J. Cooper)

The goal of this project is to develop a quantitative assessment and understanding of the role and use of these salt panne habitat in salt marsh ecosystems. Collections are made within the Grand Bay NERR and on Deer Island. We are sampling for vegetation, terrestrial arthropods, benthic invertebrates, decapod crustaceans, fish, birds, and mammals.

Migration and Habitat Use of the Gulf Sturgeon, Acipenser Oxyrinchus Desotoi Migration and Habitat Use of the Gulf Sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi

Mark S. Peterson

We are focusing on movements and habitat use of the threatened Gulf sturgeon mainly in the Pascagoula River ecosystem and adjacent Mississippi Sound using acoustic array technology. We are collaborating with Dr. Todd Slack (ERDC- USACE) and his team on this project and his work on Gulf sturgeon in the Pearl River. Finally, we are initiating a long-term tagging and tracking project with NOAA and a number of colleagues from Louisiana through Florida on large-scale movements among estuaries and river systems in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Fish Reproductive Biology Fish Reproductive Biology

Nancy Brown-Peterson

The reproductive biology of recreationally, commercially, and ecologically important fishes in the Gulf of Mexico is the focus of this ongoing project.  Spawning seasonality, fecundity, spawning frequency, and age and size at maturity are quantified to gain a better understanding of fish life history.  A major component of this project is histological analysis of gonadal tissues, which can be used to understand reproductive seasonality as well as natural and anthropogenic impacts on reproduction.