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Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences Graduate Seminar Announcement - Emory Wellman

When: Wednesday, March 29, 2023
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: This seminar is dedicated to Dr. Brian Howes in honor of his substantial research and achievements as Chancellor Professor and Director of the Coastal Systems Program.

The School for Marine Science and Technology
Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences
Seminar Announcement

“Reef design and site hydrodynamics mediate oyster restoration and marsh stabilization outcomes”

Emory Wellman
PhD Student
University of Florida

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
SMAST East, Rooms 101-102

The detrimental ecological impacts of engineered shoreline protection methods and the need to protect the coast have prompted research into natural and nature-based infrastructure (NNBI). To balance competing structural and ecological needs, NNBI designs must be assessed in differing environmental settings (e.g., among wave-energy regimes). To examine the effects of setting and design on the provision of shoreline protection, we constructed reefs from two substrates: a novel, biodegradable material (Oyster Catcher, OC) and traditional oyster shell bags (SB) on low- and high-energy eroding salt marsh shorelines. Both reef types minimized marsh elevation loss on the high-energy shoreline, but only SB reefs did so on the low-energy shoreline. Additionally, retreat and loss of marsh vegetation were high on both shorelines. Although reefs did not mitigate marsh retreat on the low-energy shoreline, OC reefs significantly reduced retreat relative to SB reefs and control sites (no reefs) on the high-energy shoreline. Those SB reefs were severely damaged by storms, increasing their areal footprints and losing vertical relief. Conversely, OC reefs on both shorelines steadily recruited oysters and hosted higher densities of larger oysters. To provide shoreline stabilization benefits, oyster-based NNBI must be structurally stable and capable of promoting sustained oyster recruitment and growth. Our results indicate that deliberate decisions regarding NNBI substrate, siting, and configuration can produce reefs which reduce rates of erosion and, in some cases, enhance vertical accretion along marsh edges.
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Meeting ID: 974 4006 9270
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Contact: > See Description for contact information
Topical Areas: School for Marine Sciences and Technology, SMAST Seminar Series