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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, July 23, 2009

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • NWRC Scientists Initiate New SWS Publication: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee has created a new non-technical publication by the Society of Wetland Scientists, the SWS Research Brief. She also serves as editor. In the first set of briefs, NWRC scientist Beth Middleton published an article, “Katrina’s Dance of Destruction and Renewal,” which discusses the revegetation of wetlands in coastal marshes and swamps following Hurricane Katrina. McKee’s research concerning elevated carbon dioxide’s effects on coastal wetlands is also discussed in an article by collaborator Julia Cherry. The article is “Elevated Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A Silver Lining for Coastal Wetlands?” The SWS Research Brief is intended to give scientists an outlet to communicate their research findings to non-scientists including the media, policy-makers, students, and the general public. The articles can be found at http://www.sws.org/ResearchBrief. (Karen McKee, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8662)

  • NWRC Scientist Participates in Art Smart Program for Educators: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Clinton Jeske gave a presentation to the Art Smart program, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, in Lafayette, La., on July 15, 2009. Art Smart is an effort to inform teachers on methods and opportunities to integrate art into science classes. Jeske’s presentation focused on what his job entails, how collections are used in science, and the importance of art to scientific research. (Clinton Jeske, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8652)

  • NWRC Scientist Provided Keynote Address at Coastal Invasive Species Symposium: Randy Westbrooks, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Invasive Species Prevention Specialist, provided the keynote address on July 16, 2009 for a Coastal Invasive Species Management Symposium held at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N. J., (http://www.georgian.edu/dunes/index.htm). A primary focus of the conference was development of management strategies for addressing Asiatic Sand Sedge (Carex kobomugi), an introduced sedge that has become a serious problem on primary and secondary coastal dune ecosystems of the Northeastern United States. Lessons learned from the work of the Carolinas Beach Vitex Task Force and other successful invasive species management efforts will be used to craft strategies for addressing this serious problem. (Randy Westbrooks, Whiteville, N.C., 910-648-6762)

  • NWRC Scientist Assists With Summer Science Camp Focused on Invasive Species: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Invasive Species Prevention Specialist Randy Westbrooks assisted Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C., during the week of July 20-24, 2009 in conducting a Summer Science Camp for area high school students that focused on all aspects of invasive species management. The goal of the camp was to provide students with hands on experience in Global Positioning System survey, data collection, geographic information system mapping, and control of invasive species such as wild taro (Colocasia esculenta) and Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), and one-on-one interactions with prominent invasive species specialists. (Randy Westbrooks, Whiteville, N.C., 910-648-6762)

  • Student Teacher Shadows NWRC Scientist: Amanda Latiolais, a student teacher from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL), shadowed USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Jacoby Carter on July 20 and 22 during his work on a joint project between USGS and ULL and funded by the National Science Foundation to monitor green tree frog populations in urban settings. (Jacoby Carter, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8620)

  • New Land Area Change Map by NWRC Scientist Released: Former USGS National Wetlands Research Center geographer John Barras has published a new scientific investigations map, “Land area change and overview of major hurricane impacts in coastal Louisiana, 2004-08.” Multiple information products produced to accompany the maps include a pamphlet, a PowerPoint presentation, and a download directory that includes data. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to provide preliminary information on land-water area changes in coastal Louisiana shortly after Hurricanes Ike and Gustav made landfall in 2008 and (2) to contrast these changes with prior, widespread land area changes caused by Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005) and Hurricane Rita (September 24, 2005). The report and materials are available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3080. (Scott Wilson, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8644)

  • NWRC Scientist Proposes Hypothesis That May Aid Coastal Wetland Conservation in New Book Chapter: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Jacoby Carter has a chapter in a new book, Human Impacts on Salt Marshes: A Global Perspective. The chapter, “Alligator Hunters, Pelt Traders, and Runaway Consumption of Gulf Coast Marshes,” explores the hypothesis that adult alligators may serve as controllers of marsh damage because they eat nutria and muskrats that damage the marsh. If the hypothesis is supported, reducing the alligator harvest or closely controlling the size of the animals being harvested may prove a valuable management tool in conserving coastal wetlands. (Jacoby Carter, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8620)

Press Inquiries/Media - Newspapers/magazines/wires, etc.

  • An image of the breakwaters at Raccoon Island credited to the USGS National Wetlands Research Center appears in an AP article with the caption stating that wetland scientists said that the breakwaters may have kept erosion from being worse than it could have been during the storm surge from Hurricane Gustav.
    “Report: Corps failed to plan for La. wetlands loss” (The Advocate; July 23, 2009)

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