Fort Pulaski National Monument hosted a community forum on science entitled “Science in the Park 2007-2011” on September 18th at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
This public event showcased scientific data collected and analyzed in the park from 2007 through 2011. The goals were to provide a forum where the public could review and ask questions about scientific data completed in the park during a five year window, to encourage and enrich university and college partnerships, and to create an environment conducive to continued research in the park.
The forum opened with a presentation by Joe DeVivo, Southeast Coast Network Inventory and Monitoring (SECN I&M) program manager. Joe covered the background on the National Park Service’s inventory and monitoring program, including specific information to the monitoring of vital signs at Fort Pulaski – air and climate, geology and soils, water, biological integrity, human use, and ecosystem patterns and processes. He concluded his presentation by nothing that Fort Pulaski has 19 mammal species, 213 bird species, 42 fish species, 17 reptile species, 8 amphibian species, and 307 plant species, adding that estuarine sediment quality is good, that there are three new documented bird species and six new plant species in the park.
Augusta State University presented research completed and currently being performed in the park under the direction of principal investigator Dr. Jessica Reichmuth. Presentations explored crustacean population genetics of blue crabs, speckled crabs, and spider crabs presented by April Hammack and Sierra Mannix with Dr. Reichmuth’s co-principal investigator, Dr. Amy Abdulovic-Cui, snail density and movement presented by Chanel Young, and a comparison of fish diversity along three barrier island systems – Hunting Island in South Carolina and St. Catherines and Cockspur/Tybee Islands in Georgia – presented by Kelley Jonske, CJ Best, Melissa Gieseking, and Jonathan Kareis.
One additional presentation was given by Jennifer Gut, a master’s degree candidate at Savannah State University under principal investigator Dr. Carla Curran. The presentation outlined her research proposal comparing fish assemblages between Cockspur Island and the mouth of the Savannah River.
The forum closed with the public having the floor to ask questions concerning science in the park, information regarding current and future research needs in the park, and the public having access to peruse or take documents created by the SECN I&M program. Questions asked by the public included the topics of shoreline erosion, deer population, and upcoming park events.
For information regarding the SECN I&M program or park data please go to the SECN I&M program page at http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/secn or IRMA (data portal http://irma.nps.gov.