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Research Seminar: Sarah Donaher

April 29, 2019 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm

photo of Sarah Donaher UNC at Chapel Hill Department of Marine Sciences graduate student located at the Institute of Marine Sciences and a member of the Peterson labA research seminar from UNC Marine Sciences graduate student, Sarah Donaher. Presented by the UNC at Chapel Hill Department of Marine Sciences. The location of this event will be UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences room 222. This event will be held on Monday, April 29th at 12:20pm. This seminar will also be broadcast live to both seminar room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC-CH campus in Chapel Hill, NC and online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 252 726 6841).

Seminar Title: Evaluating the ability of bivalve facilitation to enhance seagrass bed resiliency to disturbance

Abstract: Globally, seagrasses are threatened by natural and anthropogenic disturbances which can inhibit the capability of seagrass communities to perform vital ecosystem services. Degradation of seagrasses has accelerated in recent years due to human activity such as coastal development, dredging, and agricultural runoff. Restoring these productive habitats has proven to be both challenging and costly, particularly once a bed has been completely lost. Therefore, it is critical to develop and test alternative approaches which promote existing bed resilience to disturbance. One option is to utilize facilitation (positive species interactions) as a restoration and conservation technique. Intraspecific facilitation, or positive interactions between individuals of the same species, has been applied in restoring foundation species, although restoration best practices generally focus on reducing competition rather than fostering positive species interactions. Interspecific facilitation (i.e., positive interactions between multiple species) is also a promising restoration method for some habitats. There is evidence that interspecific facilitation from a bivalve (Mercenaria mercenaria, the hard-shell clam) could aid in Zostera marina, eelgrass, and Halodule wrightii, shoalgrass, restoration in North Carolina by mitigating stress on seagrass beds and enhancing recolonization of degraded habitats. An experimental field study tested the ability of bivalve facilitation to increase mixed community seagrass bed resilience to two separate disturbance regimes: a pulse (physical perturbance from propeller scars) disturbance and a press (nutrient-loading) disturbance. These findings may contribute to a growing body of literature supporting systematic use of ecological facilitation as an effective restoration technique.


April 29, 2019
12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
Event Category:



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