Identifying distributions of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) across the northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM) coastal landscape necessitates describing ecological processes in estuarine gradients. SAV assemblages are ecological indicators of aquatic ecosystem health; spatial and temporal distributions are strongly correlated to environmental conditions. Many wildlife species, including waterfowl, are dependent on SAV and seeds in NGOM coastal marshes for food and habitat. To understand SAV distributions at multiple spatial and temporal scales a multi-tiered project was designed to collect SAV presence, species assemblage, and cover data, and cores to describe seed food. The first tier sampled inter-annually in the growing seasons 2013-2015 from Mobile Bay, Alabama to San Antonio Bay, Texas. The second tier sampled seasonally, every 6-8 weeks in 2015, in Barataria Basin, Louisiana. These data were used to characterize SAV distributions and to drive a spatial species distribution model (SDM) in coastal Louisiana. This project was co-funded by the Gulf Coast Prairie and the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center.
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