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Members' Wetland WebinarThe National Association of Wetland Managers (NAWM) holds eight webinars per year for members. NAWM Member webinars cover a variety of topics encompassing wetland science, policy, program implementation, and legal issues. These webinars, including recordings for past webinars are available to NAWM members.  

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The Value of Long-Term Field Experiments: What Top Predators and First Principles Can Teach Us About How to Manage Coastal Wetlands

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ETRegister Here

PRESENTER:

  • Kathryn Beheshti, University of California, Santa Barbara 

ABSTRACT

Long-term field experiments can play a critical role in informing wetland management decisions. While there is general consensus regarding how wetlands function, the relative importance of top-down versus bottom-up forces remains hotly debated and has been shown to be highly context dependent. Long-term field experiments provide an opportunity to test our assumptions of key wetland processes and the influence of physical and biological drivers over space and time. In this talk, I will use two California estuaries with vastly different histories and watersheds to demonstrate the value of long-term experiments in improving our understanding of wetland processes. From research conducted in Elkhorn Slough, an estuary located in Central California, I will show how an ecosystem engineer weakens the stability of marsh edges while helping facilitate marsh recovery in the marsh interior and how top-down control of those same bioturbators by sea otters can increase marsh edge stability and mitigate erosion. I will then review work conducted in San Dieguito Lagoon, a 150-acre wetland restoration located in Southern California, that aimed to identify the leading stressors inhibiting vegetation establishment in the mid-to-high marsh and test potential remedial actions designed to ameliorate those stressors. Together, these case studies demonstrate the site-specific drivers of loss and recovery and the value of long-term field experiments in improving our understanding and management of coastal wetlands.

BIO  

Dr. Kathryn Beheshti, University of CaliforniaDr. Kathryn Beheshti is an Assistant Researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute. Kat is a coastal marine ecologist that specializes in restoration ecology of salt marsh, seagrass, and kelp habitats. Kat received her PhD from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2021. Soon after, she served as a California Sea Grant State Fellow for the California Ocean Protection Council’s Climate Change Program. Currently, she is a Co-PI with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Mitigation Monitoring Program. In this role, Kat manages the long-term monitoring of two large-scale mitigation projects (artificial reef; Wheeler North Reef and restored wetland; San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project) and associated reference sites. Kat works at the interface of science, industry, and policy. 

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