We are just months away from the end of the DCERP project! It is hard to imagine not having regular meetings with this great group. We are fortunate to have been supported by SERDP for nearly 10 years to conduct research on the delivery and processing of nutrients and carbon at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. It is an exciting time in the project with a large number of papers, and a huge amount of information to support coastal decisions being produced.
Hannah West did a great job on her undergraduate independent research project “Assessing Saltmarsh Efficacy as a Nutrient Sink in Multiple Shoreline Types”. She measured nutrient fluxes in several marshes including: natural, restored, seaward of a bulkhead, landward of a granite sill, landward of an oyster reef, and down stream from a wastewater treatment plant. Her results showed that marsh sediments in all of the settings she sampled denitrified pulses of nitrate.
Kathleen Onorevole successfully defended her thesis, giving a fantastic seminar to a standing room only crowd in the IMS seminar room. She did not rest on her laurels, the next week she published this great article about hurricane research at IMS (read it here). Well done Kathleen!
Students at IMS’s 2016 field site will take on a big challenge in this year’s Capstone class. Led by the Piehler Lab, the class will conceive, design, build, and test a nature-based product to enhance coastal resilience. While the target product will be determined by the students during the scoping phase, opportunities such as retrofits for bulkheads, islands to provide structure and diversity on shorelines that have lost their structured habitats, and devices to ameliorate stormwater impacts are high on the list of candidate projects. This will be fun!
Another great summer is just about in the books. The Piehler Lab 2016 includes (from right to left) Kathleen Onorevole (graduate student in Marine Sciences), Olivia Torano (graduate student in CEE), Suzanne Thompson (lab manager extraordinaire), Adam Gold (graduate student in CEE) and Mike Piehler. (Photo credit – Nathan Hall)
Piehler lab graduate student Adam Gold and Lab Manager Suzanne Thompson have undertaken an ambitious field campaign to assess the effectiveness of stormwater control measures (SCM) at removing nitrogen. They have designed and initiated this project in close collaboration with former Master Sergeant Mike Taylor – now a stormwater specialist at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Information generated by this work will improve our understanding of the efficacy of coastal SCMs and will inform stormwater management. Photo credit to Susan Cohen!
We are excited to be working on Lake Mattamuskeet again! Our research is funded by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and is examining the factors that may influence the potential for restoration of vascular plants. Two potential limitations on restoration of plants in the lake are light availability and grazing. The project involves mapping the amount of light available in the lake for plants, conducting transplant experiments that include treatments that exclude grazers, and quantifying functional differences between areas of the lake with and without plants.
Graduate student Olivia Torano is the newest member of the Piehler lab and is shown here extracting cores with Suzanne Thompson for sediment nutrient and carbon flux measurements. Our research will provide novel information about the ecological and economic value of shallow lake plant restoration in the context of water quality. Monitoring and experimental designs are being closely coordinated with NC Wildlife Resources Commission and US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that the research generates actionable information for management of Mattamuskeet and other similar shallow lakes.
Dina’s new paper, “Spatiotemporal patterns in the export of dissolved organic carbon and chromophoric dissolved organic matter from a coastal, blackwater river” has been published online in Aquatic Sciences. Please have a look here.
Thanks to Frank Graff at UNC TV for helping us tell the story of this exciting project in Rodanthe. See it here !