At the annual Eelgrass Conference , March 28th, USA EPA, Boston
My first Eelgrass conference was just fantastic! Most of the scientific terms went above my head so the images helped with the powerpoint presentations. I never knew that there were so many different components to Eelgrass habitats. There were more than 100 scientists at the event with several of them giving different talks from how the rise in water temperature effects eelgrass populations to different practices in eelgrass restorations. I only have snippets of the event here and plan to interview each of the scientists separately over the summer.
Tay Evans: Hubline Eelgrass Restoration, 2010-2016
Tay Evans spoke about her work in 13 different sites in and around the Boston area where her team used this Burlap disk method to plant eelgrass. They successfully restored 24 acres of eelgrass to three sites by 2016.
You can view more info on Tay and her work here on her blog
Holly Plaisted, National Park Service
Holly Plaisted spoke about eelgrass monitoring data and factors the distribution and abundance in the Northeast. She spoke of how eelgrass forms the foundation of coastal food webs, promotes water quality, protects shorelines and cycles nutrients and many more benefits. However, the Eutrophication of coastal waters, physical disturbances and Temperature are all negatively impacting these amazing habitats. There is higher eelgrass reliance in cooler waters and warmer temperatures indicate more eelgrass loss.
Melisa Wong, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada
Melisa Wong explores how diversity affects the functioning of eelgrass populations in Nova Scotia. Interesting to here how both external movements in air and internal movements in the water affect eelgrass. Also never thought about the sediment, how different it can be from close to shore line and out more. Melisa also studies eelgrass that are in deeper waters too fascinating.
Alyssa Novak, Boston University
Alyssa spoke about Blue Carbon Sequestration, how Eelgrass is an important natural storage system underground. She spoke of many variables affecting this process. By studying components in sediment traps, checking sediment cores and looking at plant parameters they can create parameters for their field studies. The variability of data at various sites was interesting. Also, I had never thought of Environmental conditions(temperature), Sediment characteristics(sediment grain size, % silt clay), Plant parameters & wave exposure being a predictor for bulk carbon at some of the sites.