Grand Bay NERR Research Coordinator and Colleagues Win Publication Award

Dr. Mark Woodrey, Research Coordinator at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Senior Research Associate with the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, was recently awarded the 2011 Mississippi Agriculture and Forest Experiment Station – Relevance to Mississippi – Publication Award. The paper, coauthored with colleagues from the University of Georgia and the University of Windsor, entitled “Trophic relationships of a marsh bird differ between Gulf Coast estuaries”, recently appeared in the internationally-recognized journal Estuaries and Coasts.

The paper was recognized for its direct and timely relevance to the management and conservation of coastal marsh habitats in Mississippi, particularly in light of the recent Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. The research presented in this paper focuses on the dietary differences of Clapper Rails, a coastal marsh bird species, in the Grand Bay and Pascagoula River estuaries. Results indicated that Pascagoula River estuary Clapper Rails have a more diverse diet than those in Grand Bay, possibly due to differences in salinity, vegetation diversity, and habitat type. The recently published work is part of a larger, ongoing research program studying Mississippi coastal marsh bird distribution, life history, and biology.

Dr. Woodrey said, “Our marsh bird research program has direct relevance to coastal natural resource managers including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Pascagoula River Audubon, and many others. They have already used results from this publication to focus their conservation planning efforts and to develop educational programs focused on coastal protection and conservation efforts of marsh ecosystems. With the recent Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, this research has taken on even greater importance for the State of Mississippi.”


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