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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Conference: 2011
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dgregg on 17 Jan 2012 05:21 pm

Conference: 2011

The Ecology of Rhode Island: Science and Management of Salt Ponds and Coastal Lagoons
28 April 2011
Quonset O Club, North Kingstown, RI

In 2011, RINHS’s annual ecology conference focused on southern New
England’s salt ponds and coastal lagoons. These special landscapes
help characterize coastal Rhode Island and other parts of southern New
England. They form a complex boundary between sea and land and are
loci of dynamic natural processes, diverse habitats, and intense
pressure from human activity.

In southern New England, salt ponds and coastal lagoons serve valuable
and unique functions for a variety of stakeholders in tourism and
recreation, environmental sustainability, and resource-extractive
industries such as fisheries. Yet many elements of these systems are
undergoing historic changes due to climate and sea-level change, land
conversion, surface water and groundwater contamination, invasive
species, restoration projects, and new aquaculture practices. The
difference between good and bad management could have a dramatic
effect on the future viability of salt ponds and coastal lagoons,
therefore the need for sound scientific understanding of the processes
and functions of these valuable yet fragile ecosystems has never been
greater.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Judith S. Weis, Professor of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, an environmental toxicologist, and author of the 2009 book, Salt Marshes: A Natural and Unnatural History. Other speakers included Dr. Jennifer Bowen, Assistant Professor of Biology, UMass. Boston, speaking on microbial biodiversity, Russell Chateauneuf and John Lake (RIDEM), Maggie Payne (USDA – NRCS), Michael Bradley (URI Environmental Data Center), Janet Freedman, James Boyd, and Dave Beutel (RI CRMC), Bryan DeAngelis (NOAA Restoration Center), Jules Opton-Himmel (The Nature Conservancy), Suzanne Faubl (URI MESM Program), Mark Bullinger (Salt Ponds Coalition), and Bryan Milstead (USEPA). In addition to the keynote, the program featured topical sessions, a panel discussion, and presentation of annual RINHS awards, and concluded with a social hour.

Download the conference program
Download the abstracts

The 2011 conference was sponsored by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rhode Island Refuge Complex.

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