Salt Marsh Ecology
Vegetation community structure in salt marsh habitats range from freshwater to salt-tolerant plants. The long-term mapping of vegetation cover types can provide a site-specific indicator of sea-level rise. During 2010-2013, we established four long-term monitoring salt marsh sites in Kachemak Bay, Beluga Slough, Fox River Flats, China Poot Bay, and Sadie Cove. At each site, we monitored vegetation, marsh elevation, water elevation, and soil temperature. With the help of engaged community members, we created a baseline for the biological diversity for each of the salt marsh sites. This resulted in an additional 576 vegetation plots sampled to refine vegetation cover types determined from the systematic sampling and provided updated plant and animal (bird, mammal, fish, and infaunal invertebrate, and insect) lists unique to each site.
Nearshore Habitat Monitoring
In addition to salt marsh habitat monitoring, the Reserve has been dedicated to a number of nearshore habitat mapping projects that include assessments of coastal erosion, detailed intertidal shoreline mapping, and Reserve partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been monitoring the nearshore ecosystem in the intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats since the early 1990s.
See page for native bivalve species habitat modeling.
See page for sea otter foraging.