ornithologist retrieving osprey from trap

This year on October 13th, Great Bay Reserve is hosting its first-ever Research Symposium geared towards encouraging greater scientific research and monitoring in Great Bay and its surrounding watershed. Our staff plans to accomplish this by showcasing the Reserve’s research programs, the latest science in Great Bay through firsthand talks from local and regional researchers, and by making stronger connections that link research to management. The Symposium will be open to all interested community members, particularly scientists, students and managers involved in Great Bay.

The Reserve was designated in part to do place-based research in tandem with education programs, workshops and technical assistance, all geared towards the mission of understanding and protecting the ‘eco-rich’ lands and waters that make up the Great Bay Estuary. As the Research Coordinator here, I hope to capitalize on this ‘living laboratory’ and our collective capacity to build Great Bay into a research hub that advances our understanding of the science to help make better decisions to steward the Bay. Our high-level strategy is akin to “if you build it, they will come”, by providing publicly available monitoring data, coordination among research projects, and expertise focused on the Bay (permitting, site recommendations and access, partnerships, etc.). To this end, the Reserve (with help from its partners) provides long-term datasets from continuous water quality stations; salt marsh plant communities, accretion, and porewater; high-precision tide station; vertical control network; and aquatic animal surveys including juvenile and diadromous fish, crabs, horseshoe crabs and environmental DNA.

Below are several examples of research and monitoring projects that hopefully serve as building-blocks of inspiration and knowledge to spark even more research in Great Bay!

Space is limited! Register HERE by October 6, 2022


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: Researchers from all 3 US coasts gather at Great Bay for a workshop on using environmental DNA (eDNA) to track fish communities. Photo bottom: Our intern and a UNH undergraduate student process and filter eDNA water samples at Jackson Estuarine Lab.

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: Graduate students, volunteers and partnering organizations help with annual plant community assessment in salt marshes under threat from sea-level-rise. Photo bottom: Drone pilots plan a flight over our marshes to obtain high-resolution elevation data through LIDAR.

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: Documenting water quality monitoring, co-sampled with PFAS by UNH researchers. Photo bottom: Installing stable benchmark adjacent on the western shore of the Bay to establish a vertical control network.

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: Educating local teachers about the values, threats and monitoring techniques to our salt marshes. Photo bottom: Graduate students and mentors from all over New England learning about our Reserve while touring our education exhibits

Chris Peter, Research Coordinator, christopher.peter@wildlife.nh.gov