The UNC Coastal Studies Institute held a Community Science Forum on October 19, 2007 at Jockey's Ridge State Park Auditorium. Presentations were given by CSI scientists and partners on a variety of research and education projects. The following are descriptions of each of the presentations.
Looking into the past to help determine the future: the natural history of Lake Mattamuskeet
Dr. Michael Piehler, UNC-CSI Estuarine Ecology and Human Health Program Head
Matthew Waters, UNC Chapel Hill PhD candidate and CSI Research Fellow
Recent research conducted by UNC-CSI scientists suggests alternate stable states (plant dominated systems vs. algae dominated systems) exist in Lake Mattamuskeet. Current projects regarding this rare phenomenon include nutrient addition bioassays of water conditions and paleolimnological techniques such as sediment cores to assess the possible changes in historical primary producer communities in the lake. The results of this study could help to provide us with a better understanding of the formation and history of the lake as well as vital information to successfully manage the lake for the future.
Recovery and restoration of ecological communities on the “Izzy’s Inlet” plug on Hatteras Island
Dr. Charles “Pete” Peterson, UNC Institute of Marine Science
Dr. Zac Long, UNC Chapel Hill Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Peterson presented the results of an evaluation of the ecological resiliency and recovery of barrier island communities to catastrophic disturbances such as the “Izzy’s Inlet” breach caused by hurricane Isabel in 2003. This project will provide us with information to help us better understand how we can manage our natural systems after a severe disturbance such as a hurricane.
Monitoring, prioritization and assessment of stormwater ocean outfalls in Dare County, North Carolina
Presented by Dr. Michael Peihler for Dr. Rachel Noble, UNC Institute of Marine Science
Beginning in 2004, Dr. Rachel Noble and Dr. Nancy White initiated a pilot study to characterize genomic origins of pathogens in two ocean outfalls – one in Dare County and one in Carteret County. This study helped to refine techniques that will be used in a project beginning this fall. UNC-CSI, UNC, NCSU, DENR, NC DOT and Moffatt and Nichol, PE will partner with Dr. Noble to thoroughly assess the flow and pollutant loads for eight stormwater outfalls in Dare County, North Carolina. This project proposes to identify the key microbial constituents of stormwater in these outfalls, determine concentrations and likely sources of indicator and tracer organisms, and provide measures of patterns of loading in storm and ambient conditions. The results of this study will be used to design BMPs (best management practices) to treat stormwater before discharge and reduce pollutant load into the ocean.
Ecological effects of estuarine sea level rise
Dr. Robert Christian, East Carolina University
Dr. Christian discussed an ongoing project focusing on the ecological effects of sea level rise on the estuaries of North Carolina. While much of this work is currently being done in the central region of the state, the UNC Coastal Studies Institute is in the process of developing a partnership with Dr. Christian and ECU to extend the reach of the project into the estuaries of Northeastern North Carolina.
Community Input Session
In addition to the research project presentations, an open discussion was conducted to gather input on the types of educational products and programs that the local community would like to see produced by the UNC Coastal Studies Institute. A variety of subjects was covered from development and growth issues to stormwater management and water quality. If you would like more information on UNC Coastal Studies Institute Education and Outreach programs or would like to share your programming needs, please contact John McCord, Education Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.