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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, October 28, 2010  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • Climate Change Effects on Mountain Vegetation: Climate change has had a significant effect on mountain vegetation at low elevations in the past 60 years, according to a study done by researchers at University of California at Davis and University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jim Grace of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center. This information may guide future conservation efforts in helping decision makers develop regional landscape predictions about biological responses to climate change. These findings contradict earlier predictions that climate change would affect ecosystems at higher elevations the most. Scientists examined vegetation changes during the past 60 years in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon, an area that harbors 131 plant species found nowhere else in the world. The study, Ecological contingency in the effects of climate warming on forest herb communities, appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of October 25, 2010. (Jim Grace; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8632)

  • ULL Architecture Students Visit NWRC: Students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) School of Architecture and Design (SOAD) visited the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on October 25, 2010, to study the building’s architectural design. Professor Hector Lasala accompanied the group of forty third-year students on a tour of the facilities led by NWRC librarian Linda Broussard. The students also visited the adjacent Estuarine Habitat Coastal Fisheries Center and the neighboring Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise building. All three projects were designed by the same architectural firm and are located in ULL’s Research Park. SOAD is actively involved in developing relationships with the community, and faculty and students are frequent visitors to the science center. (Linda Broussard; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8692)

  • Upcoming USGS Seminar on Invasive Species at North Carolina State University: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Randy Westbrooks will give a departmental seminar in the Crop Science Department at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., on October 28, 2010.  His seminar, entitled Invasive Species – Coming to America – New Strategies for Early Detection and Rapid Response, will provide an overview of ongoing efforts to develop a National Early Detection and Rapid Response System for Invasive Plants in the United States.  Currently, as part of that effort, Westbrooks is collaborating with a number of interagency groups to provide EDRR Training Workshops in states and provinces across the U.S. and Canada.  The near term goal is to develop State and Provincial Early Detection and Reporting Networks to ensure that new invasive plants are reported to state/provincial and federal officials so that appropriate actions can be taken to prevent their establishment and spread. (Randy Westbrooks; Whiteville, N.C.; 910-648-6762)

  • NWRC Scientist To Present Poster on Research Related to Deepwater Horizon Incident: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Beth Middleton will present a poster entitled, “Effects of hydrologic remediation on baldcypress swamp elevation and ecosystem processes: RAPID research for the Deepwater Horizon Incident.”  This presentation will be part of an investigator's meeting being held in New Orleans November 1 – 2, 2010, for research funded by the National Science Foundation related to the Deepwater Horizon Incident. (Beth Middleton; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8618)

  • USGS Participation in an EDRR Training Workshop in the North Carolina Sandhills:, USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Randy Westbrooks will participate in an Invasive Plant Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Volunteer Training Workshop in Southern Pines, N.C., on November, 4, 2010. This workshop, the second in a series of EDRR training workshops being conducted across the state, is being hosted by the North Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve. Workshop participants will include conservation volunteers, master gardeners, foresters, biologists, environmental professionals, land managers, and other local, state, and federal personnel from the Sandhills Region of southeastern North Carolina. This workshop will focus on detection and reporting of new and emerging invasive plants that pose a particular threat to the Sandhills, such as Crested Floating Heart (spread by recreational boaters) and Oriental Bittersweet (used by mountain crafters to make decorative wreaths). (Randy Westbrooks; Whiteville, N.C.; 910-648-6762)

  • NWRC Donates Plants for Educational Rain Garden: Staff from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center donated numerous plants from the center’s butterfly garden, which was initiated and maintained on a voluntary basis for four years at NWRC, to the Lafayette Parish Consolidated Government's environmental quality division for their rain garden. The rain garden will be used to educate the public about improving water quality through a filtration system made up of native plants and porous soils. (Heather Baldwin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8504)

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

  • Rain garden aids water quality education (Daily Advertiser; Lafayette, La.; October 22, 2010) “The garden at LCG’s Dugas Road compost facility was built by LCG employee Cecilia Gayle, UL architecture students and other personnel from LCG, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S.G.S. National Wetlands Research Center.” (Heather Baldwin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8504)

  • Rebuilding wetlands focus of discussion(Daily Advertiser; Lafayette, La.; October 22, 2010)
    “‘We lose a football field in marshlands every 45 minutes,’ said Chris Macaluso, coastal outreach coordinator of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, who spoke at the USGS National Wetland Research Center on Thursday.” (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Press Inquiries/Media - Online

  • Study: Climate change adversely affects low-elevation mountain vegetation ( National; October 26, 2010) “‘This study shows the possibility for successfully predicting specific ecosystem responses to climate change. We are not accustomed to predicting the behavior of complex ecological systems, yet this is exactly what our responsibilities to future generations require of us,’ Dr. Jim Grace of the USGS remarked.” (Jim Grace; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8632)

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