First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Elizabeth SosaFollow

Mentor/s

Dr. LaTina Steele

Participation Type

Poster

Abstract

To combat declines in salt marshes and loss of ecosystem services, restoration projects seek to restore both marsh structure and function. Because the plant material used in restorations may not be adapted to the local environment, it is unclear whether restored marshes function in the same ways as natural marshes. To compare the structure and function of restored and natural marshes, Spartina alterniflora surveys and field tethering experiments were performed in restored and natural marshes in Connecticut in the summer of 2018. Asian shore crabs (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) were tethered in two restored marsh areas of different age in Stratford, a naturally recolonizing marsh in Stratford, a natural reference marsh in Milford, and in unvegetated areas near these marshes. S. alterniflora density and stem height were measured at these locations, as well as algae and rock percent cover. Crabs survived best in the unvegetated locations in Milford, where algae cover was high, and in Stratford, where rock cover was high. Low crab survival in both the restored and natural marsh areas indicates that predators used these marshes as foraging grounds. S. alterniflora stem densities in the three year old restored marsh were similar to stem densities in the natural marshes, while stem densities were lower in the one year old restored marsh. S. alterniflora was shorter in both of the restored marsh areas compared to the natural marshes. Our results suggest that restored marshes can serve some of the same functions as natural marshes, even when their structures differ.

College and Major available

Biology

Location

University Commons

Start Day/Time

4-24-2019 2:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-24-2019 5:00 PM

Students' Information

Elizabeth Sosa, Biology, 2019

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Apr 24th, 2:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:00 PM

Measuring Predation Rates and Spartina Alterniflora Stem Densities to Determine Structure and Function of Restored Salt Marshes

University Commons

To combat declines in salt marshes and loss of ecosystem services, restoration projects seek to restore both marsh structure and function. Because the plant material used in restorations may not be adapted to the local environment, it is unclear whether restored marshes function in the same ways as natural marshes. To compare the structure and function of restored and natural marshes, Spartina alterniflora surveys and field tethering experiments were performed in restored and natural marshes in Connecticut in the summer of 2018. Asian shore crabs (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) were tethered in two restored marsh areas of different age in Stratford, a naturally recolonizing marsh in Stratford, a natural reference marsh in Milford, and in unvegetated areas near these marshes. S. alterniflora density and stem height were measured at these locations, as well as algae and rock percent cover. Crabs survived best in the unvegetated locations in Milford, where algae cover was high, and in Stratford, where rock cover was high. Low crab survival in both the restored and natural marsh areas indicates that predators used these marshes as foraging grounds. S. alterniflora stem densities in the three year old restored marsh were similar to stem densities in the natural marshes, while stem densities were lower in the one year old restored marsh. S. alterniflora was shorter in both of the restored marsh areas compared to the natural marshes. Our results suggest that restored marshes can serve some of the same functions as natural marshes, even when their structures differ.

 

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