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!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences