“What’s that do?”: Measuring water quality on oyster reefs

By Adrienne Breef-Pilz, Guest Writer Earlier, our lab wrote a post about working in the GTMNERR where we are looking at nonconsumptive effects on oyster reefs. Additionally, we are collecting data on the survival and the growth of the oysters at nine different sites within the reserve. We do this by looking at how oysters…

Florida Institute of Oceanography visits the GTMNERR again

By Sam Shaw, Guest Writer What is better than walking mangrove transects in the marsh on a hot and sunny day? Walking them on an overcast and rainy day, without a doubt. For this year’s Florida Institute of Oceanography’s Marine Field Studies class, a group of students was able to experience what it takes to conduct…

the wrap up

By Kaitlyn Dietz I think that one of the most important components of an event is the “after wrap-up/ debrief/ collapse in your chair”. The weeks following State of the Reserve have been just a busy as those before the event. We have been reviewing evaluations, summarizing panel discussions, highlighting key parts of presentations and…

Slow but steady

By Pam Marcum and Shannon Dunnigan The Research sector has been working hard to install the components of the NERRS Sentinel Site Application Module-1 (SSAM-1). The SSAM-1 project uses water level and elevation to link data from the abiotic monitoring (water quality and weather) and biological monitoring (marsh ecosystem) of the System-Wide Monitoring Program to…

Just another day on the water

Sometimes, you can find the silliest things on the water. We stumbled onto a floating Jack-O-Lantern in the estuary the day after Halloween. Floating along to his next spooktacular adventure… Hope everyone had a happy Halloween! Anyone else already looking forward to turkey?  

The winds did what?

By Shannon Dunnigan Hey there, it’s been a while… If you did not catch the last few posts where we NERRds have discussed the recent Hurricane Irma, I highly recommend that you check those out! The first was a piece I wrote at the beginning of my investigations into the effects of Irma in the…

Dreaming and studying

The following is a guest post from fellow NERRd, Kaitlyn Dietz! You may recognize the name from her Shuck and Tell series this past year on the blog (also, conveniently, her office is 50 steps away from ours).  We’re so excited to have her back with another fabulously NERRd-y series on her adventures working with…

Spat, Life After the Journey

By Mathew Monroe and Nikki Dix For the past few years on the first week of each month with good morning low tides, we have taken a 20-mile boat ride throughout GTM NERR to track settlement of oyster spat. Spat is the stage of an oyster’s life cycle at which the mobile journey as larvae…

Eclipsing the sensor

The following post was written by a guest writer and a true fellow NERRd! Seriously, though, she works at another NERR… Kim Cressman is the Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator for Grand Bay NERR and a part of the SWMPrats team. She has a master’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington,…

A very crabby summer

By Nikki Dix and Shannon Dunnigan Caitlin Garvey, our summer intern, recently completed an independent research project, “Comparing the Influence of Crabs in Salt Marsh and Mangrove Habitats.” Caitlin was funded by a National Science Foundation grant administered by the University of North Florida. Using pitfall traps, she caught more crabs in salt marshes than…

Swip Swap

By Shannon Dunnigan Don’t you hate it when things break? Us, too. We have been noticing signs that one of our SWMP water quality stations was likely broken for a few weeks. Also praying, at the same time, that our suspicions were wrong-they weren’t (did you see our beard post??). Our San Sebastian SWMP station…

How Madison got started

The following is a post from a guest writer to the NERRds! This is the first in a series about an investigation into the effects of sunscreen on oysters conducted by Madison Toonder. Madison is a 10th grader from FL who attends Stanford University Online High School. She aspires to be an exotic/marine animal veterinarian…

Monitoring with Florida Institute of Oceanography

By Nikki Dix Participants in Florida Institute of Oceanography’s Marine Field Studies class assisted GTM Research Reserve biologists (yes, us NERRds!) in our annual mangrove monitoring this past May. This is a multi-university intensive marine science course that exposes undergraduate students to each part of the state of Florida. While with the GTM biologists, students…

It’s always an adventure!

Hi, I’m Bailey, the GTMNERR research intern for summer 2017! A little bit about me – I’m a senior undergraduate Coastal Biology major at the University of North Florida. I am so thankful to be a part of the GTM team this summer, and if you see me around the educational center, I will surely…

Burning Blonder

The following is a post from a guest writer to the NERRds! Professor Barbara Blonder has been teaching full-time at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL for more than 10 years. She received her master’s degree from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL where she conducted research on Atlantic stingrays (Daysiatis sabina). Before returning to academia…

Introducing Norm.

By Shannon Dunnigan Happy New Year! We figured we would start this next year by introducing the smallest member of the GTM Research team: Norm. Norm [the NERR gnome] came to us in the winter of 2013 and has been a cheerful companion on our research treks ever since. He has logged many boat days,…

Why oysters?

By Silas Tanner, Nikki Dix, Pam Marcum, & Shannon Dunnigan Long-term monitoring of oyster populations is a big project at the GTM. If you have driven over any of the bridges in northeast Florida at low tide, you know how expansive our oyster reefs are. Here locally we have intertidal oyster reefs, which means that…

Mangroves, maintenance, monitoring, oh my!

By Shannon Dunnigan This was a very productive week for us here at the GTM. We were finally able to make it out to our weather station on Tuesday; our first trip back since before Hurricane Matthew. We arrived to find that our station not only survived the storm, but had no other damages! Phew!…

Through the grass, on the platform

By Shannon Dunnigan “The GTMNERR is biogeographically positioned at an ecotone of two different vegetation habitats…” This past week we conducted our semi-annual emergent vegetation monitoring, or “marsh monitoring” as we typically like to call it. The smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) is seeding and the temperatures have been slowly dropping, which makes for beautiful field conditions…

More Hurricane Matthew

By Shannon Dunnigan Hurricane Matthew approaches the northeast Florida coast this morning. The storm continues to pass along the eastern Florida coast just offshore. Presently it is within 20 miles offshore of Daytona Beach, Florida. Winds are around 120 mph, pressure 945 mb, and is moving NNW at 14 mph (weather.com). You can check out…

Enter: Hurricane Matthew

By Shannon Dunnigan “The last, and only, Category 4 hurricane to make landfall anywhere in northeast Florida or the Georgia coast was an 1898 hurricane south of St. Simons Island, Georgia.“  Hurricane Matthew has increased to a category 4 hurricane as it makes it’s way by Freeport, Bahamas. Almost all of Florida’s eastern coastal counties have…

batten down the hatches!

By Shannon Dunnigan Today we have been making preparations for Hurricane Matthew which, as of this morning, has been projected to head towards the Florida east coast this Friday. For the second time this year, we have been tying things down in our boat yard and ensuring that all of our equipment is protected for an…

It’s all about the little things

By Shannon Dunnigan “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things“ -Robert Brault, 1985 Today, is about equipment…toys, gear, instruments, really any name you would like to call them. In some cases, they are just instruments we use to measure particular parameters, such as the temperature of…

What is SWMP?

By Shannon Dunnigan For over a decade the GTM Research Reserve has been monitoring seasonal changes in water quality at four stations (Pine Island, San Sebastian, Fort Matanzas, and Pellicer Creek) found within the Tolomato, Matanzas, and Pellicer Creek estuaries as part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve’s (NERRs) System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). The goal…

Welcome to NERRds!

Welcome to NERRds on the Water! This blog is about the estuary. That special place where river meets ocean, where tide meets stream, where Harry met Sally…okay, maybe not that last one. Estuaries are bodies of water where rivers meet the sea. It is within these brackish waters (a mix of fresh water draining from…