Nearshore Habitat Monitoring

I continue each year to conduct long-term monitoring research with the Nearshore Habitat Program of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.  Several sites in Puget Sound are monitored each summer, and additional time is spent on particular projects of interest that vary from year to year.  For example, in recent years we have spend time monitoring shoreline change at the mouth of the un-dammed Elwha River.

A Few Relevant Publications:
Dethier, M. N. “Classifying marine and estuarine natural communities: An alternative to the Cowardin system.” Natural Areas Journal 12.2 (1992): 90-98.
Dethier, M.N., & Schoch, G.C. 2005. The consequences of scale: assessing the distribution of benthic populations in a complex estuarine fjord. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 62, 253-270.
Dethier, Megan N., and Helen D. Berry. “Intertidal biotic community monitoring: 2007 Long term monitoring and focus studies.” Olympia, WA: DNR Nearshore Habitat Program (2008).

Shoreline Armoring

I recently finished a set of broad studies throughout the Salish Sea on the impacts of shoreline armoring on the biology and geomorphology of beaches.  While that work is completed and published, we are now exploring the reverse question; how well do beach functions recover when restoration projects remove armoring and/or add sediment to ‘renourish’ beaches?  This work is funded by Sea Grant and by the Estuarine and Salmon Recovery Program, and is done in collaboration with researchers at the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

A Few Relevant Publications:
Dethier, M.N. 2010. Overview of the Ecology of Puget Sound Beaches. In: Shipman, H., Dethier, M.N., Gelfenbaum, G., Fresh, K.L. and Dinicola, R.S. (editors), 2010, Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring—Proceedings of a State of the Science
Workshop: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5254, 260 p.
Heerhartz, S.M., M. N. Dethier, J. D. Toft, J. R. Cordell, and A. S. Ogston. 2014. Effects of shoreline armoring on beach wrack subsidies to the nearshore ecotone in an estuarine fjord. Estuaries and Coasts 37:1256-1268.
Heerhartz, S.M., Jason D. Toft, Jeffery R. Cordell, Andrea S. Ogston, Megan N. Dethier. 2016. Shoreline armoring in an estuary constrains wrack-associated invertebrate communities. Estuaries and Coasts 39: 171-188.
Dethier, M.N., W.W. Raymond, A. McBride, J. Toft, J. Cordell, A. Ogston, S. Heerhartz, and H. Berry. 2016. Multiscale impacts of armoring on Salish Sea shorelines: evidence for threshold and cumulative effects. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science 175:106-117.

Baby Bivalves

Most recently, I have been working on a Washington Sea Grant funded project exploring causes of mortality of tiny bivalves in the sediment.  With Jen Ruesink from UW Biology, we are exploring the possible roles of temperature and salinity stresses, small predators, and porewater acidity on survival of newly settled clams.  This work involves doing identical clam recruitment and out-planting experiments at 8 sites scattered around Washington’s coastlines.