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Tuesday, January 29 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
(P49) Three-Tier Assessment of Vegetation Communities in Dunkirk Harbor, New York and Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania

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AUTHORS. Makayla Kelso, US Geological Survey; Nicole King, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center, Patrick Kocovsky, US Geological Survey, Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center, Song Qian, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center.

ABSTRACT. Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) supports many important ecological services including critical habitats for a variety of aquatic species and stabilizing shorelines, and act as indicators of water quality in coastal ecosystems. Physical factors such as light penetration and wave energy affect SAV distribution, diversity, and abundance, but biological activity from herbivores may also affect the community. There is concern that invasive herbivores in the Great Lakes, such as Grass Carp and Red Swamp Crayfish, may cause a decline in SAV communities. Data were collected as part of a larger ongoing investigation of SAV communities throughout Lake Erie to establish a baseline of vegetation conditions in all three of the lake’s basins in an effort to track changes in SAV communities. Data collection involved a 3-tier assessment process, which utilized object-based image analysis (OBIA), hydroacoustics, and in situ vegetation collection to assess SAV species composition and relative abundances in Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania and Dunkirk Harbor, New York. These two sampling locations were chosen to expand the assessment of SAV into previously un-sampled Central and Eastern Basins, and used the OBIA maps to determine areas of likely SAV coverage. Here we compare the three tiers of methodology to assess the accuracy of OBIA imagery, characterize the SAV communities in these two locations, and to determine areas potentially at risk for invasive species herbivory.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Attendees (1)