"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

UCF student to conduct project in MDC marsh

Feb 9th, 2016 | Category: MDC News

IMG_4826During the spring semester, UCF environmental sciences undergrad Scott Beyer will be researching harvesting methods of Spartina alterniflora. 

Spartina alterniflora, more commonly known as smooth cord grass, is a common grass in Florida’s marshes. The grass, which can grow upwards of 5′ tall, are commonly used for shoreline restoration thanks to their cable root system which holds sediment, and their ability to grow well in muddy soil. 

Beyer’s semester long project is going to focus on the best months to harvest the grass, seeing which month allows us to take the largest harvest while ensuring the plants will grow back quickly and in a sustainable manner. By conducting this research Beyer hopes to aid in the ability to come up with a standardized method of harvesting marsh grasses around Florida. 

“It’s a really great opportunity, you know, to get outside and learn about field wIMG_4819ork while conducting an experiment that will help the overall goal of the Marine Discovery Center,” says Beyer, “Now we’re thinking with fire!”. 

Beyer will come out on a monthly basis to harvest Spartina alterniflora from selected plots in the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center’s newly restored 5.5 acre marsh. The harvested grasses will be transplanted to areas of the marsh that are lacking in Spartina density. Beyer will monitor the same plots for the next 6 months and collect data on the rate of regrowth. Through this research, he hopes to see harvesting during different months have a different impact on the growth of the plants. 

Volunteers may be needed to assist with harvesting Spartina alterniflora or data collection. Email Annie (annie.roddenberry@myfwc.com) for more information.