GCE Announcements

  • Aug 24, 2019:  Publication News
    SALTEx Paper Published in Science of the Total Environment (more)
  • Aug 24, 2019:  Sapelo News
    E&E News Climate Wire: Tides - Ocean and Tourist - Threaten to Wipe Away Sapelo Island Nature and Culture (more)
  • Aug 20, 2019:  LTER News
    LTER Network Office and Environmental Data Initiative Secure NSF Funding (more)

All GCE News / GCE Calendar

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Sapelo Island Conditions

Marsh Landing Tide Predictions:

Monday, September 16, 2019
Low: 4:27 AM (0.16m)
High: 10:20 AM (2.24m)
Low: 4:42 PM (0.27m)
High: 10:42 PM (2.16m)

Marsh Landing Weather:

Marshlanding Weather Graph
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Marsh Landing Water:

Marshlanding Water Graph
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More Site Conditions:
Current conditions page
GCE Data Portal
Custom tide tables

Welcome to the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER

The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research site (GCE) was established by the National Science Foundation in 2000. The study domain encompasses three adjacent sounds (Altamaha, Doboy, Sapelo) on the coast of Georgia, U.S.A., and includes upland (mainland, barrier islands, marsh hammocks), intertidal (fresh, brackish and salt marsh) and submerged (river, estuary, continental shelf) habitats.

Study site map

Patterns and processes in this complex landscape vary spatially within and between sites, and temporally on multiple scales (tidal, diurnal, seasonal, and inter-annual). Overlain on this spatial and temporal variation are long-term trends caused by climate change, sea level rise, and human alterations of the landscape. These long-term trends are likely to manifest in many ways, including changes in water quality, river discharge, runoff and tidal inundation patterns throughout the estuarine landscape.

Research Context

Over the coming decades, the Georgia coast is expected to experience substantial changes due to factors such as climate change, sea level rise, and human alterations of the landscape. The overarching goal of the GCE LTER is to understand the mechanisms by which variation in the quality, source and amount of both fresh and salt water create temporal and spatial variability in estuarine habitats and processes, in order to predict directional changes that will occur in response to long-term shifts in estuarine salinity patterns.

Transformational Science

Since the GCE-LTER program began in 2000, our research has contributed significantly to understanding patterns and processes that shape estuarine and marsh environments. Some examples of key findings resulting from GCE research are described on the Transformational Science page, and our conceptual model and research questions are described in more detail on the Research Program page of our web site. A list of Signature Publications that reflect that broader goals of the GCE-LTER research program are also available online.

Program Information

The GCE field site is based at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, and the program is administered at the University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences in Athens, Georgia. Over 60 participants, representing 14 academic institutions and agencies, are currently involved in GCE research and educational programs. The GCE Information Management System provides online access to hundreds of core data sets, ancillary data sets from partner agencies, a searchable document and imagery archive, and a searchable bibliography of over 1400 publications from 50 years of research on the Georgia coast and Sapelo Island.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.