Georgia Sea Grant funds over half a million dollars of coastal research every two years.
Georgia Sea Grant funds research projects on two-year cycles, sponsoring projects that investigate or better understand coastal ecosystems, policy making and marine industries. Georgia Sea Grant research projects are extended to coastal communities and stakeholders, facilitating sustainable economic development and land use practices, healthy coastal ecosystems, safe and sustainable seafood and coastal hazard mitigation.
Seafood Epidemiology: Providing Mentored Marine Research Opportunities for Master of Public Health Students
Principal Investigator: Dr. Matthew Gribble, Emory University
Tag Horseshoe Crabs on St. Catherine’s Island
Principal Investigator: Dr. Fredrich Rich, Georgia Southern University
Resilience of Transportation Infrastructures to Extreme Weather Events in Coastal Georgia Area — Phase 1
Principal Investigator: Dr. Mehran Mazari, Savannah State University
Evaluation of the Return on Investment of Georgia Sea Grant Funded Research Projects
Principal InvestigatorI: Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, The University of Georgia
Oyster and Salt Marsh Edge Interactions: Informing Living Shoreline and Oyster Restoration Design
Principal Investigator: James Byers, University of Georgia
This project will expose the spatial relationships and mechanisms of interaction between the two dominant ecosystem engineers of Georgia’s estuaries — Spartina cordgrass and oyster reefs — as well as how their distributions and relationships are likely to change over time. The research is intended to directly inform resource management (Oyster Restoration and Living Shorelines design) and predictive modeling – Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model.
Black Gill in Georgia Shrimp: Causes and Consequences
Principal Investigators: Mark Frischer, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography; Kyle Johnsen, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.
The long-term goals of this proposed project are to identify the causes, drivers and consequences of shrimp Black Gill (sBG) to the Georgia shrimp fishery and to facilitate the dissemination and use of this information to the benefit of a sustainable and healthy shrimp fishery in Georgia. Building from our recent research advances and based on recommendations from Georgia’s management, extension and commercial fishing communities and following the recommendations from the 2015 Crustacean Health Research workshop (Brunson et al 2015), we will address several specific objectives.
Assessing Prevalence and Composition of Ingested Plastic Contaminants by Georgia's Estuarine Organisms
Principal Investigator: Jay Brandes, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
The primary goals of this study are to quantify the amount and identify the type of plastic pollution found in Georgia estuarine organisms, particularly in the shellfish, fish and shrimp species important to local Georgia fisheries. The next objective is to then educate stakeholders, the public, educators and students about the issue of plastic pollution using MAREX's ongoing programs and developing resources, which can then be taken back to the Georgia classroom.
A novel hybrid approach for mapping belowground productivity and carbon sequestration potential within Georgia salt marshes
Principal Investigator: Deepak Mishra, University of Georgia
The purpose of this study is to develop data fusion tools that use remote sensing to estimate both above and belowground production, GPP, CHL and overall carbon sequestration potential in salt marshes.
Investigation of the Shallow Hydrogeologic System on St. Catherines Island to Define Salt Water Intrusion Pathways and the Potential for Shallow-Deep Aquifer Communication
Principal Investigator: Robert Vance, Georgia Southern University
This study's objectives are to develop a 3-dimensional framework of the shallow stratigraphy and geologic structure of St. Catherines Island on which to build a more accurate conceptual model of the hydrogeology of the surficial aquifer; to characterize the spatial and temporal changes in the geochemistry of the island’s surficial aquifer; and, characterize possible temporal variations in the hydrologic flow system of the island’s surficial aquifer.
Promoting Flood Hazard Resilience: The Economics of Elevation Retrofitting of Homes
Principal Investigator: Warren Kriesel, University of Georgia
The objectives of this project involve obtaining property-specific measurements of the elevation of homes’ first floor above the base flood elevation in Savannah/Chatham and Camden Counties. Then, we would like to ascertain the benefits of home elevation retrofitting from a regression analysis of how elevation and other important property characteristics affect property sale prices. Once we have done all of this, our goal is to incorporate the results into an outreach effort that involves 2 trips for public presentations and development of a web-based application that will allow any user to estimate the benefits and costs of retrofitting a home to be resilient to flooding hazards.
A Geospatial Assessment of Nearshore Sand Resources and Sediment Transport Pathways for Georgia Coastal Resiliency and Recovery
Principal Investigator: Clark Alexander, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
Sand resources are needed to rebuild beach and dune systems to provide the same or better level of protection to lives and property, and to restore habitats that are degraded by events such as hurricanes and large storms. These sand resource data are critically needed in Georgia, as the sand resources on the continental shelf are the most poorly known of all the states along the East Coast, an issue that has been identified repeatedly as a significant data gap over the past 30 years. Because of this paucity of detailed information, this project proposes to collect new, high resolution data to build toward an understanding of the sand resources available on the Georgia shelf, and the transport pathways by which these sediments are redistributed. The focus will be on the 3 developed barrier islands that have not been renourished (Sea, St. Simons and Jekyll Islands), as these are the regions that may require renourishment in the future.
Adding dynamic information to resiliency planning: wetland mitigation and open space opportunities
Principal Investigators: Liz Kramer, University of Georgia; Craig Landry, University of Georgia; Shana Jones, University of Georgia
The objective of this project is to identify and prioritize the best sites for wetland protection, mitigation, restoration and migration along the Georgia Coast, taking account of potential future land use change and the impacts of sea level rise. Recognizing that local government financing of infrastructure has a 30-year life cycle, we will identify and prioritize wetland sites that could be restored, created or protected based upon their location and condition 30 years from now.
Black Gill Disease in Georgia Shrimp: Causes, Distribution, and Transmission
Principal Investigators: Marc Frischer, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography; Richard Lee, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
The objectives of this project are to identify the cause of Black Gill in Georgia shrimp, to develop tools to identify the source of Black Gill and to conduct studies useful for the purpose of forecasting and managing Black Gill in coastal Georgia. Through collaboration with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia shrimpers, the results of this research will be utilized to guide the management of Georgia’s shrimp fishery.
Can the local food movement be an opportunity for Georgia seafood producers to participate in the inland seafood market?
Principal Investigators: Tracy Yandle, Emory University; Peggy Bartlett, Emory University
This study’s objective is to answer the broad question: “How can Georgia seafood producers use the burgeoning local food movement to increase their participation in the inland market and make sustainable, local fish available to a larger segment of the Georgia population?” We will assess the potential of three innovative ways to bring Georgia seafood into the local food market (Community Supported Fisheries, placement in existing farmers markets and greater presence at farm-to-table restaurants). Recommendations of how each market could be developed will be provided, and the most economically advantageous option will be piloted.
^Closing the water budget for the Satilla Basin, Georgia
Principal Investigators: Marc Stieglitz, Georgia Institute of Technology; Elizabeth Kramer, University of Georgia
The goal of this project is to show proof of concept for being able to model the water budget for ungauged portions of the coastal zone. Prior to examining the effect of land use change and management on the timing and magnitude of freshwater to the coastal estuary, it is necessary to prove that it’s possible to determine the water budget, especially prove that evapotranspiration (ET) can be modeled accurately. Once ET can be calculated then so too can water surplus and runoff as the difference between precipitation and ET. The core questions posed in this work are: 1) do coastal rivers accurately reflect the sum total of water exiting the terrestrial landscape or 2) are there flow paths that bypass the river system and that deliver significant freshwater directly into the estuary-ocean environment? The goal of this pilot study proposal is: 1) to find independent means to accurately determine monthly values of ET for the St. Marys watershed, a large coastal catchment in Georgia. The results of this study would provide a better understanding for development of a more targeted wetland restoration program, thereby enhancing the resiliency of estuary fisheries through the restoration of the timing of delivery of freshwater inputs.
Coastal Georgia Regional Wastewater Planning
Principal Investigators: Laurie Fowler, University of Georgia; Katie Sheehan, University of Georgia
With supervision and support from the Coastal Regional Commission, this project aims to develop a regional wastewater plan that will provide the framework for sustainable wastewater infrastructure decisions on Georgia’s coast. We will convene groups of experts and stakeholders, construct a framework for the plan, educate our constituents and analyze regional wastewater infrastructure alternatives according to a set of parameters chosen by our coastal stakeholders.
Creating a Model System for Sustainable Development: Striking a Balance Between the Ecological, Economic, and Social Needs of Jekyll Island State Park
Principal Investigator: Kimberly Andrews, University of Georgia; Katie Mascovich, University of Georgia; Tracey Tuberville, University of Georgia
As one of Georgia’s four barrier islands accessible by car, Jekyll Island is in a unique position to serve as a model for sustainable development. In order to balance maintaining a healthy beach ecosystem while developing Jekyll’s beachfront, this project focuses on accomplishing the following goals: monitor the response of the federally protected loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) to the developing and changing beach habitat; create a habitat change model that can be used in the development of Jekyll Island’s beach management plan; work with Jekyll Island stakeholders to promote sustainable development; and increase the environmental literacy of Jekyll Island’s guests and residents such that they become better beach stewards.
Evaluation of a turtle excluder device (TED) design for use in the cannonball jellyfish fishery operating in Georgia’s territorial waters
Principal Investigators: David Stasek, College of Coastal Georgia; James Page, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Todd Mathes, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Patrick Geer, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Lisa Liguori, University of Georgia
The practice of harvesting jellyfish for human use is a relatively new endeavor in Georgia. Since fishing efforts began, several fishers have expressed concerns over the negative impact of the mandated use of the TED on jellyball catches. Gear-related concerns in this fishery need to be addressed. This study will develop and evaluate new TED designs to potentially increase jellyball retention in nets while still promoting sea turtle exclusion.
Increased Tidal Flooding in Coastal Georgia: Assessing the Barriers and Value of Acquiring and Relocating Property
Principal Investigators: Scott Pippin, University of Georgia; Shana Jones, University of Georgia
A strong need exists in Georgia to develop tools and information for local decision-makers so that they understand the growing risk posed by sea level rise—including inundation and increased tidal flooding—and identify where acquisition and relocation might be an appropriate response. Where a risk analysis indicates that an acquisition program will be beneficial, local officials need information to help them overcome identified barriers to establishing such a program, in order to improve local resilience to flood risks. This project will calculate, using Tybee Island, a city in Chatham County, as a study area, 1) the up-front and long-term costs to the local government, and 2) the benefits of generating Community Rating System (CRS) credits and reducing flood insurance rates with respect to acquiring the most at-risk properties currently subject to repeated flooding. We will also examine the most common legal and policy barriers to property acquisition and analyze existing studies that demonstrate how greenspace increases property values and promotes community continuity.
Planning for Competitive Port Expansion on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard: The Case of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP)
Principal Investigator: Stephen Ramos, University of Georgia
This project will analyze the geographic coastal impacts of port competition and look at the unique circumstances of the Greater Savannah Metropolitan Region in planning for future growth of its port. The project will incorporate GIS to generate thematic maps, exploring issues directly related port expansion and river deepening, namely: a regional impact analysis of the transportation and land use changes, impact analysis on local ecologies and government capacity in area surrounding the port, and job creation and economic development generated by the port.
^Program Development Project