University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Louisiana State University
Florida State University, Coastal & Marine Laboratory
To learn more about Dr. Hughes and her research in St. Joseph Bay, click here
A WFSU-TV Tallahassee multimedia blog featuring the ecosystem research of Dr. Hughes.
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, Manager
University of Miami
Phylogeography of the marsh rice rat, Oryzomys palustris, in wetlands of the southeastern United States.
Indorf's Ph.D. dissertation research is uncovering the evolutionary history of
the marsh rice rat. She is examining
how the biogeographic history of the southeastern United States has affected the
present genetic structure of this wetland dependant species. In
December 2008, Jane collected DNA samples from marsh rice rats inhabiting the
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. This
area to the west of the Apalachicola River was a key collecting site in her
study. Many animals are divided
genetically into eastern and western groups, with the divide occurring at the
The Late Quaternary Evolution of the Apalachicola Barrier Island Complex, North-East Gulf of Mexico, as determined from Optical Dating.
From 2002 to 2007, Gloria's research, the body of her Ph.D. program at McMaster University, was focused on the determination of the precise age of a group of coastal barrier islands decorated with a multitude of dunes and beach ridges on the northwest Gulf Coast of Florida, USA, using optical dating (OSL) on grains of quartz. OSL was found to be particularly useful, as it depends on the presence of quartz, which is a dominant component of the Gulf of Mexico sands. Radiocarbon (14C) dating, on the other hand, relies on the presence of appropriate organic material, which is rare to find in the sub-bottom sands along these coastal environments. The barrier systems targeted so far have been St. Joseph Peninsula, Cape San Blas, St. Vincent Island, Little St. George Island and the mainland area of the Buffer Preserve. Her research allowed for a re-evaluation of their evolution through time (over the past 10,000 years for the coastal barriers and 200,000 years for the mainland) and an accurate quantification of island growth and erosion rates. Also, an evaluation of the transport of quartz grains along the shore was done using the optical signal: this method is new and has great potential in the understanding of the geology and behavior of any coastal region. For further information on Gloria's research, click here (pdf).
University of Texas at Austin, Marine Science Institute
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The breeding system and reproductive success of a Florida Panhandle federally listed species: Rhododendron minus var. chapmanii (Ericaceae).
Monitoring was initiated to comply with recovery initiatives of the federally listed shrub species, endangered Rhododendron minus var. chapmanii. A plot containing high density of R. m. chapmanii was established, the plants were marked ,and the female reproductive output (flowers produced, fruit set) and plant size (number of stems, height) were recorded. In addition, hand-pollination experiments were used to determine the breeding system. Preliminary results indicated that the flowers are protandrous and primarily visited by bumblebees. Reproductive output was higher in 2008, but the average flowering stems was higher in 2009; growth was similar for both years. Pollination studies will be completed in 2010, and monitoring will be continued to determine the long-term status of this population.
Field Assistants: Dr. David L. Gorchov (Miami University, OH), Ms. Alicia Newberry (A FWS intern; currently a biologist with Florida Natural Area Inventory)
Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Marine Ecology Lab
Sea urchins are known to play a major role in the control of submersed aquatic vegetation, and variations in their abundance and population structure can significantly alter the functioning of benthic communities. In turn, sea urchin populations are controlled by a range of environmental factors and ecological processes. In this scenario, Patricia's research in St. Joseph Bay has explored several aspects influencing the outcome of the seagrass-herbivore interaction such as the influence of resource availability in the trophic status of sea urchins as well as the top-down control of predation in shaping the demographic structure of populations. For further information on her research click here (pdf).
University of South Florida
Nancy White, Registered Professional Archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida, has been researching the prehistory and early history of the Apalachicola River valley and delta region for 3 decades. Her archaeological surveys have covered the lowest 75 miles of the Chattahoochee River, the entire Lake Seminole area including the lower Flint River, and the entire Apalachicola valley and St. Joseph Bay area. Besides locating many sites, she has conducted test excavations at several sites, including 4000-year old Archaic shell middens deep in the river swamps, Middle Woodland (A.D. 300-700) burial mounds, late prehistoric Fort Walton temple mound-villages, and early historic Native American, Euro-American and African-American occupations. Much of this work has been within the ANERR and the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. Her work always includes a public archaeology component, with education programs for the communities and recording of oral histories and artifact collections of local experts. She has published many articles on these subjects in professional journals and also incorporated some good field stories into her latest book, Archaeology for Dummies.