Wrapping up field season 2016

This summer has been a wild ride. From swimming for water samples in the 11 ft. tides of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to trudging through hip-deep mud on Virginia’s Eastern Shore to measure sedimentation, this field season has been the most rewarding yet. This summer marks the beginning of the research I’m conducting for my Master’s, focusing on the indirect role of crabs in salt marsh geomorphic processes, via their interactions with marsh grass. My goal for this summer was to conduct a survey of salt marshes, quantifying the effect of two different crab species, the Atlantic marsh fiddler, Uca pugnax, and the Purple marsh crab, Sesarma reticulatum, on smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, and ultimately sedimentation, which is essential for salt marsh resilience in the face of sea-level rise. Thanks to funding from Virginia Sea Grant and the Garden Club of America, I was able to travel to five sites along the Atlantic Coast, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts all the way down to Goodwin Island at the mouth of the York River in Virginia, sampling grass, sedimentation, and crab abundances along the way. After many long days in the mud, and a few fiddler crabs in the pants later, I am so proud to have finished all the sampling for this summer’s survey. I couldn’t have made it through this summer without all the support from the rest of the Jlab team (David Johnson, Cynthia Crowley, Kathy Longmire, and Serina Sebilian). Now time to process the hundreds of samples we collected!

 

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