Sapelo Island Week One

I recently returned from a week of fieldwork on Sapelo Island, one of the barrier islands along the coast of Georgia in the Southeast United States. It was a gentle introduction to fieldwork in a humid subtropical climate. Our small team of graduate students helped each other measure average stem height and stem count in the marsh. We also worked together to install air temperature probes for a thermal sensing drone fly-over. Finally, I implemented a smart rock sensor by CUAHSI with the help of field technician Dontrece Smith and an undergraduate student taking a summer course on the island. Eventually, I will install a state-of-the-art aquatic CO2 sensor in the saltwater marsh and collect data that will lay the foundation for my doctoral dissertation.

The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Flux Tower (US-GCE) was established in 2013 and has been collecting CO2 gas emissions and absorption data at the marsh ever since. Tower data from US-GCE (and other towers scattered across America) is available on AmeriFlux and is managed by scientists at the University of Georgia in Athens, and maintained with the help of staff on the island. I installed a smart rock sensor at the base of the flux tower to measure water depth, water temperature, turbidity, and salinity. This data can be used in tandem with the CO2 flux data to determine drivers of gas emission from the wetland.

Scientists, governmental organizations, and the public can benefit from gas flux data for many reasons. Relationships discovered among meteorological variables can help us learn more about past climates, the current climate, and even predict future climates. Information on micro- and mesoscale climates can determine things like the best time to plant crops or even what crops to plant and where, whether a certain activity is harmful to ecosystems or not, or whether an emission management technique works, among other things. Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Sapelo.

Cheers, Jess 🙂

5 responses to “Sapelo Island Week One”

  1. Definitely will not miss all these. Can’t wait as it unfolds. Courage Jess.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] been the last post that I ever wrote about Sapelo Island, Georgia following my two previous trips, Week One and Week Two. I am happy to write that I will be continuing my work at the island due to an […]


  3. […] so much for reading! Check out the stories from my first, second, and third island […]


  4. […] islands of Georgia. You can read more about my experience or view other photos taken during my first, second, third, or fourth visits by clicking on the links, or in “The History of Sapelo […]


  5. […] to the eddy covariance flux (see previous posts What the Flux, Allequash Creek Wetland, and Sapelo Island Week One for flux tower […]


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