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USGS Employee Honored by Fish and Wildlife Service

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Helen Light holding a very tall tupelo "knee" in a flood-plain swamp of the Apalachicola River in north Florida.
Above: Helen Light holding a very tall tupelo "knee" in a flood-plain swamp of the Apalachicola River in north Florida. Roots of tupelo trees will occasionally grow in a vertical direction in response to water-level fluctuations, similar to the more commonly occurring knees of cypress trees. Tupelo knees generally form short stool-like knobs, less than 0.5 m high. This arching tupelo root is unusual in that it exceeds 1.5 m in height. Photograph by Melanie Darst.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Helen Light was honored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at its annual Partnership Luncheon on April 27 in Panama City, Fla. Light was one of 35 individuals from various agencies and organizations honored by the USFWS.

A botanist who works in the USGS Hydrologic Studies Section in Tallahassee, Fla., Light was recognized for her outstanding and lengthy history of commitment to conservation of the Apalachicola and other Florida rivers. The Apalachicola is a coastal-plain river that begins at the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers at the Florida State line and flows 106 mi (about 70 mi as the crow flies) to the Gulf of Mexico, where it empties into Apalachicola Bay. Light has developed a complete and quantitative description of the flood-plain connectivity that allows evaluation of how changes in flow may affect flood-plain ecology; she has provided much of the technical data that led to the discontinuation of dredging; and she has coordinated substantial data collection and analyses of the changing geomorphology of the Apalachicola River. In an upcoming USGS Scientific Investigations Report, she discusses water-level decline in the Apalachicola, which is Florida's largest river in terms of discharge.

Although the award was primarily for her work on the Apalachicola River, it also recognized Light's work on other rivers. She has conducted research on the Suwannee River, for example, in flood-plain forests all the way down the treeline, where forests give way to marshes about 2 km from the coast. She and her coworker Melanie Darst are authoring a chapter on the Suwannee River tidal freshwater forests in an upcoming book titled Ecology of Tidal Freshwater Swamps of the Southeastern United States, due to be published early next year.

Light has been working at the USGS office in Tallahassee since 1979, conducting research on forested river flood plains in north Florida.

Related Web Sites
Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Limited Reproductive Success for Endangered California Clapper Rail

USGS Studies Aid Puget Sound Recovery

Outreach USGS Scientist Interviewed About Threats to Coral Reefs

USGS FISC Participates in 2006 Marine Quest

Geography Team Visits USGS Woods Hole Science Center

USGS Participates in Career Fairs at MIT

USGS Scientist Attends Annual Field Trip for 20th Year

National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competitors Tour Laboratories in Woods Hole

WHSTEP Science and Math Safari Explores Use of Sound in Ocean Research

Meetings First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat

USGS GIS 2006 Workshop

USGS Biologist Contributes Technical Expertise to Dive-Rescue Class

Awards USGS Biologist Honored by Fish and Wildlife Service

Staff New Oceanographic Data System Manager in Woods Hole

Publications June 2006 Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)