The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay and the National Park Service are introducing a webinar series entitled, ‘Research of Jamaica Bay’.
Each month, we will feature two researchers whose work revolves around Jamaica Bay. This is an effort to coordinate and share scientific data, information, tools, and resources with our partners and networks working in Jamaica Bay and at other similar urban estuaries across the country and the world.
The series occurs every third Thursday of the month.
Schedule of Webinar Presentations
>>November 16, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Health, function, and resilience of Jamaica Bay marshes
Featuring Philip Orton, Stevens Institute of Technology and Kirk Cochran, Stony Brook University
Salt marshes are an integral part of estuarine and coastal ecosystems and provide valuable ecological, economic, and social services. Researchers have been determining the health and assessing the ecosystem services of salt marshes in Jamaica Bay.
Dr. Kirk Cochran shares his perspective of the sediment geochemistry of salt marshes in Jamaica Bay, while Dr. Philip Orton presents a brief history of the evolution of Jamaica Bay marshes and their physical benefits during storms.
Both researchers’ work and findings show that sediment geochemistry and supply are integral to salt marshes and their ability to keep up with sea level rise.
To attend, please register in advance at:
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PAST WEBINAR PRESENTATIONS
>October 19, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Shellfish Functionality in Jamaica Bay
Featuring Chester Zarnoch, CUNY: Baruch College and Christopher Gobler, Stony Brook University.
Bivalve shellfish are important species in the estuary ecosystem. They are key in filtering water, creating habitat, and controlling eutrophication. Researchers have taken an interest in restoring bivalve shellfish populations and investigating the ecosystem effects of shellfish restoration efforts. In particular, they have examined their current environmental conditions to support the population, and if restoration would enhance the ecosystem service of water filtration and nitrogen removal.
The research and its results should inform future restoration and management actions in this important urban water body.
>September 21, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Researching Jamaica Bay Diamondback Terrapins
Featuring Russell Burke, Hofstra University and Alexandra Kanonik, American Littoral Society – Northeast Chapter
The history of diamondback terrapins in Jamaica Bay is shrouded in mystery, but they were certainly an important food for native Americans and European colonists. Jamaica Bay’s terrapins are the only well-studied urban population. Nearly all we know about Jamaica Bay’s terrapins comes from studies of their nesting ecology—they nest on some of Jamaica Bay’s relatively recently created islands and shorelines. One major population nests on Ruler’s Bar Hassock, another at JFK airport, and these populations have very different characteristics despite being so close.
Researchers, students, and citizen scientists have been studying the Jamaica Bay diamondback terrapins since 1998. The project has evolved into a combination of citizen science and robust scientific investigation on the ecology of New York City’s singular terrapin population. Citizen science has increasingly become the go-to tool used by researchers for collecting important long-term data. The major goals of this work have been to understand the basic ecology of this species and identify threats to its populations while providing diverse opportunities for environmental education for local residents.
>August 17, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Jamaica Bay Horseshoe Crabs
Featuring Matthew Sclafani, Cornell Cooperative Extension (Suffolk County) and Mark Botton, Fordham University
Having existed for more than 450 million years, a large population of horseshoe crabs lives in Jamaica Bay, an urban estuary that is characterized by armored shorelines, high nutrient loads, increased levels of pollutants, and seasonally low oxygen levels and pH. While urban estuaries present challenges for horseshoe crab survival, researchers are studying their life cycles and their ability to live in these habitats as well as integrate opportunities to involve the public in research and increase awareness of the importance of the conservation and survival of horseshoe crabs.
Matthew Sclafani has been leading the charge of the New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network. The intent of this network is to encourage participants to get involved with this annual monitoring program on various New York beaches and assist with the collection of scientific data that is used to assess the status of horseshoe crabs in NY State.
Mark Botton’s research focuses on the behavior, ecology and conservation biology of horseshoe crabs. With emphasis to Jamaica Bay, Mark has been studying horseshoe crab site selection and juvenile horseshoe crab survival in this area. In particular and in partnership with various institutions, he has been investigating how beach replenishment projects impact horseshoe crab nesting-site selection.
>July 20, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Microbial Communities and Functionality of Jamaica Bay
Featuring Nathan Morris, CUNY: York College and Mary Alldred, CUNY: Baruch College
Coastal vegetation areas such as wetlands and salt marshes are important areas for Jamaica Bay. Not only do they provide habitat for mega-fauna like birds and fish, but they also provide habitat for microbial communities. These communities are vital in providing important services such as nutrient-cycling, leading to the viability and health of these habitats.
During this webinar presentation, Nathan Morris explains his research on understanding the diversity and taxonomic composition of these microbial communities, critical to nutrient cycling in estuarine sediment, while Mary Alldred describes the relationship of these communities in relation to assessing how marsh vegetation, sediment characteristics, and key processes of the nitrogen cycle develop over time following a marsh restoration. Both Morris and Alldred highlight that understanding the “micro-world” can have a large impact on the health of the large habitats and wildlife such as those that reside in Jamaica Bay.
Nathan Morris and Mary Alldred are both 2016 SRIJB Research Fellows. Learn more about their work and the SRIJB Research Fellowship.
>June 15, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Jamaica Bay Landscape Vegetation Assessment
Featuring Helen Forgione, Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), and Steven Handel, Rutgers University.
Vegetation is crucial to the health of Jamaica Bay; it cleans and cools our air, it provides habitat for wildlife, and it helps lessen erosion.
There is ongoing work to assess the types of vegetation that exist in the coastal areas of Jamaica Bay. Research has helped to identify the most vulnerable areas and also suggest ways of maintaining the vegetative fringe areas during the decades ahead.
Through surveys and assessments as well as experimentation and monitoring, Helen Forgione and Steven Handel give their insights to the landscape vegetation assessment and work they and their teams have been doing in Jamaica Bay as well as prospects going into the future.
>May 18, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Jamaica Bay Historical Ecology and Change
Featuring Dr. Eric Sanderson, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) ; Dr. John Waldman, City University of New York (CUNY): Queens College.
Despite being situated in the intensely urbanized, highly populated city of New York, Jamaica Bay and its watershed have received only minimal historical attention. Recently, there has been work to assess its history and its ecology throughout the years. Through in-depth analyses of archived newspapers, old maps, historical descriptions, and geographic modelling, Dr. John Waldman and Dr. Eric Sanderson provide an interesting overview of Jamaica Bay’s historical change and ecology, how its past influenced its present conditions, and finally, its prospects going into the future.
Dr. John Waldman will provide a brief overview of what we found about the environment of Jamaica Bay in our survey of regional newspapers from about 1840-1910.
Dr. Eric Sanderson will discuss his findings about the historical dynamics of Jamaica Bay’s ecology from old maps, historical descriptions, and geographic modelling. He will briefly discuss the relevance of this work on the historical geomorphology and ecology for how we envision the ecology of Jamaica Bay in the future.
>>April 20, 2017; 12PM-1PM: Jamaica Bay Water Quality Data Visualization and Access Tool.
Featuring Dr. Sandra Baptista, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University ; Dr. Brett Branco, City University of New York (CUNY): Brooklyn College.
The Jamaica Bay Water Quality Database is an interactive Web application for Jamaica Bay, New York created by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and Brooklyn College. Data were provided by Gateway National Recreation Area (Gateway) of the National Park Service (NPS) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). The datasets were then formatted to ensure compatibility of measurement units and facilitate integration into a single database. The purpose of this database is to centralize access to water quality data in support of research, management and education that promote resilience in Jamaica Bay and the surrounding communities. The project team is identifying other water quality datasets that may be integrated into the database in the future, and planning additional information layers that contribute to understanding patterns and changes in water quality.