Living Shorelines

Before starting my Ph.D. I was part of a team developing Living Shorelines in Georgia. Living Shorelines are green infrastructure that emulate natural bank stabilization systems, which often are cheaper and more efficient than more tradition armoring methods. Here in Georgia, oysters and Spartina marsh grass play large roles in bank stabilization and are therefore highly suited for Living Shoreline projects on intertidal creeks and rivers. Unfortunately more research on oysters, Spartina, and most importantly oyster-Spartina distribution patterns is needed before these shorelines can be extensively developed in the state. My research will directly inform future living shoreline design in Georgia and neighboring states, by describing these spatial patterns.
As seen in:
Program Shapes the New Faces of Conservation - The New York Times (photo only), 7-30-2012
Living Shorelines Along the Georgia Coast - Georgia Department of Natural Resources, September 2013

Oyster Restoration

My passion for oysters started when I worked for the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. As coordinator of the G.E.O.R.G.I.A. (Generating Enhanced Oyster Reefs in Georgia‚Äôs Inshore Areas) Program I designed, built and monitored oyster restoration projects along the Georgia coast. Associated with these efforts were extensive on the ground oyster mapping surveys. These surveys afforded me the opportunity to observe oyster/Spartina distribution patterns at different environments within an estuarine gradient. These observations were the catalyst for my current Ph.D. research and it follows that my research will be beneficial to future oyster restoration projects in the state - maximizing limited restoration funds and success rate.
As seen in:
From refuse to refuge - new use oyster shells - Savannah Morning News, 11-22-2007
Oysters filter tybee storm water - Savannah Morning News, 1-15-2009
Adopt A Stream News letter, December 2011
Oyster beds get help to rebound - The Brunswick News, 9-13-2011
Oysters threatened by development pollution - Georgia Public Broadcasting, 7-20-2012
Study shows limit on oyster filtering - Georgia Public Broadcasting, 7-20-2012


I am no electrical engineer, however I am excited about the potential for the use of microcontroller boards such as Arduino’s, for the development of automated environmental monitoring and mesocosm construction at a fraction of industry standard prices. Building off the growing community doing similar projects, I am constructing temperature, tide, current and wave sensors and using them as part of my research. Through a collaboration with the University of Georgia’s Maker Space, I am bringing both Engineering and Ecology undergrads together to work on a sensor network. This network will be used to monitor environmental processes that influence oysters and Spartina marsh grass. Watch this space as I plan to publish "how to guides" in the future.

UAV Aerial Photography

Affordable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Photogrammetry software have exploded onto the market in the last few years, providing the means for rapid aerial photography, mapping and 3D terrain modeling. I am developing a UAV with maximum mapping resolution and accuracy, and a low budget in mind. All methods will be hosted here when completed.
As seen in:
Daniel Harris: Arm-chair ecology to avoid oyster cuts & flesh-eating bacteria in the Marshes - @DrEmmaLJohnston, 9-3-2015