The Wetlands Lab and E534, the Restoration Ecology class, traveled to Madison County, Indiana on April 23, 2016 to assist a local farmer with restoring 6.2 acres of forested wetlands and 5.8 acres of scrub-shrub wetland on his property. The team planted 3,000 saplings of facultative and facultative wet tree species. The site will be monitored for the next 5 years by measuring survivorship of planted seedlings and assessing indicators of wetland hydrology and hydric soils.
PBS Newshour visited our climate change-driven sea level rise field experiment in August 2015. The Seawater Addition Long Term Experiment, or SALTEx, tests the effects of saltwater intrusion and increased flooding on a tidal freshwater marsh along the Georgia (USA) coast. It is a large, replicated field experiment where we dose plots with brackish- or fresh-water to investigate the effects of sea level rise on freshwater marsh structure, function, and ecosystem services. Correspondents also visited our freshwater tidal forest site upstream on the Altamaha River that may be affected by sea level rise in the future. Funded by the National Science Foundation, SALTEx is part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research project based on Sapelo Island, Georgia. To learn more, please go to the PBS Newshour links…
Wetlands Lab members Chris Craft and Ellen Herbert met with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during his climate change road trip through the Southeastern United States, April 21-25, 2014. During his visit to Sapelo Island, Georgia, Senator Whitehouse met with scientists, policy makers, and natural resource managers to discuss the effects of climate change on the people and ecosystems of the region. Herbert talked with Senator Sheldon about the effects of sea level rise and saltwater intrusion on coastal wetlands. Craft discussed the importance on long-term monitoring to assess natural variability versus human effects on climate, including changing precipitation patterns and freshwater flows to the coast.
Professor Craft was on sabbatical leave in 2013 and 2014. He spent time as a visiting scholar at the Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague (2013), and Ha Noi University of Science (HUS), Vietnam National University (2014). Craft also worked on two books, Wetland Soils 2nd edition co-edited with Mike Vepraskas, and Creating and Restoring Wetlands, to be published by Elsevier in 2015.
O'Neill Professor Emeritus Roy Shin visited Sapelo Island, Georgia, in May, 2013. Working alongside Professor Chris Craft and Ph.D. students Ellen Herbert and Owen Langman, Professor Shin visited wetland research sites along the Altamaha River, including the long-term nutrient enrichment experiment in a tidal freshwater marsh and the newly established tidal forest monitoring site.
In September 2012, the Wetlands Lab collected soil cores from an urban wetland complex in Woodbridge, New Jersey, which is located in the greater New York City metro area. A 17.5 acre (7 ha) salt marsh along Woodbridge Creek, was selected for restoration as part of the natural resource damage compensation from the Exxon Bayway Oil Spill in 1990. Restoration was completed in 2007 by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, in conjunction with HDR, Inc., a national consulting firm. We are conducting post-restoration monitoring that includes quantifying plant productivity and species diversity, porewater sulfide and salinity concentration, as well as soil properties such as organic carbon, total nitrogen and phosphorus content. By comparing the restored site to its pre-restoration condition and to a nearby reference site located in the same highly urbanized area, our goal is to determine if the restoration was successful in restoring the function of the marsh to its natural state.
In June 2012, Wetlands Lab members Holly Halifax, Annie Bowling & Chris Craft collected soil cores from four tidal marsh complexes in New England. The sites were located in Maine (Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Massachusetts (Parker River NWR), Long Island NY (Wertheim NWR), and New Jersey (Forsythe NWR). The goal of this project is to quantify standing stocks and rates of carbon (C) sequestration, and to determine if open marsh water management affects the ability of these wetlands to sequester C. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Region 5.
Wetlands Lab alumni Brianna Richards (MSES 2012), Anya Hopple (BSES 2011), Ellen Herbert (PhD, current) and John Marton (PhD 2012) reunited at the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL) Wetlands conference in Orlando Florida, June 2-8 2012. Many presentations and posters were given by Team members. Fond memories were shared by all.
Chris Craft was the recipient of the 2012 National Wetlands Award for Science Research. The award, sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute and six federal agencies, has been given since 1989. The award is one of six categories (State, Tribal, Local Program Development, Land Stewardship, Conservation and Restoration, Science Research, Education and Outreach, Wetland Community Leader) given annually. Chris accepted the award in a ceremony held at the U.S. Botanic Garden on May 10, 2012.
In April 2012, Chris Craft (Wetlands Lab) and Susan Johnson (SPEA Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations) visited Pescadero to meet Janet Duey-Murphy, the benefactor of the Duey-Murphy Professorship of Rural Land Policy. The goals of the Professorship are to promote efforts to enhance rural land reclamation and restoration, affect state and national water policies and serve as an advocate for rural land policy issues.
During our visit, Janet gave us a tour of her gardens containing more than 700 species of trees, shrubs and herbs collected from around the globe. We also made an excursion to nearby Butano State Park, nestled in the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest. We are grateful to Janet for endowing this Professorship in support of sound rural (wet)land science, restoration, management and stewardship!
Anya Hopple and Melanie Arnold work on their plant identification skills during a site visitIn July 2011, Wetlands Lab members Chris Craft, Anya Hopple, Brianna Richards, and Melanie Arnold attended the Grassland Restoration Network Workshop hosted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in northwestern Indiana. The workshop attracted approximately 80 participants from around the country and took place at the Efroymson Family Restoration at Kankakee Sands; an 8,200 acre prairie, savanna, and wetland preserve managed by TNC.
The two-and-a-half day workshop consisted of discussion groups to answer questions pertaining to prairie grassland and wetland restoration success, quality, and projected goals. During the conference, Anya Hopple presented her research on how managed disturbance enhances biodiversity of restored wetlands in the agricultural Midwest, using the restored wetlands at Kankakee Sands.
In addition to our work on plant biodiversity at Kankakee Sands, lab members John Marton (PhD Student) and Brianna Richards (MS Student) conduct research there focused on the role of restored wetlands in water quality improvement, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Scholars from the Wetlands Lab visited China for two weeks in August 2011 to explore potential collaborations with well-known wetland research groups in three Chinese cities. Traveling were Dr. Chris Craft, Yanlong He, Ellen Herbert and John Marton from Indiana University, and Drs. Steven Pennings and Hongyu Guo from the University of Houston. They were hosted by leading Chinese scientists, including Drs. Yihui Zhang (Xiamen University), Guanghui Lin (Tsinghua University), Baoshan Cui, Junhong Bai and Xiaowen Li (Beijing Normal University), Xiuzhen Li (East China Normal University) and Bo Li (Fudan University). Chinese graduate students Yanlong He (East China Normal University) and Qiang He (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) also played a major role as local guides.
Dr. Christopher Craft in mangrove stands in Zhangjiang Estuary, southern China. At each location, Professors Craft and Pennings gave scientific and career development lectures, and interacted with Chinese faculty and graduate students about their research projects. The U.S. visitors traveled to mangrove forests in the Zhangjiang Estuary near Xiamen, and tidal marshes of the Yellow River delta near Dong Ying (southeast of Beijing) and on Chongming Island (near Shanghai), gaining an appreciation for variation in coastal wetlands across a wide range of the Chinese coast. Of particular interest to the U.S. visitors were the stands of exotic Spartina alterniflora (native to the United States) at all three locations, the rapidly growing deltaic wetlands at the mouths of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, the high levels of aquaculture and fishing affecting Chinese estuaries and wetlands, and efforts to restore wetlands in these regions.
Professor Craft and Yanlong he also visited the Chinese Academy of Sciences Northeast Institute of Geography and Agro-Ecology in Changchun and the Honghe Wetlands Field Station in the Sanjiang Plain of far northeast China during their stay.
The Chinese hosts provided extraordinary hospitality to the U.S. visitors. The trip was very productive, and researchers from both countries are eager to pursue additional steps to expand the initial contacts into full-fledged research collaborations.
The Wetlands Lab thanks the National Science Foundation for funding an international travel supplement to the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research program, and their Chinese hosts for covering many expenses within China.