Research fellowship to identify oyster stressors
The N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve is partnering with N.C. Sea Grant to sponsor a research fellowship that explores the impacts temperature and nutrients from projects such as urban development are having on North Carolina’s intertidal oyster reefs.
The work of Michelle Brodeur, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, builds upon research she completed last summer on how temperature and nutrient stress affect the fitness of coastal seagrass meadows.
The research is being conducted in the intertidal oyster reefs in the Rachel Carson component of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Brodeur will work with her advisor F. Joel Fodrie, on the project, which is titled “Managing Intertidal Oyster Reefs In A Changing Climate: How Macroalgal Cover Affects Reef Dynamics Within The Rachel Carson Reserve.”
The North Carolina fellowship is one of four in 2011 that pair Sea Grant programs in southeastern states with their National Estuarine Research Reserve counterparts. North Carolina Sea Grant established the regional fellowships based on a successful pilot program started in 2010 with the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve. The N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the N.C. Division of Coastal Management.
“North Carolina has been a leader in regional partnerships among NOAA programs,” said Steve Rebach, North Carolina Sea Grant associate director. “The new fellowships offer Sea Grant’s traditional applied research emphasis to important questions regarding coastal habitats.”
Brodeur says her goal is to gain greater understanding of the science behind the interactive effects of multiple stressors on coastal ecosystem processes. Her results can provide critical data as resource managers consider ecosystem-based strategies.
“Michelle’s work will provide valuable information that will assist not only the reserve, but also other state resource agencies, in managing our shell-bottom habitat,” said John Fear, research coordinator for the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve. “The joint fellowship with North Carolina Sea Grant is a wonderful example of how collaboration between programs can make limited research dollars stretch as far as possible.”