Linking Remote Sensing and Process-Based Models to Better Understand the Influence of Land Use and Climate Changes on Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands

Related Research Areas
Climate Variability & Change, Earth Surface & Interior, Water & Energy Cycles
Project Description
The spread of invasive plant species in coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes is degrading wetland habitat, decreasing biodiversity and reducing ecosystem services. Climate and land use changes in the watersheds of the Great Lakes could be increasing the rate of spread of invasive plants. In order to control this growing threat it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of invasion, and this requires coupling hydrologic and ecosystem models. We have begun research to integrate remote sensing and field based studies with a process-based hydrologic model and an ecosystem model, developed specifically to understand the mechanisms of invasions. Our study area is the watersheds of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This integrated research is linking flow and transport of water and nutrients from the land to the coasts in order to understand the effects of a changing landscape and climate on the spread of invasive plants. Research has been initiated to create 100 mesocosms in northern and southern Michigan for evaluating the influence of temperature and nutrients on health of native wetland species and on invasion of non-native problematic wetland plant species (Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia and Typha xglauca). Remote sensing research to create high resolution products to improve the hydrological modeling will begin with the development of Landsat-derived leaf area index (LAI) products and assessment of radar imagery for mapping seasonally flooded areas. These products will be used to inform the hydrological model. Wetland locations around Michigan's coasts have been identified for instrumentation to monitor river flow and transport of nutrients for training and testing of the modeling. Project PI: Laura Bourgeau-Chavez Email:
Project Administrator(s):
Mary Ellen Miller


Mary Ellen Miller