Conservation: Basic Ecology and Applied Conservation Issues

Resilience of intertidal oysters (Crassostrea virginica) to biological and abiotic stressors:

  • Recreational boat wakes and hurricanes
  • Brown tide and other algal blooms
  • Boring sponge infection
  • Invasive mussels and barnacles
  • Genetic diversity of oysters and marshgrasses used in restoration
  • Microplastics
  • Infaunal abundance and diversity
  • Mangrove/oyster interactions on intertidal reefs with changing climate
  • Direct human impacts – boat strikes, harvesting

Boat with dual motors on a lake

Understanding the ecology and loss of estuarine shorelines:

  • Improving greenhouse growing methods for mangroves and marshgrasses
  • Recruitment and success of juvenile mangroves at a range of wave energies
  • Microplastics in coastal waters and sediments, especially around stormwater outfalls
  • Use of shorelines by infauna and threatened/endangered wading birds
  • Modelling suitability of shorelines for stabilization

Threatened and endangered wading birds:

  • Understanding how restoration helps improve estuarine habitats for birds
  • Seasonal and spatial abundances and diversity of birds in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida
  • Bird use of human-produced structures (e.g. poles and pilings) vs natural perches
  • Human impacts on bird behaviors, including nesting

We combine extensive field research with laboratory and GIS data collection to address these and additional questions in the Indian River Lagoon.  We collaborate with biologists, ecologists, biogeochemists, modelers, engineers, drone experts, resource managers, outreach specialists and many others to improve our understanding of these processes.  These data provide insights to improve restoration.

Conservation: Current and Recent Projects

National Science Foundation, “CNH-L: Restoration and Resilience in Coupled Human-Natural Systems: Reciprocal Dynamics of a Coastal “Lagoon in Crisis”, 2016-2021.

Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, “Microplastics, Oysters and the Indian River Lagoon”, 2018 – 2020.

Disney Conservation Fund, “Endangered Birds, Imperiled Oyster Reefs, and Engaging Children with Cancer”, 2018 – 2020.

Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, “Developing a Shoreline Restoration Suitability Model for North Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon, Phase II”, 2018 – 2020.

Brevard County Natural Resources, “Brevard County SOIRL (Save Our Indian River Lagoon) Living Shoreline Monitoring”, 2018 – 2020.

Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, “Developing a Shoreline Suitability Model, Phase I: Evaluation of Shoreline Characteristics in the Northern Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon”, 2016 – 2017.

Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, “Developing a Shoreline Habitat Restoration and Management Plan for Brevard County – Phase I”, 2016 – 2017.