Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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    Ducks Unlimited 1

    Ducks Unlimited

Developing data on submersed aquatic vegetation in the Gulf of Mexico

Formal Title: Occurrence and Variation in Submersed Aquatic Vegetation along Northern Gulf of Mexico: A Hierarchical Approach to Assess Impacts of Environmental Change on Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Resources

Research Focus: Submersed aquatic vegetation

Conservation & Management Challenges:

Submersed aquatic vegetation, a critical component of highly productive coastal ecosystems, is greatly affected by sea level rise. The Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative needs consistent information on these natural resources along the Gulf of Mexico Coast to develop computer modeling tools. These tools will contribute to efforts to forecast the effects of climate change on the distribution, abundance, and diversity of submersed aquatic vegetation and the fish and wildlife that depend on them.

Research Overview:

Developing this science is a priority for the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, as well as the South Central Climate Science, which provided significant support for this research. The project involves compiling consistent baseline data on the occurrence and abundance of submersed aquatic vegetation along the northern Gulf of Mexico. It also involves assessing and developing a conceptual model of environmental factors affecting vegetation variation. These data will enable predictive modeling of vegetation under different scenarios of landscape and climate change and contribute to the refinement of existing models of ecosystem change.

Results:

A portion of this 5-year project funded by the South Central Climate Science Center, GCP LCC, GCPO LCC and others was completed in December 2015.  This project is ongoing with additional funding from the Gulf Coast Joint Venture, FWS SSP Region 2 and Region 4 and Gulf Coast Prairie LCC.  The projected completion date is December 2017.  Final results will be issued as two dissertations in multiple publications.

View the project listing on the South Central Climate Science Center project page.

2012-2015 project report

Status:

The 5-year project was initiated in 2012. The U.S. Geological Survey’s South Central Climate Science Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Gulf Coast Joint Venture , and the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC are funding this project.  It is being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Louisiana Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit in collaboration with the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Contacts:

Principal Investigator: Megan La Peyre, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit, 124 School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Landscape Conservation Cooperative Point-of-Contact: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506

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