Current Projects

range beacon on Sapelo Island

Since its inception, research at UGAMI has focused primarily on ecology, but has maintained cross-linkages to other fields, including microbiology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, geology and social science.  Collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries has long been a hallmark of research at UGAMI

Project TitleCoupled Long-Term Impacts of Socio-Demographic and Climate Change on Sapelo Island’s Land-Use and Estuarine Mitigation Planning
InvestigatorsNik Heynen (University of Georgia)
FundingNOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve Science Collaborative

Project Title
Human Alteration of Sediment Delivery to the Coast—Legacies of Land Use, Coastal Wetland Accretion, and Future Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise
InvestigatorsNat Weston (Villanova University), James Morris (University of South Carolina), Scott Neubauer (Virginia Commonwealth University), Chris Craft (Indiana University)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project TitleAn Upgraded Seawater System for the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island
InvestigatorsMerryl Alber (University of Georgia)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project Title Direct Oxidation of Organic Nitrogen by Marine Ammonia Oxidizing Organisms
InvestigatorsJames T. Hollibaugh (University of Georgia)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project Title Sapelo Island Microbial Carbon Observatory
InvestigatorsMary Ann Moran, Jonathan Amster, Ford Ballentine, Patricia Medeiros, William Whitman (all from University of Georgia)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project TitleCoastal Sustainability: A Cross-site Comparison of Salt Marsh Persistence in Response to Sea Level Rise and Feedbacks from Social Adaptations
Investigators Karen McGlathery (University of Virginia), Merryl Alber (UGA), Clark Alexander (UGA), Anne Giblin (Marine Biology Laboratory), Robert Johnston (Clark University), Matt Kirwan (Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences), James Morris (University of South Carolina), Colin Polsky (Florida State University), Patricia Wiberg (University of Virginia)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project TitleEnvironmental Controls of Thaumarchaeota Populations in Southeastern Coastal Waters
InvestigatorsJames T. Hollibaugh (University of Georgia)
Funding National Science Foundation

Project TitleGeorgia Coastal Ecosystems-III
InvestigatorsMerryl Alber (University of Georgia), and 21 others
Funding National Science Foundation

Project TitleA novel hybrid approach for mapping belowground productivity and carbon sequestration potential within Georgia salt marshes
InvestigatorsDeepak Mishra (University of Georgia)
FundingGeorgia Sea Grant


logo: Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research NetworkGCE LTER

The NSF-funded Georgia Coastal Ecosystems (GCE) Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) project, which is the largest research project on the Georgia coast, was established in 2000 as part of the US LTER Network. Scientists in the GCE LTER project study the marshes and estuaries of the Georgia coast in order to understand how these ecosystems function, to track how they change over time, and to predict how they might be affected by future variations in climate and human activities.

Major activities include 1) tracking long-term patterns in climate and human actions; 2) evaluating coastal habitats over time; 3) predicting how key marsh habitats will respond to changes in water salinity and flooding in the coming decades; and 4) using models to develop scenarios of what future ecosystems will look like on the GA coast. In addition to research, GCE participants are involved in educational and outreach activities.

Sapelo Island is at the geographic center of the GCE domain, and UGAMI provides logistical and administrative support for the project, including access to vehicles, laboratory space, greenhouse space, the library, and internet access. The project has 21 PIs from multiple institutions (University of Georgia, Coastal Carolina University, Creighton University, University of Delaware, Duke University, University of Houston, Indiana University) and at any given time, there are GCE students, technicians and other personnel in residence at UGAMI.

Read summaries of GCE research, data sets, scientific papers, and other information.