Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Buzzards Bay, MA, United States

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Buzzards Bay, MA, United States
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Raposa K.B.,Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Raposa K.B.,Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve | Raposa K.B.,North Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Raposa K.B.,Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve | And 11 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

Tidal marshes and the ecosystem services they provide may be at risk from sea-level rise (SLR). Tidal marsh resilience to SLR can vary due to differences in local rates of SLR, geomorphology, sediment availability and other factors. Understanding differences in resilience is critical to inform coastal management and policy, but comparing resilience across marshes is hindered by a lack of simple, effective analysis tools. Quantitative, multi-metric indices are widely employed to inform management of benthic aquatic ecosystems, but not coastal wetlands. Here, we develop and apply tidal marsh resilience to sea-level rise (MARS) indices incorporating ten metrics that contribute to overall marsh resilience to SLR. We applied MARS indices to tidal marshes at 16 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the conterminous U.S. This assessment revealed moderate resilience overall, although nearly all marshes had some indication of risk. Pacific marshes were generally more resilient to SLR than Atlantic ones, with the least resilient marshes found in southern New England. We provide a calculation tool to facilitate application of the MARS indices to additional marshes. MARS index scores can inform the choice of the most appropriate coastal management strategy for a marsh: moderate scores call for actions to enhance resilience while low scores suggest investment may be better directed to adaptation strategies such as creating opportunities for marsh migration rather than attempting to save existing marshes. The MARS indices thus provide a powerful new approach to evaluate tidal marsh resilience and to inform development of adaptation strategies in the face of SLR. © 2016 The Authors

Leschen A.S.,South Shore Field Station | Leschen A.S.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Ford K.H.,South Shore Field Station | Evans N.T.,North Shore Field Station
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2010

From a watershed perspective, Boston Harbor, MA, USA is an ideal site for eelgrass restoration due to major wastewater improvements. Therefore, by focusing on site selection and transplant methods, high survival and expansion rates were recorded at four large eelgrass-restoration sites planted in Boston Harbor as partial mitigation for a pipeline construction project. Transplanted sites met and exceeded reference and donor bed habitat function after 2 years. Hand planting and seeding in checkerboard-patterned transplant plots were efficient and effective methods for jump-starting eelgrass growth over large areas. Although restoration through planting can be successful, it is highly site specific. Even using a published site-selection model, intensive fieldwork was required to identify sites at fine enough scale to ensure successful planting. Given the effort required to identify scarce potential sites, we recommend that future focus includes alternative mitigation strategies that can more adequately prevent eelgrass loss and address water quality degradation which is the leading cause of dieback, site unsuitability for planting, and lack of natural re-colonization. © 2010 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

Maio C.V.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Gontz A.M.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Weidman C.R.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Donnelly J.P.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2014

Extra-tropical storms in the spring of 2010 swept the New England coastline resulting in significant erosion along South Cape Beach, a barrier system located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The erosion revealed 111 subfossil stumps and a preserved peat outcrop. We hypothesize that the stumps represent an ancient Eastern Red cedar, Juniperus virginiana, stand growing in a back-barrier environment and drowned by episodic storm events and moderate rates of sea-level rise. Stumps, bivalves, and organic sediments, were radiocarbon dated using traditional and continuous-flow Atomic Mass Spectroscopy methods. Six sediment cores elucidated subsurface stratigraphy and environmental setting. Subfossil stumps ranged in age from 413±80 to 1239±53 calibrated years before present. We assume that this age represents the time at which the ancient trees were drowned by marine waters. Based on elevation and age, an 826year rate of submergence was calculated at 0.73mm/yr with an R2 value of 0.47. Core stratigraphy, microfossil assemblages, and radiocarbon ages indicate a dynamic barrier environment with frequent overwash and breaching events occurring during the past 500years. Shoreline change analysis showed that between 1846 and 2008, the shoreline retreated landward by 70m at a long-term rate of 0.43m/yr. Future increases in the rate of sea-level rise, coupled with episodic storm events, will lead to the destruction of terrestrial environments at rate orders of magnitude greater than that during the time of the paleoforest. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Scourse J.D.,Bangor University | Wanamaker Jr A.D.,Iowa State University | Weidman C.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Heinemeier J.,University of Aarhus | And 4 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2012

Marine radiocarbon bomb-pulse time histories of annually resolved archives from temperate regions have been underexploited. We present here series of Δ 14C excess from known-age annual increments of the long-lived bivalve mollusk Arctica islandica from 4 sites across the coastal North Atlantic (German Bight, North Sea; Tromsø, north Norway; Siglufjordur, north Icelandic shelf; Grimsey, north Icelandic shelf) combined with published series from Georges Bank and Sable Bank (NW Atlantic) and the Oyster Ground (North Sea). The atmospheric bomb pulse is shown to be a step-function whose response in the marine environment is immediate but of smaller amplitude and which has a longer decay time as a result of the much larger marine carbon reservoir. Attenuation is determined by the regional hydrographic setting of the sites, vertical mixing, processes controlling the isotopic exchange of 14C at the air-sea boundary, 14C content of the freshwater flux, primary productivity, and the residence time of organic matter in the sediment mixed layer. The inventories form a sequence from high magnitude-early peak (German Bight) to low magnitude-late peak (Grimsey). All series show a rapid response to the increase in atmospheric Δ 14C excess but a slow response to the subsequent decline resulting from the succession of rapid isotopic airsea exchange followed by the more gradual isotopic equilibration in the mixed layer due to the variable marine carbon reservoir and incorporation of organic carbon from the sediment mixed layer. The data constitute calibration series for the use of the bomb pulse as a high-resolution dating tool in the marine environment and as a tracer of coastal ocean water masses. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.

Mora J.W.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Burdick D.M.,University of New Hampshire
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

New England has an extensive history in restricting salt marsh tidal flooding to promote agricultural, industrial, and environmental endeavors. While previous research has focused on the physical and biological impacts of large-scale tidal restrictions, such as dikes and undersized culverts, the effect of smaller historic earthen barriers (average height = 0. 71 m ± 0. 12 SE; average length = 166 m ± 41 SE), or berms, is less understood. Here, we investigate how salt marsh plant communities respond to berms located in the interior of the marsh and oriented parallel to tidal rivers or creeks. Based on the observations from a descriptive study, the landward side of the berm consistently shows a distinct plant species assemblage from the reference areas (ANOSIM: R = 0. 541, p = 0. 001), which is most likely a result of landward pool development. A follow-up manipulative transplant experiment considers how the landward pools affect the governing factors (e. g., physical stress, competition, etc.) controlling the distribution and abundance of Schoenoplectus maritimus and Spartina patens in the landward and seaward zones. The experimental results show that while physical stress seems to prevent robust S. patens growth in the landward zone (ANOVA: F = 24. 697; p < 0. 001), herbivory seems to be the main driving factor behind the low S. maritimus cover found in the seaward zone (Mann-Whitney: U = 56, p = 0. 015). The combined results from the two studies show that berm-associated pools have the potential to impact biological interactions within and across trophic levels in salt marshes. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Mora J.W.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Burdick D.M.,University of New Hampshire
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

In New England salt marshes, man-made earthen barriers, or berms, are generally historic, small-scale (average height = 0.71 m ± 0.12 SE; average length = 166 m ± 41 SE) tidal restrictions which originated from past agricultural, industrial, and environmental practices. The orientation and size depends primarily on the original purpose of the barrier, but this study examines the effects of berms oriented parallel to the incoming tide such that some landward portion of the marsh receives a different tidal signal than the seaward portion. Our hypotheses considered the impacts of the altered hydrology on pore water chemistry and edaphic characteristics. The results indicate that the effect of berms on salt marsh physical structure varies significantly by site. Where the tidal flooding frequency is restricted and drainage is poor, the landward marsh shows pool development, high salinity and sulfide concentrations, and low vegetation cover. In contrast, where tidal flooding is inhibited but the marsh soils are well-drained, salinity and sulfide concentrations decrease and accelerated decomposition results in subsidence and reduced soil organic matter. Given these findings, impacts from berms may impair salt marsh function and resilience to invasive plants and sea level rise. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Greber L.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Frankic A.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Muller J.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences | Year: 2011

The protection and management of coastal zones will face new challenges in the age of global climate change and other exacerbating environmental issues. Addressing these challenges will require input and effort from a broad range of communities and may include reaching beyond traditional participants in coastal management, such as scientists and policy-makers, to involve the commitments and networks of religious communities. Once seen to be at odds, scientific and religious communities are now finding common ground addressing a broad range of environmental concerns, in particular through sharing a key value of environmental stewardship. Are there particular types of environmental programs, languages, or outreach strategies that best suit religious audiences? What can scientific communities learn from religious communities in their turn? The climate as common ground project, based at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, sought to address these questions. The project involved listening to the needs of the various religious communities in the Upper Cape area through conversations, interviews, events, and other venues, then implementing activities suggested by those conversations. We hope that sharing this participatory process and its results, including a holistic science approach to stewardship-oriented institutional cultures, will be useful for others seeking dialogue on environmental issues among scientific and religious communities. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Stott K.J.,University of St. Andrews | Austin W.E.N.,University of St. Andrews | Sayer M.D.J.,Scottish Association for Marine Science | Weidman C.R.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2010

This paper describes potential methods for reconstructing past marine environmental and climatic variability in Scottish coastal waters through the investigation of annual growth increments measured from shells of the long-lived marine bivalve Arctica islandica (L.). This is accomplished by using a combination of sclerochronological and dendrochronological techniques which were employed to determine the age of specimens and to create growth chronologies. Using negative exponential detrending methods, a preliminary A. islandica master chronology for the Lynn of Lorn, Scotland has been produced. This chronology indicates highly suppressed growth between the mid 1940s and late 1980s. The growth response of this species to the sea surface temperatures in Scottish coastal waters appears to be complex, most notably during recent decades when land-use changes and marine aquaculture may influence shell growth at this site. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Vadopalas B.,University of Washington | Weidman C.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Cronin E.K.,University of Washington
Journal of Shellfish Research | Year: 2011

Geoduck clams (Panopea generosa Gould 1850) are large, deep-burrowing bivalves distributed from southeast Alaska to Baja California. This species supports a lucrative fishery in the states of Washington and Alaska, as well as in British Columbia, Canada, and geoduck aquaculture currently supplies approximately 30% of the market. To manage this species effectively, it is important to elucidate the population age structure. Geoduck ages are currently estimated by counting valve growth rings. We used bomb radiocarbon ( 14C) to validate geoduck age estimates derived from counts of growth bands in thin-sectioned valve inner hinge plates. Seven specimens with presumed birth years before, during, and after the bomb testing period (1957 to 1967) were sampled from the first 35 y of growth, and subsequently assayed for 14C using accelerator mass spectrometry. The 14C values from each of our specimens compared with reference 14C chronologies for the northeast Pacific were in accord at estimated birth years. The temporal concordance validates current age estimation methods, and provides a first record of marine bomb radiocarbon in Puget Sound.

James-Pirri M.-J.,University of Rhode Island | Veillette P.A.,University of Rhode Island | Leschen A.S.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology | Year: 2012

Hemolymph from adult female American horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) was analyzed from wild caught and three treatments from a biomedical bleeding experiment: captive control, captive bled, and handled according to Best Management Practices (BMP). A total of 10 constituents were measured: blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, glucose, lactate, protein, and ionic concentrations of calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Protein concentration was positively correlated with size (prosomal width), while sodium and potassium were negatively correlated with size. Only protein concentration differed among groups, with the captive bled BMP group having significantly lower protein values than either captive control or wild crabs. Wild crabs had higher creatinine, glucose, and potassium values compared to all captive groups. Chloride, calcium, magnesium, and sodium concentrations were lower for wild crabs compared to the captive groups. Lower protein values in the captive bled BMP group suggest that prolonged biomedical bleeding may impact crab physiology. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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