The Ups and Downs of Coastal Marsh Elevation Modeling

VCR LTER Coastal Bay

The frequency of large coastal storms and hurricanes is on the rise, impacting the biological services that wetlands and marshes provide. Modeling makes it possible to predict how future storms may affect these ecosystems, but accurately modeling widespread impacts of large storms like Hurricane Sandy, which bombarded much of the U.S. eastern shoreline, requires significant… Read more »

Can seagrass meadows mitigate climate change?

As anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase, scientists have now recognized seagrass meadows—which typically have high rates of carbon storage—as important ‘blue carbon’ sinks. However, rising ocean temperatures threaten seagrass meadows, along with their ability to retain carbon. This underlines the need for precise ecosystem data on the vulnerability and resilience of these meadows… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Restoring Seagrass in Virginia’s Estuaries

View from a VCR LTER research boat cruising along estuaries where seagrass restoration projects are underway.

Exploring the Estuary The waters lapping against the shoreline marshes reflected bright blue sky above. I sat in the front of the Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research (VCR LTER) site’s boat, exploring the estuary with VCR LTER’s dedicated staff. The tall Spartina alternifora grasses waved in the breeze a foot or two above… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: A Shrubby Invasion

PhD researcher Joe Brown looking out over a barrier island in the Virginia Coast Reserve.

Islands on the Move I stood on a windy barrier island, hair whipping around my face as my boots crunched across beach seashells. The waves crashed into the sand, here and there stirring up food for one of the many gulls seeking rest or prey on this island. Before me stretched the Atlantic Ocean, as… Read more »

LTER Road trip: A Changing Landscape along Virginia’s Eastern Shore

PhD student Victoria Long displaying one of the plant species at her study site along Virginia's Eastern Shore, where salt marsh is starting to expand into agricultural fields.

A Long Legacy Victoria Long has a deep connection to the land here in Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Her family has farmed this land for generations—since 1652 to be exact. She grew up a few miles from the Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, attended the local high school and began to work… Read more »

Oyster Reef Soundscapes (VCR)

Martin Volaric (UVA Environmental Sciences) & Eli Stine (Music) Researchers studying intertidal oyster reefs are using sound recordings as a proxy for reef activity. During Summer 2018, researchers at the VCR-LTER made a series of recordings with two goals in mind:Credit: Cora Ann Johnston1) Pair sound with environmental measurements to study how reefs respond to… Read more »

Art & Ecology (VCR)

Each year, art and science teachers are invited to Art and Ecology workshops that link Plein Aire landscape painting and observational drawing to salt marsh ecology and climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems. Nearly 30 teachers per year participate in these professional development opportunities, and over half return for a 2nd workshop. Workshops focus on… Read more »

Environmental Humanities Conservatory (VCR)

listening conservatory VCR

The Environmental Humanities Conservatory is a collaboration between VCR-LTER and the UVA Department of Religion and Environmental Resilience Institute that aims to use listening to detect and understand coastal futures. The Conservatory works alongside scientific researchers and experts in ecoacoustics, anthropology, literature, ethics, and history to explore skills that help people interpret the magnitude of… Read more »

Bruce Hayden: a remarkable scientist, leader, and educator

The Network received some sad news from the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER this week. They shared the following remembrance of Bruce Hayden, who passed away on September 10. A memorial service will be arranged later in the year. The family asks any donations in lieu of flowers be contributed to your local volunteer rescue squad or to support research at the Department of Environmental Sciences, UVA.