Room 202A
Jan 24, 2023 01:40 PM - 02:55 PM(America/Chicago)
20230124T1340 20230124T1455 America/Chicago Dedicated Session: Alabama Center of Excellence: Science-driven Solutions for a Changing Climate Room 202A 2023 Bays and Bayous Symposium mbnep@mobilebaynep.com
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Alabama Center of Excellence: Science-driven Solutions for a Changing Climate
01:40 PM - 01:55 PM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/24 19:40:00 UTC - 2023/01/24 19:55:00 UTC
On October 1, 2019, the United States Department of Treasury, in cooperation with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) awarded the Dauphin Island Sea Lab funding to establish and operate the Alabama Center of Excellence (ALCoE). Building on the network of experts from 22 of Alabama's College and Universities, ALCoE's mission is to provide results from innovative, forward looking, research conducted on areas of coastal concern to interested members of government, academic community, and the public. Focusing on the effects of multiple stressors that are anticipated to occur as our climate changes, ALCoE will provide freely accessible results that will be useful for the wise stewardship of Alabama's marine resources. This dedicated session will showcase the multi-stressor studies supported by ALCoE's first round of funding. 


Presenters
JV
John Valentine
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Co-Authors
DB
Dottie Byron
Dauphin Island Sea Lab/Alabama Center Of Excellence
KH
Ken Heck
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
AH
Amy Hunter
Alabama Department Of Conservation And Natural Resources
Sustainability of Current and Future Shoreline Solutions Under Rising Sea Level Scenarios
01:55 PM - 02:10 PM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/24 19:55:00 UTC - 2023/01/24 20:10:00 UTC
Natural shorelines provide ecosystem services that are integral to maintaining healthy and resilient coastal ecosystems and communities. However, anthropogenic and environmental stressors are reducing the extent of natural shorelines and, thus, their capacity to provide critical ecosystem services. Some of the largest losses or impairment of natural shorelines can be attributed to the combined effects of shoreline hardening (bulkheads and seawalls), boat wakes, and sea level rise. A more adaptable alternative to hardened shorelines in the face of sea level rise is living or natural shorelines. This collection of shoreline stabilization techniques incorporates natural materials such as native shoreline plants and provides myriad ecosystem services. To increase the effectiveness and prevalence of living shorelines, a team of researchers and extension specialists are collecting field data to inform shoreline sustainability modeling. Field data collection includes aerial imagery, shoreline classifications, wave energy, and nearshore topography and bathymetry throughout Weeks Bay and Fowl, Dog, Fish, Magnolia, and Bon Secour rivers. These data will be used to develop conceptual living shoreline designs for each waterbody. Designs and data will then be used to create inputs for the morphodynamic model, XBeach, which will predict the protection capacity of current and projected shoreline management scenarios. Results will be used to develop a catalog of ideal living shoreline designs for shoreline scenarios across those waterbodies. This information will be accessible for immediate use by shoreline property owners, consultants, contractors, and state resource agencies.
Presenters
ES
Eric Sparks
Mississippi State University, Coastal Research And Extension Center
Co-Authors
SP
Stephanie Patch
University Of South Alabama
SW
Sarah Wofford-Mares
Florida State University, Panama City
AD
Ashleigh Dunaway
Mississippi State University, Coastal Research And Extension Center
SW
Sydney Wilson
University Of South Alabama
Assessing the Function and Vulnerability of Forested Wetlands in the Mobile- Tensaw-Apalachee River Delta
02:10 PM - 02:25 PM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/24 20:10:00 UTC - 2023/01/24 20:25:00 UTC
>River deltas are naturally dynamic ecosystems that occupy the interface between watersheds and estuaries. In larger delta systems, an extensive tidal forested freshwater wetland (TFFW) zone commonly occurs, however there is little information about these areas and their functional role in relation to the larger estuary. To address these knowledge gaps, we present newly started research to determine the current condition and function of the Mobile-Tensaw-Apalachee (MTA) River Delta and predict potential changes to the delta due to sea level rise (SLR) and future river flows due. As part of this project, nine water-gaging stations were established roughly equidistant along a forested tidal gradient within the delta. River salinity and tidal connectivity models will be developed for each station using artificial neural networks (ANNs), a data-driven approach that can help learn and map complex relationships between inputs and outputs. Forest survey plots (n≈50) will be stratified across forested wetland types and river reaches to determine canopy tree composition in relation to tidal influence. Finally, there remains significant uncertainty about the role that TFFWs have in terms of export of organic matter (OM) and nutrients to the larger estuary. We will utilize an isotopic and fatty acid/alkane approach to assess spatial and temporal trends of OM input to Mobile Bay. We present initial data collected from the study and highlight future analyses which will contribute key understandings of the MTA River Delta while determining its vulnerability to future changes in river flow and sea levels.
Presenters
CA
Christopher Anderson
Auburn University College Of Forestry, Wildlife And Environment
Co-Authors
RC
Ruth Carmichael
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
LK
Latif Kalin
Abundance and Habitat Selection of the West Indian Manatee at the Northern Periphery of Their Expanding Range
02:25 PM - 02:40 PM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/24 20:25:00 UTC - 2023/01/24 20:40:00 UTC
Habitat selection during range expansion may facilitate movement into new geographic areas, shaping climate driven changes in distribution. West Indian manatees are ideal for understanding how habitat selection influences range expansion because their presence has rapidly increased at their range margins in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the past two decades. We estimated manatee abundance in coastal Alabama waters using aerial surveys from 2010 and 2019 and used resource selection functions on tagged and opportunistically sighted manatees to quantify habitat use. We estimated ~25 and 34 manatees occupied coastal Alabama waters at any given time during the warm season (Apr-Nov) in 2010 and 2019, respectively. Manatees primarily used the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta and Dog River areas, selecting for nearshore, shallow water habitats proximate to submerged aquatic vegetation. Distance to boat ramp and human population density had a stronger effect in the sighted dataset but remained important in the tagged dataset, indicating that manatees used areas that overlapped with human activities. Temperature strongly predicted when manatees were sighted, with the highest probability of sighting occurring May-Nov when temperatures were >20°C. These are the first estimates of manatee abundance and habitat use in the U.S., outside of Florida. Range expansion in manatees will likely be dependent on the availability of nearshore habitat with submerged vegetation, increased sea temperatures, and on manatee's ability to migrate to those habitats when seasonally available. Environmental changes that decrease or increase these habitats and conditions can threaten or aid, respectively, manatee range expansion.
Presenters
CC
Carl Cloyed
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Co-Authors
EH
Elizabeth Hieb
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
KD
Kayla DaCosta
Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University Of South Alabama
MR
Monica Ross
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
RC
Ruth Carmichael
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Mississippi State University, Coastal Research and Extension Center
Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
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