Biological assessments (bioassessments) are a useful approach to evaluating the state of ecological function in an ecosystem. In this study, I am sampling avian, amphibian and vegetation communities along with various abiotic variables (e.g., microclimate, soil characteristics, hydrology) to build a suite of IBI bioassessment models using data collected from 17 WRP easements and 4 reference sites in western Tennessee. Bottomland restoration sites range in age from 2 – 20 years, and acreage varies from small (<10 ha) to large (>100 ha). Reference sites are located along the Hatchie River watershed, which is the longest unchannelized tributary of the lower Mississippi River (The Nature Conservancy 2007). In addition to IBI models, I will evaluate the effectiveness of hydrogeomorphic (HGM) wetland bioassessment (Brinson 1993).
The objectives of my study are:
1) Quantify and compare abiotic variables (e.g., microclimate, soil characteristics, hydrology) and vegetation, amphibian and avian communities between WRP and reference sites.
2) Develop index of biological integrity (IBI) models that quantify ecological function on WRP sites.
3) Compare predictions of biological complexity from previously developed HGM models with field measurements.
4) Provide standards for monitoring state of ecological restoration at reforested WRP sites.
Brinson, M. M. 1993. A Hydrogeomorphic Classification for Wetlands. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Johnson, J. W. 2007. Rivers Under Siege: The Troubles Saga of West Tennessee Wetlands. University of Tennessee Press.
The Nature Conservancy. 2007. Hatchie River [http://www.nature.org/wherewework/greatrivers/namerica/art19852.html].
1. Summers, E. A., and M. J. Gray. 2009. Developing Models to Monitor Ecological Restoration in Hardwood Bottomlands. Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Atlanta, GA. Poster.
2. Summers, E. A., and M. J. Gray. 2009. Bird Assemblages at Hardwood Bottomland Restoration Sites in Western Tennessee. Annual Conference of American Ornithologists’ Union, Philadelphia, PA. Poster.
3. Summers, E. A., and M. J. Gray. 2009. Amphibian and bird assemblages at hardwood bottomland restoration sites in western Tennessee. Annual Meeting of the Tennessee Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Pikeville, TN. Presentation.
I grew up in
In my spare time, I enjoy playing the fiddle, hiking, paddling, cross-country skiing, cooking vegetarian food and practicing yoga. I love being outdoors and take every opportunity to look for birds, butterflies and other interesting wildlife. I strongly believe in adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, and I am always striving to make improvements in that direction, from reducing energy use to adopting a vegetarian diet.