April 17, 2013 by Dr. G
Wednesday was split at the conference into morning talks on “Case Studies and Carbonate Environments,” and an afternoon fieldtrip on Galveston Island. The seven morning talks ranged from discussing modeling for sea-level rise to the response of hard rock cliffs, to drowned barriers to atolls, to coral reefs to oyster reef formation. Having attended University of Miami-RSMAS for graduate school, I was well-prepared for the topic of carbonates (that’s a group of sedimentary rocks)!
As with yesterday’s post, I will highlight a handful of the “wow” statements and “spend some time at these websites” notes from the session:
- Already 19% of the world’s coral reefs have effectively been lost; and 35% more are seriously threatened with destruction, mostly due to direct human threats.
- Organizations to learn more about – the International Coral Reef Initiative and Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
- Report to look at – the World Bank’s Turn Down the Heat
- In the 1600’s oysters filtered entire Chesapeake Bay volume in four days (today, it takes about a year or more)
- There exists great interactive maps of the Geohazards of Texas Barrier Islands
During lunch, the group received a lecture from John Anderson about the history and modern-day coastal dynamics of Galveston Island. Needless to say, this is one complicated region! John was so enthusiastic speaking about this subject, as were his former graduate students that helped out during the fieldtrip. It took three buses to transport all 81 of us to four different sites, starting at the Brazos Delta and Freeport, working our way northeast to the San Luis Pass Tidal Delta, to the Galveston seawall, and finally to the east end of Galveston Island. For years, I have been teaching about the 1900 Galveston Hurricane and “the” seawall of all seawalls, the Galveston seawall! Despite the overcast and windy day, I could not have been more excited to stand along the top of this wall and “take in” this massive structure, along with taking some photos and video. I have even more information to share with students about this dynamic environment, and I can now say, “I was there…..”
Next up for Day 4 – combining field results and numerical models, and then we venture into unchartered territory for many of us scientists – integrating science and policy.