Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center > Sea Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support
Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to manage changing coastal areas to meet social, economic, and natural resource demands, particularly under a regime of sea-level rise. Scientific knowledge of coastal processes and habitat-use can support decision-makers as they balance these often-conflicting human and ecological needs. An interdisciplinary USGS team is conducting research and developing tools to identify suitable coastal habitats for species of concern, such as the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), under a variety of sea-level rise scenarios. Credit: Josh Seibel, USFWS
iPlover Data Collection
USGS scientists – in collaboration with a wide network of natural resource professionals from state and federal agencies (e.g., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife), universities (e.g., Virginia Tech), and private conservation organizations (e.g., the Nature Conservancy, Mass Audubon) – characterized piping plover habitat use on 79 beaches and barrier islands along the Atlantic Coast.
Predicting piping plover habitat
Tools offer users the ability to locate areas that have a high probability of supporting piping plover nesting habitat or, conversely, have a low probability of supporting nesting habitat and may be better suited for human development or recreation.
Forecasting piping plover habitat availability due to sea-level rise
Linked models forecast the most likely (1) shoreline change rate, (2) barrier island characteristics, and (3) level of piping plover habitat suitability under different SLR rates and storm regimes.
Zeigler, S.L., Thieler, E.R., Gutierrez, B.T., Plant, N.G., Hines, M. Fraser, J.D., Catlin, D.H., Karpanty, S.M., 2017, Smartphone technologies and Bayesian networks to assess shorebird habitat selection. Wildlife Society Bulletin. DOI: 10.1002/wsb.820.
Sturdivant, E.J., Thieler, E.R., Zeigler, S.L., Winslow, L.A., Hines, M.K., Read, J.S., Walker, J.I., 2016, Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F70V89X3
Thieler, E.R., Zeigler, S.L., Winslow, L.A. , Hines, M.K., Read, J.S., Walker, J.I., 2016, Smartphone-based distributed data collection enables rapid assessment of shorebird habitat suitability. PLOS ONE. 11(11): e0164979. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164979
Gutierrez, B.T., Plant, N.G., Thieler, E.R., Turecek, Aaron, 2015, Using a Bayesian network to predict barrier island geomorphological characteristics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth. 120: 2451-2475. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JF003671