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Contemporary sand dune processes in interdunal wetlands

Project Full Title:

Ecohydrologic study of an interdunal wetland on Lake Michiga

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Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of geology, hydrology, and ecology. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Geologic and Environmental Sciences. This project will use remote sensing data from drone images and historic remote sensing images from USGS EarthExplorer and NASA Landsat to examine the ecological changes that are occurring in the wetland at SHNA in response to the fluctuating hydrology of the Great Lakes. To check the validity of the interpretations from the remotely sensed data, the interpretations will be groundtruthed using vegetation quadrat sampling. This will include identifying the species, counting the number of plants and estimating the coverage by species, within the quadrats. Additional representational vegetation quadrat sampling will be performed as needed throughout the wetland to obtain supplemental data for photometric vegetation interpretations from the drone images. Groundwater studies are also ongoing at the site. We will continue regular water level measurements/mapping and conduct chemical analyses of the groundwater to evaluate the nature of the hydrologic setting and its effects on the ecological community.

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