Meet the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) researchers who are on the front lines of understanding climate change and how it impacts the Chesapeake Bay. The campus is a natural laboratory for long-term and cutting-edge ecological research, including water quality, fisheries, invasive species, and global change. With 2,650 acres of forests, marsh, and shoreline, our focus will include an extended walking tour of the campus, learning about SERC’s mission and key projects. The two-mile round-trip hike will lead us out to Hog Island, set between a salt marsh and Muddy Creek, where it meets the Rhode River. Our morning hike will finish with lunch at the Reed Pavilion.

Our afternoon portion will begin with van transport out to the Global Change Research Wetland (GCREW). This research looks at the complex ecological processes that will help stabilize coastal marshes as they respond to global environmental change. This 172-acre brackish marsh is home to several long-term experiments designed to predict the future for coastal wetland ecosystems as they cope with accelerated sea-level rise. Research topics include Invasive Species Response to Global Change, Elevated Carbon Dioxide and Plant Communities, and Salt Marsh Accretion Response to Temperature eXperiment.

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