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Schalles Lab summer projects at UGAMI

The Schalles Lab is hard at work in Coastal Georgia, with sponsorship from the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER 4 NSF project. We arrived early in the week of May 23 for about 2 ½ months of field work and data analysis at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island. The first picture shows our summer crew aboard Creighton University Biology Department’s Sundance skiff on Sapelo Sound, Thursday, June 17. This picture was taken at a sampling station about 30 minutes after a European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 Earth Observing Satellite image acquisition. (left to right: Emma Goldsmith, Tommy Pudil, Tommy Mitchell, John Schalles, and Mara Slattery). Our lab is collecting high spectral resolution water reflectance data, along with water samples and vertical sonde profiles, to support Emma’s Creighton Clare Boothe Luce undergraduate fellowship research and one of John Schalles’s faculty sabbatical leave research objectives. These water measurements are intended to help validate and improve recent predictive algorithms for satellite image estimates of phytoplankton chlorophyll a, total suspended matter (TSM), and chromophoric dissolved organic matter CDOM) in the optically complex estuaries and coastal offshore waters of the South Atlantic Bight. Our crew’s other major work involves vegetation sampling, timed with satellite image coverage, to calibrate estimates of Juncus roemerianus (Black Needlerush) above ground biomass. Juncus is the second most abundant marsh species in coastal Georgia and a focus of our lab for the current portion of the 6-year GCE4 award. This summer’s work should allow routine monitoring of Juncus biomass for the entire Georgia coast. Georgia contains more than 1/3rd of all U.S. East Coast salt marshes. Shown in the second picture is Mara Slattery with a fresh sample of Juncus collected from a 0.25 m2 quadrat frame four days after a Sentinel image acquisition on May 28. All four students are majors in Creighton's B.S.in Environmental Science program.

Schalles crew on Sapelo Sound
Mara Slattery with Juncus sample

(Contact John Schalles for additional information)

submitted Jun 20, 2021


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.