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Early Detection of Marsh Dieback and Characterization of Potential Causes

PIs: Chandrasekaran (Chandra) I. Franklin (Savannah State University)

Support: Georgia Coastal Management Program - Coastal Incentive Grant

Timeframe: 2011-2012

Project Ojectives:
In order to determine whether the “Brown Mosaic” phenomenon is an outcome of inadequate rainfall, this research team will collect data on physical (e.g., temperature (air and sediment), salinity, pH, etc.) and biological (e.g., plant and animal densities, number of live or dead Spartina alterniflora shoots, etc.) parameters at a number of sites along the Georgia coast.

A total of 63 data sets each consisting of field data on seven physical parameters and eight biological parameters were generated. Analysis of the field data and plant material indicated that “Brown Mosaic” phenomenon did take place in late summer/fall 2010. The annual rainfall in Savannah for 2010 was 35.75 inches, almost half of the annual rainfall the area received in 2009 (61.11 inches). The fact that “Brown Mosaic” symptom was observed in 2010 and not in 2009 was interpreted to support the study’s hypothesis that “Brown Mosaic” phenomenon is an outcome of inadequate rainfall.

The outcome this research was presented to community volunteers at the Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) Confluence 2011. Approximately 180 participants attended this event. A poster displayed at this meeting and a flyer distributed to the participants was also produced.


Related Projects:

Loss of Salt Marshes in Georgia: Potential Causes and Remedies,
Chandra Franklin (Dept of Natural Science and Mathematics, Savannah State Univ.) and Jan MacKinnon (Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division), 2005.

Marine Biotechnology: Development of In Vitro Methods and Genetic Engineering Technology for Spartina alterniflora to assess the Ecological Impact of Heavy Metal Contamination in Salt Marsh Ecosystems
     Chandra Franklin (Savannah State Univ., Savannah, GA, USA), 2004.

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This page was updated February 28, 2014