On an uncharacteristically warm couple of days in early February, Kate, Elizabeth, and Dani attended the first annual Marsh Resilience Summit hosted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Williamsburg, Virginia. This event was organized to bring together researchers, non-profit groups, wetland restoration practitioners, and other stakeholders to address issues related to coastal marsh restoration in the face of climate change. There was so much interest in the summit that VIMS had to move it off their campus to a nearby hotel to accommodate all the attendees. Over 200 people were present! A large portion of the event was dedicated to discussing the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative. Sentinel sites are research stations where scientists measure changes in coastal ecosystems throughout the Bay. The summit was in part organized by Keryn Gedan, Assistant Professor of Biology at George Washington University and one of our very close project collaborators!
Kate gave a wonderful talk entitled Agroecosystems in transition: sea level rise and saltwater intrusion alter biogeochemical cycling in coastal farmlands and Dani and Elizabeth presented posters on their current research. Dani’s poster was on her three summers of work collecting water sample data from coastal farms, marshes, and forests. Elizabeth’s poster was on carbon fractions on farm fields undergoing saltwater intrusion. (Shout out—she won the Outstanding Student Presentation Award for her talk, based on this poster, at the annual American Geophysical Union conference). There she is below with her awesome poster and the newest little ecologist—Toby Gedan! Of course, Toby told us that he loved all of the wetland talks that Keryn took him to during the conference.
The summit included many discussion-stimulating talks related to marsh migration, opportunities to enhance conservation policies, coastal community resilience, wetland ecosystem services, management and restoration techniques, dredge materials, living shorelines, and relationships between marshes, agriculture and industry. Though this summit wont be held for another few years, it certainly sparked a great amount of sharing of ideas and collaboration between people interested in protecting the marshes, in the Chesapeake Bay and worldwide!
-By Dani Weissman and Elizabeth de la Reguera