Effects of Sea-level Rise and Storm Intensification on Coastal Vegetation
Warming is leading to sea-level rise (SLR) and more intense storm surge events with substantial negative impacts for coastal ecosystems. We are quantifying the impacts of SLR and increased storm activity on the distribution of coastal vegetation types on Parris Island, South Carolina through an integration of field data and remote sensing.
Existing vegetation types on Parris Island: description and mapping.
Salt marsh and forest habitat conversion driven by the joint effects of sea-level rise and storm surge intensification.
Collaborators: John Holloway (MCRDPI). Students: Cody Goodson and Peyton Debowsky.
Our research focuses on quantifying vegetation and ecosystem dynamics over space and time and identifying how ecohydrology, climate, fire, and soil properties shape those patterns. In addition, a key goal of our research is to understand how plant communities will response to ongoing and future global environmental change. An important motivation for our work is to inform landscape conservation and land mangement decision-making. We collect field data, use existing large observational data sets and remote sensing, and implement simulation modeling to answer these questions in a variety of ecosystems, including temperate forests and woodlands, drylands dominated by big sagebrush, and salt marshes.
Plant Ecology at Marshall University
Dryland Plant Comunity Response to Multiple Global Change Drivers
Globally, dryland plant communities are projected to be especially affected by climate change because their structure and function are closely tied to precipitation and temperature. However, the impacts of changing climate will not be uniform and will depend on spatially-structured environmental conditions. Our research uses an individual-based plant simulation models to explore the impacts of climate change, wildfire, and cheatgrass invasion on big sagebrush plant communities across their spatial extent to guide landscape conservation and prioritization.
Quantifying the interacting effects of climate change, wildfire, and cheatgrass invasion on big sagebrush plant community composition and habitat quality.
Leveraging livestock grazing as a tool to reduce cheatgrass biomass, fine fuels, and wildfire risk.
Collaborators: Dr. John Bradford (USGS), Dr. William Lauenroth (Yale U), Dr. Daniel Schlaepfer (USGS), Dr. Martin Holdrege (USGS), and Dr. Kevin Doherty (USFS). Students: Maggie England, Rachel Renne, and Alexis Belt.