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Joint USGS/BRD/WRD Studies in the St. Petersburg Office

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Dr. Carole McIvor, wetlands and fish ecologist with BRD's Restoration Ecology Branch of the Florida Caribbean Science Center, and Ms. Shannon Whaley, estuarine ecologist, a contractor with Johnson Controls, moved permanently to the Center for Coastal Geology in St. Petersburg on March 1st. Carole and Shannon are working on the community ecology of mangrove-associated fishes in Shark River, Everglades National Park. They sample fishes monthly along the upstream to downstream salinity gradient using replicate lift nets buried in the fringing forest floor and block nets placed at the mouths of intertidal rivulets. Their goal is to quantify fish density and biomass in representative fringing forests and to relate these measures to physical factors in the environment. Modelers will ultimately use these data to expand spatial coverage of the ATLSS model (Across Trophic Level Simulation) to the mangrove transition zone of the southwest coast.

Carole's and Shannon's sampling sites are co-located with those of BRD scientist Dr. Tom J. Smith, who is studying plant ecology and surface and subsurface hydrology. Carole and Tom (who will relocate to St. Petersburg in August) are dependent upon flow and discharge data from rivers on Florida's southwest coast provided by researcher Victor Levesque of the USGS Water Resources Division in Tampa.

These three scientists recently attended a USGS workshop (June 27th -28th) to identify available data and data needs for the TIME (Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades) model being developed by USGS scientists to model flows and salinity at the coastal interface of the southwest Florida coast. In addition, in the realm of interdisciplinary science, Carole and Shannon are working with geographers and geologists at the Center for Coastal Geology to develop plans for further investigation of sea-level rise and impacts on coastal salt marshes.

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