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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, September 22, 2011  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • NWRC Staff Receive Awards from Army Corps: USGS National Wetlands Research Center employee Michelle Fischer and contractor Christina Hunnicutt have been awarded a Team Achievement Award and Commander's Coin from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District for their participation on the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) Environmental Team. (Craig Conzelmann; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8842)

  • NPStoret Water Quality Web Data Query Tool Released: The USGS National Wetlands Research Center Advanced Applications Team, working with the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program’s Gulf Coast Network (GULN) office has released the NPStoret Water Quality Web Data Query Tool. This tool currently allows users to query, review, graph, and export the monitoring data stored within the GULN NPStoret database. In the near future, this tool’s deployment will be expanded to cover any NPS monitoring network wishing to utilize its functionality. For more information, see http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/guln/npstoret/Default.cfm (Craig Conzelmann; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8842)

  • NWRC Executive Leadership, Facilities, and Safety Teams Meet to Discuss Results of the Recent NWRC Air Quality Evaluation: On September 20, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Chief Thomas Doyle, NWRC Facilities Manager Eric Pelletier, NWRC Safety Officer John McCoy, and USGS Louisiana Business Manager Melissa Chavis (by phone) met to discuss the results of the recent NWRC Air Quality Evaluation. In August, during the height of the hot, humid summer season, the NWRC procured a contract with a local independent air quality consultant for a comprehensive evaluation of the air quality inside the NWRC.  The consultant tested air and NWRC infrastructure, then provided the NWRC with those results. The report will be released soon.  (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Gulf Coast Prairies Landscape Conservation Cooperative and NWRC Meet to Discuss 2012 Implementation Plan and NOAA-LCC Coastal Activities: On September 20, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, and Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Chief Thomas Doyle met with Bill Bartush [Gulf Coast Prairies (GCP) Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Coordinator] and NOAA Coastal LCC Liaison Laurie Rounds to discuss 2012 implementation plans and how NOAA, NWRC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others will move forward in implementing the GCP LCC on the northern Gulf of Mexico Coast. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Gifted Students Expand Knowledge at NWRC: Students from Paul Breaux Middle School’s Gifted Program visited the USGS National Wetlands Research Center for an enrichment program recently. Nineteen 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students visited on September 20, 2011 and eighteen 5th grade students visited September 22. Students viewed presentations about mapping (Chris Wells), amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana (Brad Glorioso), and Louisiana’s coastal wetlands (Gabrielle Bodin). Students also participated in a tracking exercise using transmitters (Heather Baldwin) and visited the wet labs to learn about research involving fish, salamanders, and apple snails (Jeromi Hefner). In addition, the 5th grade students were treated to a presentation about bones from University of Louisiana at Lafayette Zooarchaeology Professor Jim Delahoussaye. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC participates in the South Central Area Center Director Call:  On September 21, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed participated in a periodic South Central Area (SCA) Center Director call. SCA Regional Executive Max Ethridge led the call and topics of discussion included Ethridge's report from a recent USGS Director's Staff meeting, an update on Fiscal Year 2011, 2012, and 2013 budgets, and a good discussion among the SCA Center Directors on end-of-year performance evaluations. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Participates in Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Monthly Meeting:  On September 21, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Deputy Director Matthew Andersen and Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Chief Thomas Doyle participated in the monthly meeting of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Abbeville, La. Current information on the state of the coastal Louisiana restoration efforts, the Louisiana State Master Plan, and the recent demise of the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Science & Technology Program were discussed. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)
         
  • NWRC Scientist Contributes to Resolving Long Controversy Related to Biodiversity: In this week’s edition of Science Magazine (scheduled release the week of September 26, 2011), an international team of 58 scientists, including USGS National Wetlands Research Center Scientist Jim Grace, report the resolution of an ongoing debate about the role of habitat productivity in explaining patterns of biodiversity. A number of prominent theories have suggested that the greatest concentrations of biological species diversity occur in ecosystems where conditions are naturally low in productivity. Empirical evaluations of this theoretical prediction have produced mixed results, leading theoreticians to propose that methodological inconsistencies act to obscure this “true” relationship. In a global study being conducted at 48 sites on five continents, a strictly standardized sampling regime was used to evaluate patterns of diversity and productivity relevant to the theories predicting their relationship. Using advanced statistical techniques, the authors were indeed able to detect the predicted pattern – however, in their evaluation they emphasize that the general theory explains less than 5% of the natural variation. The authors go on to argue that scientists should stop debating these simplistic, non-predictive theories and develop the multivariate theories that will yield both deeper scientific understanding and permit us to predict the effects of environmental change. (Jim Grace, Lafayette, LA., 337-266-8632)
                                                                                                                           
  • USGS Participation in SE Regional Climate Assessment Workshop:  USGS National Wetlands Research Center Branch Chief Thomas Doyle will participate in a Writing Team Workshop for the Southeast Regional Technical Report and National Climate Assessment in Atlanta, Ga., on September 26 and 27, 2011.  This workshop will brief the team on the National Climate Assessment, the role of the Southeast Regional Technical Report, National Climate Assessment projections, and regional climatology. Team members will plan, review, and discuss chapter topics and writing assignments for completing the Southeast Regional Technical Report. (Thomas Doyle, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8647)

  • NWRC Participates in America's Wetland Foundation Meeting: On September 27 – 28, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed and Spatial Analysis Branch Chief Scott Wilson will present the recent NWRC video entitled “Land Area Change in Coastal Louisiana (1932-2010)” to an annual meeting of America's Wetland Foundation in Houma, La.  The video can be found in the USGS Multimedia Gallery or on YouTube.  America's Wetland Foundation will hold this meeting to herald the Blue Ribbon Resilient Community Forum which addresses the growing Gulf Coast vulnerabilities in the wake of coastal land loss and degrading landscapes that threaten coastal populations and indigenous cultures. At the forums, local stakeholders assess vulnerabilities and envision the future with plans and actions in mind to ensure resiliency and sustain the cultural, economic and ecological values of their communities. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

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