Habitat modifications are among mankind's most pervasive alterations of our nation's estuarine ecosystems.
When such modifications are extensive, as is the case for the Mobile Bay Causeway, they can alter patterns of natural hydrography. Among the possible consequences of the Causeway is the reduction of water exchange between the fresh water in the lower reaches of Mobile-Tensaw Delta, and the saltier waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If true, this barrier may have created persistent low salinity conditions that local conservationists believe have provided refuge for an exotic species of submerged aquatic vegetation, the Eurasian Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) to survive in during periods when salinity is high throughout this estuary.
When salinity is low, milfoil fragments from these freshwater refuges end up in nearby estuarine grassbeds, where they subsequently outgrow and competitively displace native submerged grasses.
To test these hypotheses, Dr. John Valentine and Marine Technician Susan Sklenar, both of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) in Alabama, are currently comparing the results of salinity tolerance experiments they have conducted using milfoil at the DISL with two years of field data which document salinity patterns within the upper reaches of Mobile Bay.
The preliminary results of these experiments suggest that only the most extreme salinities, those observed during hurricane landfalls in the northern Gulf of Mexico, are lethal to milfoil.
"Right after Hurricane Katrina, we noticed that milfoil was not as abundant in those places where it used to be plentiful," recounts Dr. Valentine. "Whether it was the turbidity from the storm or the salinity from waters crashing over the MBC, we're hoping these experiments will be able to help determine the cause."
In the coming year, Dr. Valentine and his colleagues will be conducting additional field experiments to determine if in fact milfoil will outcompete native grasses for habitat within this estuary. It is hoped that these experiments, when completed, will allow DISL to make data-based recommendations for habitat restoration later next year.
Lisa Young | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences