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New predictive models helping to secure a future for piping plover

With support from the North Atlantic LCC, Virginia Tech student Katherina D. Gieder is investigating the impacts of changes to piping plover habitat that will result from sea-level rise and beach management efforts.
New predictive models helping to secure a future for piping plover

Credit: Virginia Tech

Sandy beaches and tidal inlets are prime breeding habitat for the federally protected piping plover, but these low lying coastal areas are also extremely vulnerable to impacts from climate change.  

To help determine just how vulnerable, Katherina D. Gieder, a doctoral candidate in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, has developed models to predict how sea-level rise and shoreline change will impact piping plover nesting habitat suitability on Maryland's Assateague Island.

Gieder's research is supported in part by funding from the North Atlantic LCC, which is coordinating a suite of Hurricane Sandy Resilience Projects to connect the dots between sea level rise, system response, habitat impact and species response. Her predictive models are one product of the effort to integrate monitoring, modeling and tools to increase resilience of beach habitats and species in the face of climate change.

Read the full story from Virginia Tech. 

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