Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

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sand dollar with epiphytes

 

The following topics are under investigation at SMS by Smithsonian scientists:


Stephen Box, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by the Summit Foundation
PROJECT: Creating a network of No-Take Zones across the Honduran Caribbean-Catalyzing Fisher-Led Resource Stewardship as a New Paradigm for Marine Management

Stephen Box, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by NOAA
PROJECT: Supporting the Establishment of a Sustainable Conch Fishery with Indigenous Communities in Honduran Moskitia

Stephen Box, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by the National Geographic Society
PROJECT: La Moskitia Marine Fisheries Conservation and Management Project

Rachel Collin and Robert Stallard, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and
Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Spatial and Temporal Variation in Seawater Alkalinity and Calcite Saturation

Ilka (Candy) Feller, John Parker, Richard Osman, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and
Daniel Grunar, University of Maryland
(4-years funded by the National Science Foundation)
PROJECT: Collaborative Research: Multi-Scale Drivers and Effects of Biotic Change in the Global Mangrove-Saltmarsh Ecotone
Abstract: Global climate change is leading to dramatic swings in temperature, precipitation, and sea levels, and much attention has focused on the potential for climate change to generate a wave of species-level extinctions. In contrast to extinction, a potentially more common scenario is that most species’ current ranges will expand and erode in response to climate change.  When expansions and erosions occur in foundation species that define a particular habitat, there may be particularly broad implications by having cascading effects on co-occurring species, their interactions, and the ecosystem services provided by these habitats. This study will test the effects of climate change on the expansion of autotrophic ecosystem engineers (tropical and subtropical mangrove trees) into ecologically and economically valuable habitats (temperate salt marshes), and predict the consequences of this invasion for the functionality and biodiversity of these coastal habitats. We are using a multi-scale approach to investigate the causes of mangrove expansion into salt marsh and the resulting impacts on coastal ecosystems. We will relate the regional mangrove invasion front to climate patterns; examine the role of land use change and especially its impact on nutrient and sediment flow at the sub-region scale; document mangrove population expansion into previously homogenous salt marshes; and elucidate the dynamics of interactions between individual mangrove and salt marsh plants, including their distinct and shared food webs. Understanding the multi-scale dynamics of this biome shift will allow us to answer the following questions: At what rates are continental invasion and local expansion of mangrove into salt marsh happening? What mechanisms at the individual, population, sub-regional and regional scales are driving mangrove invasion? What are the differences in food webs and ecosystem functions between mangrove and salt marsh coastal ecosystems? What are the consequences of mangrove invasion for coastal food webs and ecosystem functions?

Ilka (Candy) Feller, John Parker, Richard Osman, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and
Daniel Grunar, University of Maryland
(4 years funded by NASA to study mangrove invasion of salt marshes as climate changes)
PROJECT: SENSITIVITY OF COASTAL ZONE ECOSYSTEMS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Sarath Gunasekera, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Isolation, Identification and Quantitative Analysis of the Toxic Secondary Metabolites Associated with Cyanobacteria Lyngbya spp. Blooms in Florida

Eric Johnson, University of North Florida and
Gerhardt Riedel and Anson Hines, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
PROJECT: Assessing Essential Fishery Habitat and Spatial Connectivity in a Marine Crustacean Top Predator

C. Seabird McKeon, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Benthic Ecology of the Indian River Lagoon

C. Seabird McKeon, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Biodiversity of Marine Organisms

Whitman Miller and Gerhardt Riedel, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
PROJECT: Spatial and Temporal Variations of the Carbon Dioxide System in Coastal Ecosyhstems

Whitman Miller et al (including Valerie Paul)
(Funded as a Smithsonian Grand Challenge)
PROJECT: Tracking Ecological Change from Ocean Acidification across Latitudes using Autonomous Monitoring and Manipulative Field ExperimentsAbstract: Because of their relative shallowness and reduced salinity and alkalinity, coastal marine habitats and estuaries are inherently less buffered to changes in pH than is the open ocean, making them prone to CO2‐induced changes in pH. Despite their natural variability in pH and pCO2, increases in atmospheric CO2 will likely create a shifting baseline for environmental variability, much more complex than is expected in the open ocean. To date, no studies have focused on measuring and under-standing the complex nature of carbonate chemistry dynamics in coastal systems, especially at spatial and temporal scales that are ecologically relevant to the biota that inhabit such locations. We propose a cross SI unit/cross latitudinal coastal ocean acidification monitoring network which will have two components: 1) collection of continual, long term pCO2, pH, and total alkalinity data at SERC, SMS, and STRI to track acidification dynamics across latitudes and habitat types and; 2) use of O2‐enrichment systems to conduct in‐situ field experiments that will test for the ecological effects of acidification on organisms, species interactions, and community assembly. This research program will represent the first ever coordinated monitoring of ocean acidification in coastal ecosystems directed explicitly at ecological scales.

Jon Norenburg, National Museum of Natural History
PROJECT: Nemerteans of Florida: Systematics, Phylogeography and Life Histories  

Richard Osman, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
and Robert Whitlatch, University of Connecticut
PROJECT: Biogeographic Variation in the Effects of Predators on Recruitment and Development of Benthic Communities

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Ecological Roles of Marine Natural Products  

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: The Impact of Macroalgae on Coral Recruitment

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Ecology and Long-Term Monitoring of the Indian River Lagoon

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers
PROJECT: CERP: Benthic Infaunal Monitoring of the St. Lucie Estuary and the Southern Indian River Lagoon

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by the University of Florida
PROJECT: Novel Targeted Anticancer Agents from Marine Cyanobacteria

Valerie Paul, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Funded by the St. Johns River Water Management District
PROJECT: Reconnaissance of Infauna and Epifauna in the Northern IRL System

Valerie Paul and Charles Delwiche (University of Maryland)
Funded by the University of Maryland & Smithsonian Seed Grant Program
PROJECT: Genomic Insights into Evolution, Ecological Adaptations and Biological Diversity of Tropical Marine Cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria (also known as "blue-green algae") are a group of bacteria that perform plant-like photosynthesis, and release oxygen in the process (plants and algae are capable of photosynthesis because they have cyanobacteria permanently incorporated into their cells). They are among the earliest of all organisms unambiguously identifiable in the fossil record; over the last 3 billion years they have adapted to almost every habitat on Earth, and are important in many environmental and economically important processes, including "black band disease" (BBD) of coral. Despite the importance of this group, it is believed that much of their biological diversity remains unstudied, in part because they can be difficult to grow in the laboratory and are difficult to identify by visual examination. Valerie Paul at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce and Charles Delwiche at the University of Maryland bring together their expertise in cyanobacterial biology and in genomics to apply DNA methods to the study of cyanobacterial diversity in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Valerie J. PaulMote license plate
with Kimberly Ritchie, Jennifer Sneed & Koty Sharp
Funded by POR-2011-21 from Mote Marine Laboratory
PROJECT: The Influence of Marine Microbes on Coral Recruitment in the Florida Keys: Factors Affecting the
Production of Positive Settlement Cues in Inductive Bacterial Strains
The overall goal of this project is to describe the fundamental mechanisms that direct our previously described bacterial induction of coral larval recruitment. Within this context, we propose unique work that addresses how climate change (ocean acidification and increased seawater temperature) will influence coral reef microbiota, and hence coral larval recruitment. Recruitment is a necessary process for the maintenance of healthy reefs, and understanding the role of microbes in this process will add information that will be useful in the development of effective management strategies.

Valerie J. PaulMote license plate
Funded by POR-2013 from Mote Marine Laboratory
PROJECT: The Influence of Marine Microbes on Coral Recruitment in the Florida Keys: Factors Affecting the Production of Positive Settlement Cues

Mary E. Rice, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PROJECT: Life Histories of Marine Invertebrates

Max Teplitski, University of Florida/Smithsonian George Burch Fellow
Funded by Mote Marine Laboratory
PROJECT: Disruption of the Black Band Disease

Mark Torchin, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and
Greg Ruiz, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
PROJECT: Comparison of Demographic Performance, Parasite Transmission and Predatory Impacts of the Invasive Lionfish, Pterois volitans, across Latitudes

Dennis F. Whigham, and Ilka C. (Candy) Feller, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
PROJECT: Effects of Mangroves on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Salt Marshes - A Global Change Scenario

 


Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949
Phone 772-462-6220, Fax 772-461-8154

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