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Join us for monthly webinars featuring project teams supported by the NERRS Science Collaborative. Speakers share their unique approaches to addressing current coastal and estuarine management issues. Learn about new methods to integrate technical experts and users of project outputs into the research process, and how their research results and products might inform your work.

Be sure to check back periodically for session recordings and other relevant products, or sign up (Mailing List | RSS) to receive notifications about new resources and upcoming webinars.

Upcoming Webinars

Thu 11/30/2023, 2 - 3pm EST
Kerstin Wasson, Charlie Endris, Andrea Woolfolk, and Suzanne Shull

Estuaries are coastal gems. To protect and restore them, we need a clear understanding of exactly where they are, where they were, and where they could be in the future. A team led by the National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) recently completed an ambitious effort to map estuarine habitat in and around the 30 NERRs. They used a powerful combination of NOAA resources for elevation and tidal datums to map the reach of tides, historical topographic sheets generated by NOAA’s predecessor agency to map past habitat distributions, and compared this to mapping from USFWS’s National Wetland Inventory (NWI).

Elevation-based mapping revealed that estuary extent is greater  than currently mapped in NWI. At more than two-thirds of the Reserves, the team detected tidal forests missed by NWI.  Comparison of historical maps to NWI revealed dramatically greater loss of tidal wetland extent on the Pacific coast than in other regions. The results of this investigation suggest that multiple mapping methods complement each other and should be integrated to provide a more accurate understanding of estuaries—past, present and future.

Project Lead 

  • Kerstin Wasson, Research Coordinator, Elkhorn Slough NERR

Technical Leads

  • Andrea Woolfolk, Stewardship Coordinator, Elkhorn Slough NERR
  • Charlie Endris, GIS Specialist, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Suzanne Shull, GIS Specialist, Padilla Bay NERR

Collaborative Lead

  • Dan Brumbaugh, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Elkhorn Slough NERR

Technical and Collaborative Advisor

  • Laura Brophy, Estuary Technical Group Director, Institute for Applied Ecology


Kerstin Wasson, Elkhorn Slough NERR

Kerstin is passionate about science-based conservation and restoration of estuaries, and complements local-placed based work in coastal California with syntheses across the national estuarine reserve system. She coordinated this project.

Charlie Endris, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Charlie has worked as a GIS and remote sensing specialist for more than 15 years. He has focused on using digital elevation models, orthoimagery, and historical T-sheets to characterize habitat change and model projected sea level rise along coastal California. Charlie used NOAA datasets to create elevation-based models depicting maximum   
tide and lake levels for this project, and NWI for extracting existing habitat information.

Andrea Woolfolk, Elkhorn Slough NERR 

Andrea has been working on coastal ecology and land management in the Elkhorn Slough area since 1994. At the Reserve, she focuses on upland habitat management, and she particularly loves working with others to restore native grasses and wildflowers where she can. She has a deeply nerdy interest in historical ecology, and she helped map historical habitats from T-sheets for this project.

Suzanne Shull, Padilla Bay NERR 

Suzanne has been providing nearshore geospatial data, products, and support to the Padilla Bay Reserve for 25 years.  She was involved with the conversion of the historical maps to GIS map layers, comparing that to habitat maps of more current conditions (primarily NWI data), analyzing change between the two and posting the maps to ArcGIS Online.

Past Webinars

Wed 10/18/2023, 3 - 4pm EDT
Jessica Kinsella

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is an open-source, international network of community hosted radio-telemetry receivers and wildlife researchers designed to investigate a wide variety of wildlife movement questions. Volunteer partners host and operate receiving stations across the world that autonomously listen for flying migratory animals equipped with transmitters called nanotags. Researchers rely on the receivers for movement data for a diversity of tagged wildlife, including birds, bats, and insects. Despite widespread interest in wildlife tracking and research within and beyond the Reserve system, this technology has only been used sporadically at a few reserve sites to date.

In 2018, the ACE Basin NERR received private funding to implement a Motus receiver station at partner State Park, which sparked interest from potential collaborators. Since 2020, a multi-reserve project led by the ACE Basin Reserve has held a series of workshops to provide guidance and assistance on siting, construction, installation, and interpretation of Motus sites at participating reserves. In this webinar, project lead Jessica Kinsella shares how this effort has created new partnerships and positioned the Reserve as a regional leader for the Motus initiative, while enabling partners to increase their contribution to coastal bird research and engage their intended users in coastal bird conservation and management.

Jessica Kinsella is the Stewardship Coordinator at the ACE Basin Reserve in South Carolina and served as both a collaborative lead and the project lead for the Motus project. She has extensive outreach, education, and resource management experience and, in her current role, coordinates with existing and develops new Motus-related partnerships.

Learn more about community science at the ACE Basin Reserve

Thu 6/22/2023, 3 - 4pm EDT
Julie Gonzalez, Chris Peter, Kelly Darnell, Caitlin Young, and Doug George


Curious about collaborative science but unsure how to get started? Maybe you’re an early career scientist and you’re worried that collaborative science goals won’t align with the metrics and rewards of the academic tenure-track system. Or maybe you’re a resource manager or steward who is intrigued about the advantages of a collaborative approach but you’re not sure how it could fit into your work.

No matter your career track or level of experience, we believe collaborative science should be accessible and that there are countless entry points and pathways to success. If you are - or are working with - someone wondering how to get started doing collaborative science, this webinar is for you. Collaborative science practitioners at different moments in their careers discuss what it takes to do collaborative science, how it’s different, and why it makes a difference. 

Collaborative Science Conversations          
The NOAA RESTORE Science and NERRS Science Collaborative programs are back at it, teaming up to bring you the voices of project teams from the field through our Collaborative Conversations webinar series. These sessions dig into the unique value of collaborative science, what it feels like in practice, and tips and strategies for success. 

About RESTORE: The NOAA RESTORE Science Program was authorized by Congress in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. The Science Program supports teams of resource managers, researchers, and stakeholders committed to working together to produce science that helps answer the questions resource managers are facing.


Julie Gonzalez is a Ph.D. Candidate at University of California, Davis, and a current NOAA Margaret A. Davidson Fellow with the San Francisco Bay NERR. She is interested in estuarine community ecology, how to improve coastal habitat restoration and assessment, facilitating collaborative co-development of research projects and considering multiple stakeholder perceptions in the process. Over the past eight years she has been involved in several restoration projects along the California and Oregon coasts as both a research scientist and former Sea Grant Fellow/Project Manager with California State Coastal Conservancy. 
Chris Peter leads the research and monitoring programs at the Great Bay Reserve. He also participates in regional and national efforts that advance estuarine science, monitoring and restoration, including a regional project that is studying how sea level rise will impact our salt marshes in the future. Chris appreciates Adams Point as the gateway to the Bay and enjoys paddling on the Lamprey. Before coming to the Reserve, he was a marine and estuarine scientist at the University of New Hampshire’s Jackson Estuarine Lab. He earned a Master’s of Science in Natural Resources and a Bachelor’s of Science in Water Resource Management from the University of New Hampshire.

Kelly Darnell is the Interim Director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and is faculty in USM’s Division of Coastal Sciences. She is a coastal ecologist whose research focuses on the biology and ecology of seagrass ecosystems. Dr. Darnell frequently collaborates with natural resource managers to ensure the results of her research can be applied to management, conservation, and restoration decision-making. Dr. Darnell is also Director of the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence, a $25M research grants program with the mission of understanding stressors on Gulf of Mexico ecosystems to facilitate sustainable use of its natural resources, and she is President of the Gulf Estuarine Research Society, a professional society whose goal is to promote research in the Gulf of Mexico.



Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. 
Caitlin Young is the Science Coordinator for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. She leads the Science Program’s efforts to synthesize environmental and human dimension research data available for the Gulf of Mexico to design funding competitions. She has a background in geochemistry and has researched the impacts of submarine groundwater discharge on coastal ecosystems. 
Wed 4/26/2023, 2 - 3pm EDT
Lisa Maillard

Collaborative science is an inclusive approach that creates many different pathways of science to application. While there are several key elements - design within context, dialog between researchers and non-researchers, and tailored processes and products - how these elements come together can look very different from project to project. As the NERRS Science Collaborative continues to learn alongside project teams and refine its approach to support collaborative science across the reserve system, it also seeks to understand the evolution of its own approach and impact.

In collaboration with the NERRS Science Collaborative Team, University of Michigan PhD student Lisa Maillard built upon a previous investigation of how Science Collaborative-supported teams work to document collaborative intents, processes, and outcomes, and what these three concepts can look like in “real world” collaborative science projects. This webinar shares the findings of this work - that the intensification and diversification of engagement processes have resulted in a growing understanding of the value and impact of collaborative science. Lisa will also share how this work is being translated into guidance for the program and resources for collaborative science practitioners and applicants.

lisa maillardLisa Maillard, SEAS Doctoral Candidate & NERRS Science Collaborative Graduate Student Research Assistant

Lisa Maillard is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability studying the processes of engaged research and actionable sustainability knowledge creation. Her research for the NERRS Science Collaborative centers on analyzing the institutional dimensions of collaborative science and understanding how these dimensions translate to project impacts and user experience.

Fri 2/17/2023, 2 - 3pm EST
Lea Anne Burke, Tehani Malterre, Alice Yeates, Ashley Russell, Deanna Erickson, and Bree Turner

As highly productive social-ecological systems, estuaries have continuously been central to Indigenous lifeways. Indigenous science, stewardship practices, and co-management can strengthen well-being for lands, waters, and people. This session advances understanding of the concerns of Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations to help coastal practitioners address social and environmental justice with a focus on Pacific Northwest coastal systems. Presenters share ways that land stewards can support thriving relationships with estuaries, sustaining cultural knowledge and practices.

Tribal Nations are sovereign governments with needs distinct from other coastal stakeholders. Estuarine lands and waters in the US may have been ceded via treaties, remain unceded, or ceded with important rights retained. While formal government-to-government consultation with Tribal governments or Indigenous governance organizations is required by certain state or federal policies, other types of tribal engagement can still be rigorous, productive, and supportive of conservation and restoration goals. Learn from examples at the South Slough Reserve, Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw, the NOAA EPP/MSI program, and the Puget Sound Partnership.

Learn more about the speakers:

Lea Anne Burke is the Tribal Affairs Manager for the Puget Sound Partnership, the agency's first point of contact for tribal governments. She works to maintain and improve intergovernmental relations, develop protocols, create engagement opportunities, and build deep relationships with tribal nations. A graduate of The Evergreen State College and the University of Washington, Lea Anne has a background in tribal land use planning, landscape architecture, city governance, natural resources management, environmental restoration, and Native community development. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.
Tehani Malterre is a senior undergraduate student studying Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Tehani is in her second year as a NOAA EPP/MSI (Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions) scholar. After graduating, she hopes to study ecosystems ecology or conservation biology in graduate school. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.
Alice Yeates is the Stewardship Coordinator at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Alice has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Queensland and one of her primary roles at the Reserve is to coordinate restoration projects. Alice works closely with Tribal partners to practice co-stewardship at the Reserve and her role in this project was to communicate about one of these partnerships. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.
Ashley Russell is an Oregon State University (OSU) graduate of Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Fisheries and Wildlife Science and recently completed her Herbal Immersion Program through the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. She is also a Miluk Coos Tribal Member and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw and Indians (CTCLUSI). She has worked for her Tribe in many capacities over the last 8 years and was recently promoted to Assistant Director of the Culture and Natural Resources Department on Summer Solstice of this year. Her personal goal is to help Tribal members reclaim their medicine. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.
Deanna Erickson is the director (and previously, the first education coordinator) at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. She leads a dedicated team who conducts research, education, outreach and stewardship along Lake Superior estuaries, focusing on the St. Louis River in Superior within the 1842 and 1854 Ceded Territory of the Ojibwe. She coordinated, moderated and sought funding for a dedicated session focused on Indigenous leadership in estuary stewardship at the 2022 Restore America’s Estuaries Summit, from which this presentation is derived.  
Bree Turner is a Senior Coastal Management Specialist on contract with NOAA's Office for Coastal Management to support the National Estuarine Research Reserves. She has 20 years of diverse experience working in the coastal management sector with federal governments, non-profits, state agencies, Tribal governments and universities. She has a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College and a Master's degree from University of California - Davis. Bree was a co-coordinator and advisor on this project.
Tue 1/17/2023, 3 - 4pm EST
Samantha Chapman, Kaitlyn Dietz, and Tess Adgie

Portions of wetlands at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve in Northeastern Florida are predicted to collapse over the next century due to the onslaught of rising sea levels and major storms. To sustain these vulnerable wetland habitats, scientists and land managers must understand the complex relationships between plant and sediment inputs and surface elevation levels. This 2020 catalyst project developed a Coastal Vulnerability Index to assess what role particular habitats are playing in preventing coastal erosion at the GTM Reserve, and these data have demonstrated how management decisions can help increase or maintain wetland surface elevation. In this webinar, the project team will discuss key findings and share important implications the project will have on communal restoration planning addressing sea level rise in the region.

Learn more about the speakers:

Samantha Chapman, Co-director of Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stewardship, Villanova University

Samantha Chapman is the co-director of Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stewardship at Villanova University. She heads the WETFEET project and was the lead investigator for the Experimenting with Elevation project. Samantha, her Villanova team, and collaborators at GTMNERR are taking a multifaceted approach (global change experiments, stakeholder engagement, field observation, remote sensing) to inform the restoration and conservation goals of the GTMNERR.

Kaitlyn Dietz, Collaboration Coordinator, Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve

Kaitlyn Dietz is the collaboration coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve where she helps to translate science into application and action.  Collaboratively, through a large network of local and regional partners, the GTM Research Reserve shares data, information, and expertise that allow stakeholders to quickly respond to changing local needs. 

Tess Adgie, Manager, Chapman-Langley Lab, Villanova University

Tess Adgie is the laboratory manager in the Chapman-Langley lab at Villanova University where she helps to organize, analyze, and apply experimental and spatial data to inform restoration and conservation projects within the GTMNERR. She has worked as a technician on the WETFEET Project and Experimenting with Elevation Project, focusing on wetland plant community dynamics in the context of climate driven ecosystem change.

Wed 11/2/2022, 3 - 4pm EDT
Soupy Dalyander, George Ramseur, Aimee Good, and Stuart Siegel

Ecosystems don’t care about political boundaries, even if the natural resources within them are managed by multiple entities. Research projects that span political boundaries can often be sticky – decisions are made on long timelines, changes in policy and staff can derail implementation of projects and the tools they produce, and it can be difficult to effectively engage diverse stakeholders so that their perspectives inform the work. Enter: collaborative science. In situations with complex and competing interests, there is a higher likelihood that science will be applied to decision making when problems are tackled with a collaborative science framework. In this webinar, collaborative science project teams discuss how to work across political boundaries and with different partners to develop shared tools, models, and action plans that will improve ecosystem management.

Collaborative Science Conversations 
The NOAA RESTORE Science and NERRS Science Collaborative programs team up to bring you the voices of project teams from the field through our Collaborative Science Conversations webinar series. These sessions dig into the unique value of collaborative science, what it feels like in practice, and tips and strategies for success. 

Next year: Spring 2023 | Hear more about what the development of a collaborative science project entails and what the co-production process means for the science and the products.

About RESTORE: The NOAA RESTORE Science Program was authorized by Congress in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. The Science Program supports teams of resource managers, researchers, and stakeholders committed to working together to produce science that helps answer the questions resource managers are facing.


Soupy Dalyander, Senior Research Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf

Patricia “Soupy” Dalyander is a Senior Research Scientist with the Water Institute of the Gulf, where she has worked since 2019. She has over 20 years of experience in oceanography, water quality modeling, and decision support, predominantly with federal science and engineering agencies. Soupy’s professional experience in researching coastal processes and informing decisions in resource management includes working with the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program of the U.S. Geological Survey at the St Petersburg and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Centers. She has also worked on sediment management, water quality, and decision-support projects as a research physical scientist for the Engineering Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

George Ramseur, Senior Coastal Scientist, Moffatt & Nichol

George Ramseur Jr. has recently extended his career in coastal restoration by joining Moffatt & Nichol as a senior coastal scientist in the Mobile, AL office. He recently retired from a 15+ year career at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources culminating as the Director of Ecological Restoration. He has been implementing ecological restoration in coastal Mississippi for the last 25 years, beginning with The Nature Conservancy in 1997 and after 2006, with the MDMR. In 2017, after a decade of GOMA partnerships, he initiated the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Coastal System “co-productive” science planning domain, which is now developing thanks to a grant from the NOAA RESTORE Science program.

Aimee Good, Wetland Science & Coastal Training Program Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR

Aimee Good has over two decades of experience leading training programs in the San Francisco estuary, including an innovative bottom up stakeholder engagement project to address coastal flooding at the research reserve. Her work utilizes a collaborative approach to enhancing capacity and partner engagement on all levels to address issues of climate change, marsh resilience and coastal intelligence. She finds any excuse to be out at reserve sites working with decision makers, stakeholders, partners and neighbors. Never one to shy away from new initiatives, her work ranges from adaptation planning & nature based solutions, wetland monitoring  & delineation to migratory bird tracking.

Stuart Siegel, Manager, San Francisco Bay NERR

Stuart's interests are in how to guide the adaptive management process meaningfully and cost effectively. His current collaborative research project combines state and local agencies, recreation and conservation groups, and a federally recognized tribe on an adaptation project. These efforts can include bringing “lessons learned” to bear, cost-effective assessment methodologies, systematic integrative synthesis, regional assessment strategies, and the incorporation of outcomes into effective governance structures. 


Doug George, NERRS Science Collaborative Program Manager, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. Doug’s educational background includes a B.S in Oceanography from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, a M.Sc. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

Caitlin Young, Science Coordinator, NOAA RESTORE Science Program

Caitlin Young is the Science Coordinator for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. She leads the Science Program’s efforts to synthesize environmental and human dimension research data available for the Gulf of Mexico to design funding competitions. She has a background in geochemistry and has researched the impacts of submarine groundwater discharge on coastal ecosystems. Caitlin has a BS in Geology from Tulane University and a PhD in Geosciences from Stony Brook University.

Wed 10/12/2022, 2 - 3pm EDT
Andrew Tweel

Shorebird populations are declining globally in the face of sea level rise, increasing coastal development, and shoreline modifications. The piping plover and red knot have exhibited population declines in recent years, particularly in the intertidal habitats of South Carolina. Recent research has established linkages between benthic prey abundance and foraging activity along South Carolina beaches; however, most of these projects focused on determining impacts from shoreline modification, rather than quantifying habitat characteristics. Identifying characteristics associated with optimal foraging habitat can help inform state and federal permitting and habitat management activities in areas these shorebirds inhabit.

A project team at the ACE Basin Reserve worked with the SC Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a habitat assessment tool for the piping plover and red knot. In this webinar, project lead Andrew Tweel shares methods and outcomes of the project, including a refined list of preferred prey species for piping plovers and a preliminary list for red knots. Tweel discusses what prey species are important, what makes certain areas foraging hotspots for the piping plover and red knot, and how this information can inform management decisions within South Carolina and across the U.S.

About the speaker:

Andrew Tweel is a landscape ecologist and leads the Environmental Research Section at the Marine Resources Research Institute. His research combines field studies and GIS-based analyses to help understand how coastal ecosystems are affected by development, stormwater runoff, and shoreline modification. Andrew served as project lead, coordinating integration of technical and collaborative elements of the project.
Thu 9/8/2022, 3 - 4pm EDT
Puaʻala Pascua, Eleanor Sterling, and Rachel Dacks

Ecosystem service assessments are a top priority at many reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. However, within ecosystem services research, there is a critical gap surrounding the equitable representation of cultural ecosystem services (CES) — one of four main categories of ecosystem services. The inclusion of CES in natural resource planning is critical, as they encompass the diverse suite of interactions between humans and the environment that maintain place-based values, worldviews, cultural identity, and well-being.

Through a catalyst grant, a project team worked with two sites in the Pacific - Heʻeia Reserve in Hawaiʻi and Kachemak Bay Reserve in Alaska - to advance the equitable representation of CES in estuary stewardship. In this webinar, three project team members discuss strategies implemented to deepen and expand the meaningful inclusion of CES in estuary stewardship and management. They share lessons learned in identifying and implementing CES in reserve management and in co-designing deliverables and approaches for end user needs.

Learn more about the speakers:

Puaʻala Pascua specializes in locally and culturally attuned approaches to natural resource management. In her current role as a Program Coordinator with the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance Foundation, she works alongside a network of community partners to advance community-centered stewardship and restoration efforts that honor place-based knowledges, practices, relationships, and processes.
Eleanor Sterling is the Director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. A scientist with interdisciplinary training, she currently focuses on the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages; the factors influencing ecological and social resilience; the development of indicators of well-being in biocultural landscapes, and engaging with Indigenous marine management approaches.
Rachel Dacks is a researcher at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. She is an interdisciplinary scientist, whose research, guided by local values and perspectives, explores place-based solutions to pressing problems involving the human dimensions of natural resource management in marine and terrestrial systems in Hawaiʻi and across the Pacific Islands. She uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, some of which she has shared (and learned) as part of the Catalyst Project.
Thu 7/14/2022, 2 - 3pm EDT
Christopher Biggs and Philip Souza

Soundscape ecology is a promising new field that studies the sounds produced above and below water using a variety of acoustic sensors. Passive acoustic monitoring records sound produced over multiple levels of biological complexity which can be used to investigate and monitor biodiversity, behaviors such as feeding and spawning, and anthropogenic noise. By implementing acoustic monitoring, scientists and managers can identify key habitats for protection and measure how ecological communities respond to environmental changes (e.g. storm events, coastal development, eutrophication) in a cost-effective and low-impact manner.

This project brought together academic leaders in bioacoustics, estuarine ecology, and fisheries ecology with managers and staff from the Mission-Aransas, Rookery Bay, and North Inlet-Winyah Bay reserves. The goal was to develop a framework for a new acoustic monitoring program that could be integrated with reserve programs throughout the region, including: long-term system monitoring; targeted research, e.g. oyster reefs; stewardship applications, e.g. visitor use and anthropogenic noise; and education programs such as TOTE. In this webinar, project lead Chris Biggs talks about the project approach and management context, shares lessons learned from the project, and discusses the value of active acoustic monitoring as a component of ecosystem stewardship.

Learn more about the speakers:

Christopher Biggs is a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. His research expertise is in the reproductive behavior of fishes and passive acoustic monitoring of estuarine systems. His work utilizes hydrophones to monitor sound production in marine organisms to understand behavior, productivity, and habitat utilization along with the impacts of anthropogenic noise. Chris was the project lead of the Science Collaborative Catalyst Grant on Acoustic monitoring.
Philip Souza is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. His research uses passive acoustic techniques to monitor soundscapes in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, with a focus on biological sound production. Specific projects include monitoring sciaenid fish spawning activity, tracking restored oyster reef soundscape development, and investigating the relationships between biological sound production and community measures (e.g., fish abundance and biodiversity).
Wed 6/29/2022, 3 - 4pm EDT
Brandon Puckett, Whitney Jenkins, Cristiana Falvo, Justin Ridge, Brittany Morse, Allix North, and Erik Smith

Tidal wetland monitoring is critical for detecting changes and managing these vulnerable coastal ecosystems. Wetland monitoring programs typically use ground-based measurements or satellite observations to track changes at small and large scales - but these approaches may miss important processes that occur at intermediate spatial scales or result from discrete events such as extreme storms. Mounting sensors on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - commonly known as drones - offers an opportunity to radically improve tidal wetland monitoring programs by providing high spatial resolution, coverage, and customization on the operator’s schedule.

This project team worked with the six National Estuarine Research Reserves in the Southeast and Caribbean to develop, assess, and collaboratively refine a protocol for drone operation, data management, and data analysis. In this webinar, which consists of a presentation and panel discussion, members of the project team talk about their approach which included ground-based validation and drone-based observation to estimate common wetland monitoring parameters and a collaborative process for developing the protocols. They also share lessons learned, products developed, and benefits that have emerged from this work.

Learn more about the speakers:

Brandon Puckett served as Research Coordinator at the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve (NC NERR) for the last seven years before recently transitioning to a Research Biologist position with NCCOS. His research interests, broadly speaking, center around the ecology of coastal habitats—focusing primarily on oysters, tidal marshes, and, to a lesser degree, seagrasses. Some of his recent research has focused on advancing the use of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (i.e., drones) for monitoring and, ultimately, assessing coastal habitats to inform management and improve restoration outcomes. Brandon received his Ph.D. in marine science from North Carolina State University and his M.S. in fisheries science from the University of Maryland.
Whitney Jenkins has been the coordinator of the North Carolina Coastal Training Program since 2002. The goal of the program is to promote informed coastal decisions through science-based training for professionals. Training programs focus on sustainable development, water quality protection, and coastal hazards. Whitney is also responsible for developing and facilitating Collaborative Learning processes for groups such as the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative. Whitney has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of Florida. Whitney is based at the Coastal Reserve’s headquarters in Beaufort, but coordinates training across North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties.
Cristiana Falvo is a drone pilot and research technician in Duke's Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab and holds a Master of Coastal Environmental Management (CEM) degree from Duke University. With a background in data management from the U.S. Geological Survey and slew of data science and communication skills acquired from the CEM program, Cristiana supports the drone lab’s various projects by helping to collect, process, analyze and manage aerial imagery. In addition to her data crunching duties, Cristiana has a growing interest in making our coasts more resilient to climate change and finds value in engaging with her surrounding community.
Justin Ridge leads the Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab’s coastal mapping research, advancing multiscale remote sensing applications for coastal science and management. His research in estuarine systems has involved master’s work in Florida, doctoral work in North Carolina, and postdoctoral work with the MaRRS Lab since 2017 with a heavy focus in the NERRS. His research activities include the application of novel methods (e.g., drones, deep learning, etc.) for coastal resource management in the face of human and climatic driven changes, taking him all along the US East and Gulf Coasts and down to Belize.
Brittany Morse is a Research Specialist at the North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR) where she assists with long term monitoring projects, as well as processes and analyzes UAS imagery. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science and Geography from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry, estuarine ecology, and remote sensing.
Allix North serves as the Stewardship Coordinator for Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR in NE Florida. She leads the UAV program, GIS and Spatial ecology program, and the prescribed fire program. She collaborates with other sectors providing drone imagery and GIS products. Allix has a Bachelors Degree for UF in Natural Resource Conservation and two Masters Certificates in Geospatial Analysis and Unmanned Air System Mapping from UF.
Erik Smith is the Manager of the North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR) and has previously served as its Research Coordinator. He received a Ph. D. from the University of Maryland and has active research interests in estuarine ecology and biogeochemistry. Erik is a FAA Part 107 certified pilot and leads the NI-WB NERR’s Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) program, which is operationalizing the use of UAS to expand the temporal and spatial scope of the reserve’s marsh monitoring efforts through standardized repeated sampling of UAS-collected multispectral reflectance indices.