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Predicting Change

Long-term studies show that two simple environmental factors, distance from the shoreline and elevation above sea level, determine patterns in barrier island vegetation. VCR scientists are using this knowledge to forecast climate change effects on these fragile coastal landscapes.

Shao, G., D. R. Young and J. H. Porter. 1998. An integration of remotes sensing and GIS to examine the responses of shrub thicket distributions to shoreline changes on Virginia barrier islands. Journal of Coastal Research 14: 299-307.
Young, D. R., J. H. Porter, C. M. Bachmann, G. Shao, R. A. Fusina, J. H. Bowles, D. Korwan, and T. F. Donato. 2007. Cross-scale patterns in shrub thicket dynamics in the Virginia barrier complex. Ecosystems 10: 854-863.
Naumann, J. D., J. E. Anderson, and D. R. Young. 2008. Linking physiological responses, chlorophyll fluorescence and hyperspectral imagery to detect salinity stress using the physiological reflectance index in the coastal shrub, Myrica cerifera. Remote Sensing of Environments 112: 3865-3875.
Dr. Don Young
Shrubs (Morella cerifera) growing behind a grassy dune on a barrier island in the VCR LTER site.
S. T. Brantley
Elevation and distance from the shoreline are key factors in determining vegetation dynamics on barrier islands in the VCR LTER site. Elevation determines the availability of groundwater for plants, with lower elevations more susceptible to flooding and higher elevations more vulnerable to stress from water scarcity. Distance from the shoreline modulates the extent to which salt spray, disturbance, and abrasion by windblown sand impact vegetation.
D. Young, 2011.



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