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Kari St.Laurent

Kari St.Laurent has written 37 posts for oceanbites

Bon Voyage to Oceanbites

Oceanbites has been an incredible experience. Today is my goodbye post and my thank you to the readers and Oceanbites contributors!

Cascading Effects From Geoduck Expansions

An ecosystem model predicts how the Puget Sound ecosystem could be affected as the popular geoduck aquaculture industry increases. Including mediating affects, such as changes in predator refuges, allowed ecosystem-wide changes to be uncovered. For example, a decrease in seabirds was predicted due to shifts in prey populations resulting from the anti-predation guards for geoducks.

Oysters going viral

The human norovirus persisted longer than 6 weeks in contaminated oysters held at lower water temperatures, suggesting that the water temperature oysters are held at during depuration should be considered when determining if a contaminated oyster bed is safe to eat .

Rip Rap Sill: The Best of Both Worlds

The hybrid shoreline stabilization method called rip rap sill combines rock structures with native vegetation. This study found that fish biodiversity and abundance in rip rap sills was more similar to a native marsh than a built rip rap.

Wave the Yellow Flag

While the blue flag iris is native to United States wetlands, the yellow variety is invasive and just starting to pop up on the radar of concern for land managers. This study found that seed dispersal was the main reproduction tactic, which was unique since asexual reproduction from rhizome pieces breaking off is the common method in its native European range .

Plant Parents: Divide, Seed, and Conquer

Phragmites is the ultimate parent in terms of reproductive success, allowing it to increase in area by 25% since 1971 in the Rhode River subestuary. While phragmites can spread asexually through rhizome clones, seed dispersion requiring two parents was the most successful tactic found in this study.

A Million Little Pieces….of plastic

Trillions of tiny plastic fragments are floating in the Earth’s ocean. These microplastics can attract organic pollutants, be ingested by marine organisms, and even end up in table salt. This Earth Week post gives a broad introduction to microplastics and examples of how we can all help to reduce this problem!

It’s ALIVE: Living Shorelines!

It’s no secret we want to protect our shorelines from erosion and coastal storms. One best management practice catching steam is a living shoreline, which uses native vegetation instead of concrete. Living shorelines not only have the potential to protect coastal communities, but may also be a carbon sink.

Flying high: the ospreys are alright!

Chesapeake Bay osprey populations were at an all-time low in the 1970’s due in part to pesticides like DDT. Forty years later, organic pollutant concentrations in eggs and fledglings are on the decline and observations from 2011-2012 suggest there were no large scale effects of organic contaminants on osprey productivity.

It’s a TRAP! Predators help trap carbon in coastal sediments

Vegetated coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes, can trap and store carbon for millennia. This perspective investigates how the effects from the global loss of predators has cascaded down to these habitats, often resulting in lower carbon storage.

Jump in, the water is warm!

Satellite data was used to measure surface water temperatures throughout Chesapeake Bay over the last 28 years. This new approach will allow us to monitor future water temperature changes from the comfort of home. This study uncovered that Chesapeake Bay water temperatures are increasing faster than air temperatures, which could have negative ecological consequences.

Beyond the Science: Networking at the Geological Society of America Conference

Most scientists go to conferences to present their work and to share and learn about new scientific findings and methods, but there is so much more to conferences! This post will highlight a small handful of activities, networking events, and presentations from the first day of the Geological Society of America meeting that go beyond academic science.

Double Whammy: Losing sea ice may be worse than we thought

When Arctic sea ice melts, it warms the local region by decreasing the albedo, or lowering the area’s reflectiveness. This atmospheric warming likely intensifies methane production in Arctic wetlands, which causes more warming and ultimately creates a positive feedback by melting more ice!

Bait and Switch: are Maryland crabs the ingredient in your Maryland crab cake?

The non-profit organization Oceana went undercover to analyze the DNA in 90 crab cakes sold throughout Maryland and D.C. Their results suggest that 38% of these “locally caught” crab cakes were mislabeled, containing crab species other than the blue crab.

CSI Holocene: Who started the fire?

Sediment and ice cores suggest that peaks in fire activity that happened 2,500 years ago in Europe was likely caused by early humans applying the slash and burn technique to clear away forests. This demonstrates that the anthropogenic carbon footprint dates back further than the Industrial Revolution.

Lessons Learned during a Congressional Visit Day

In an effort to connect scientists with policy-makers, the American Meteorological Society hosts Congressional Visit Days. This post highlights six “lessons” learned during these unique and important meetings with our local and national policy-makers.

It’s getting warm, should I migrate now?

Leatherback turtles are nesting later due to warming sea surface temperatures at their foraging grounds, raising questions on how climate change will affect turtle migrations in the future.

Nineteen years later: The clean-up of Boston Harbor’s waste water

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority spent ten years from 1991 and 2000 drastically improving the treatment of waste water released into Boston Harbor in an effort to improve the overall health of this unique estuary. This study measured how the sediments reacted and recovered to this massive effort. Despite the complexities and variability, from start to finish the sediments saw reductions in oxygen demand, nitrogen fluxes, and organic matter.

Blooming around the world: A story of coccolithophore co-existence

Satellite remote sensing suggests that different phytoplankton species can live in harmony during phytoplankton blooms in the open ocean.

Do increasing air temperatures mean increasing stream temperatures? Spoiler, yes!

Stream water temperatures have increased over the last 51 years in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and are connected to increases in air temperature, latitude, and changes in land-use, causing potential shifts in ecosystem dynamics and stratification.

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