Busy day in Grove Creek

The Skidaway Institute campus was busy earlier this week, as researchers began a month-long field study in the Grove Creek salt marsh adjacent to our campus.

The project has two purposes:

1.) To test a model for predicting how salt marshes absorb and discharge contaminants.

2.) To test a new low-power, high-frequency radar system that is designed to monitor water flow through a salt marsh.

Dr. Dana Savidge next to one of her radar antennae.

The start of the field work was visually impressive.
It began with the release of a concentrated red dye into Grove Creek. As the tide came in, the dye was pushed into the marsh. The research team used a helicopter, boats and sensors to observe the way the die was distributed.

From 3,000 feet, it was easy to watch the way the die flowed through the tidal channels and into the intertidal zone.

Grove Creek salt marsh from 3,000 ft.

While this may have been the most visual part of the study, the most valuable scientific data will come over the next month. The marsh will absorb some of the die and release it on the outgoing tide a little at a time – like rinsing soap out of sponge. The scientists will observe this process and then compare it to their model to see how well their predictive model works.

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