Coastal Research Field Station

The U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Coastal Field Station located at the University of Rhode Island, offers research and field work opportunities for faculty and students in this department.

Established in 1989, the field station is headquartered at the University of Rhode Island, and supports collaborative partnerships with the RI Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey coastal and marine programs. The field station provides the state with technical assistance on mosquito control, Lyme disease, and salt marsh restoration and important research on research on RI national wildlife refuges.

Students in the Department of Natural Resources Science can participate in the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit that focuses on northeast coastal issues; take classes with field station staff, who often serve as affiliated or adjunct faculty, or attend a field trip to a national park. There are also opportunities for graduate students to apply for funding and conduct research through the Coastal Field Station.

Ongoing research initiatives include:

Coastal ecology

  • The ecology of Lyme disease
  • Impacts of nutrient enrichments on estuaries
  • Assess beach invertebrate fauna in relation to off-road vehicle traffic
  • Assess declines in neotropical migrant birds at Fire Island National Seashore
  • Assess sea level rise, habitat change, and waterbird utilization at coastal parks and refuges
  • Ecological implication of shellfish aquaculture in Cape Cod National Seashore and vicinity

Coastal Processes

  • Geomorphic analysis of barrier island dynamics in northeastern National Seashores
  • Numerical modeling of estuarine circulation and barrier island breach dynamics at Fire Island and Cape Cod National Seashores

Freshwater Wetland Ecology

  • Ecological effects of municipal groundwater withdrawal on wetlands of Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Kettle pond macrophytes at Cape Cod National Seashore: species composition and mapping
  • Habitat mapping at Northeast Creek, Acadia National Park

Long-Term Ecosystem Monitoring

  • Design and test a long-term coastal monitoring program at Cape Cod National Seashore with application to other coastal units of the National Park Service.

Habitat Restoration

  • Evaluate and monitor salt marsh restoration at Rachel Carson and Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuges and Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Coordinate a US-Canadian initiative on salt marsh restoration in Gulf of Maine region

National and Regional-level Technical Assistance

  • Water quality and wetland protection
  • Piping Plover management
  • Storms and shoreline change problems
  • Vector-borne diseases
  • Natural resource monitoring
  • Habitat restoration