The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies will host a virtual conversation with Cary President Dr. Joshua Ginsberg and featured guest Dr. Emily Bernhardt, an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist at Duke University, on Friday, June 3rd.
After screening the short film The Seeds of Ghost Forests, produced by Science Friday’s Luke Groski, Bernhardt will discuss her research on how saltwater intrusion and sea level rise are reshaping forests along the mid-Atlantic coast.
Since 2004, Bernhardt and colleagues have been monitoring the transformation of North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula. In this region, home to large scale agriculture, salt water intrusion from sea level rise has been exacerbated by irrigation infrastructure. Rising salinity is transforming forested wetlands into salt marsh, reducing carbon storage and crop productivity, and degrading freshwater resources.
Bernhardt will share how her team is using satellite imagery and remote sensing to track the rapid spread of ‘ghost forests’ – trees that have been killed off by rising salinity. Among the topics to be discussed are the ecological consequences of saltwater stress, impacts to vulnerable human populations, and strategies to mitigate saltwater intrusion along the Eastern Seaboard and beyond.
Dr. Emily Bernhardt is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology at Duke University. Dr. Bernhardt’s research focuses on how human activities like climate change, development, and chemical pollution are altering the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. This information is needed to determine whether and how ecosystem change can be mitigated or prevented through active management. Dr. Bernhardt holds a PhD from Cornell University. She is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Freshwater Science.
This virtual program is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a Q&A. For more information or to register, click here.