Welcome to the South Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SAC-SWS). The objectives of the Chapter are to encourage communication of wetlands issues and research activities in the South Atlantic region (Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), and to sponsor meetings and other activities that foster interaction of wetland scientists and managers in the region.
Any member of the Society of Wetland Scientists in good standing who resides within the SAC-SWS region is considered an active member of SAC. Active SAC-SWS membership is your way of staying involved in local and regional issues and peer networking. Through the hard work of its officers, volunteers, and local members, the SAC-SWS aims to support regional student education and research, advance public education, and foster wetland conservation, while operating solely as a charitable and educational organization.
Feel free to join us on our social media group pages on Facebook and LinkedIn to join in the conversation.
- Chapter Bylaws Rev. May 2018
- Standing Rules Rev. September 2023
- Operating Procedures - Cooperative Partnerships for Chapter Workshops
- Guidelines for Student Travel Award to SWS Annual Meeting Rev. January 2015
Chair – Richard Chinn
Vice Chair – Matthew Miller
Treasurer – Jamie Duberstein
Past Chair – Brian Benscoter
South Atlantic Chapter Student Travel Awards & Research Grants
The South Atlantic Chapter (SAC) provides several monetary awards to graduate, undergraduate, and minority students whose research pertains to wetland science or management, including research grants as well as travel awards to various annual meetings. Student awardees can be enrolled in either a public or private university located within the South Atlantic Chapter's region.
2019 Research Grant Winners
David De La Mater; Duke University Department of Biology; Durham, NC
Title: Effects of elevated temperatures and eutrophication on plant-herbivore interactions and impacts on a salt marsh foundation species
David De La Mater is a Ph.D. student in the University Program in Ecology at Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. He studies the ways that environmental conditions influence the form of individuals and their role in the systems they inhabit, often using biogeographic theory as a lens through which to study this problem. For his PhD research, David is using salt marsh communities as a system in which to investigate this topic. The title of his research project is “Effects of elevated temperatures and eutrophication on plant-herbivore interactions and impacts on a salt marsh foundation species.” David will be conducting manipulative warming and nutrient addition experiments in the marshes of coastal North Carolina in order to ask the question “How do rising temperatures and eutrophication interact to affect herbivory and traits of cordgrass in salt marshes?”
Erin Smyth; University of Alabama; Tuscaloosa, AL
Title: Differences in carbon storage between a constructed and natural brackish marsh: An ecosystem in recovery
The restoration and construction of coastal vegetated areas is a promising tool for recovering ecosystem services lost when coastal vegetated areas are degraded or destroyed. One of the most notable ecosystem services that coastal ecosystems provide is the efficient sequestration of carbon (C), which helps to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Yet, the capacity of natural marshes to sequester carbon may differ from that in constructed marshes, with significant temporal lags in the recovery of ecosystem services possible for many restored or constructed marshes. My thesis research focuses on differences in carbon storage between natural and constructed tidal marshes in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the factors that drive these differences. Data from my thesis project will provide useful information on the success of tidal wetland creation projects along the northern Gulf of Mexico and will permit estimation of the time it takes to recover lost ecosystem services in these ecosystems.
2019 Travel Awards to the SWS Annual Meeting
Steven M. Anderson; North Carolina State University; Durham, NC
Title: Variable physiological and growth responses of six coastal tree species to experimental salinization
Steven is a Master's student advised by Dr. Marcelo Ardón in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. He is studying the diversity of species-specific responses to salinity stress in North Carolina freshwater wetland plant communities. His thesis work investigates the diverse physiological responses of six dominant tree species in eastern N.C. to an experimental salinity gradient. The goal of this research is to increase our understanding of how salinity stress impacts carbon allocation, above and below-ground production, and water relations across multiple species. His aim is to inform remote detection of salt stress at multiple scales by pairing leaf-level spectral reflectance measurements with physiological metrics in controlled greenhouse conditions.
Elliott White; University of Florida; Gainesville, FL
Title: Remotely sensed early warning of saltwater intrusion in coastal freshwater swamps
Elliott is studying the effects of saltwater intrusion on coastal freshwater swamps of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The questions in his dissertation seek to understand how the introduction of sulfate changes gaseous carbon flux; how the introduction of sodium can alter the nitrogen cycle; develop a remote sensing method that can be used to assess coastal freshwater swamps health; and establish the ecological trajectory for coastal freshwater swamps canopy trees experiencing SWI. His research draws upon biogeochemistry, ecology, remote sensing, and hydrology to develop a holistic understanding of coastal freshwater swamps with respect to saltwater intrusion.
Stephanie Lowery; University of South Florida; Tampa, FL
Stephanie’s Master’s thesis, under the guidance of Dr. Mark Rains in the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida in Tampa, involves assessing the changes in wetland structure, spatial distribution, and functionality in the St. Lucie County (Florida) watershed. Specifically, she’s examining the changes between wetlands present before development (~1850s), wetlands existing during the early stages of development (~1950s), and wetlands in the current landscape. GIS maps of historical wetlands in the 1850s and 1950s, along with the data derived from them, will be compared with maps and data produced from analysis of contemporary wetlands in the county, thus quantitatively defining historical changes in extent, structure and function of the wetlands. These comparisons will illuminate more precisely how changes in connectivity have affected ecosystem functions and services of wetlands within the watershed and bordering the Indian River Lagoon.
2018 Research Grant Winners
The South Atlantic Chapter is proud to announce Hayden Hays and Elena Solohin have been selected as the 2018 Research Grant winners.
“Mating behavior and reproductive success as a function of cheliped relations and color morphology in the Red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii”
The red swamp crayfish is a large-bodied crayfish native to Northeastern Mexico and the South Central United States. Despite the extensive research on the invasive potential of this organism, the behavioral aspects of the breeding system have been mostly neglected. I will investigate how various traits in male individuals influence female choice and mating success of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. This females-driven mating system includes both chemical and visual cues, with the visual cues receiving the least attention. Previous research has shown a female preference for males of larger body size, but not larger chelae size. This study seeks to tease apart the behavioral cause behind this distinction, through the testing of cheliped autotomy, chelae function, and chelae-body size ratio. I am also interested in the effects of different color morphologies on crayfish mating success, as this is a new topic that has not been studied previously. Finally, females will be allowed to produce eggs and their resulting hatchlings to understand the role of female mate choice on reproductive resource allocation.
“Response of tidal wetlands to rising sea level in three estuaries along the U.S. Southeast Atlantic coast”
Tidal wetlands are increasingly threatened by global climate change and anthropogenic activities. Future rates of sea level rise (SLR) and altered sediment supply due to land use change may have an impact on future tidal wetland ability to keep pace with rising seas. The goal of my project is to understand and predict the impact that rising sea levels may have on tidal wetlands along the Atlantic Southeast coast. I intend to use a combination of soil and plant measurements, and remote sensing to understand how tidal marsh health and resiliency have changed over time along three Southeast estuaries: Cape Fear (NC), Edisto (SC), and Altamaha (GA). Understanding the response of marshes to changes in land use and human disturbances will inform coastal adaptive management in the face of climate change and sea-level rise. Another important aspect of my project is expanding its educational potential by including the participation of undergraduate students in the research aspects of the study. The educational component is designed to encourage students' engagement in a learning process with a strong emphasis on laboratory work. By providing educational opportunities and a learning experience to students, this project will promote the dissemination of the scientific content about coastal wetland science.
2018 Travel Awards to the SWS Annual Meeting
Travel awards were granted to the following students to help defray the costs to attend the SWS Annual Meeting in Denver. Congratulations!
Travel Awards to the GERS & SWS-SAC/SCC Joint Fall 2016 Meeting
Travel awards were granted to students (graduate and undergraduate) to help defray the costs associated with travel and participation in the GERS-SWS meeting.
Kyle Dittmer, University of Central Florida
Kyle collects samples in Orlando Wetlands Park to examine temperature effects on greenhouse gas production along a nutrient gradient.
Havalend Steinmuller, Louisiana State University
Havalend observes the impacts of salinity and soil type on the potential release of nutrients from freshwater wetland soils.
Eunice Yarney, University of Florida
Eunice evaluates whether Irrigation Drainage Tile irrigation and drainage could reduce soil salinity as compared to conventional seepage irrigation and drainage.
Student Research Grants for the SWS Annual Meeting
The SAC offers two, $750 student research grants to graduate or undergraduate students conducting research in wetland science and who are enrolled in an accredited college or university in the SAC region (Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).
Please visit the SWS Student Research Grants webpage for application instructions.
2017 Grant Winners:
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of Georgia
I am broadly interested in the role that vegetation plays in mediating population dynamics in species with dual habitat requirements, particularly when these habitats are managed differentially. My current research focuses on examining how forest succession and restoration affect threatened amphibians across wetland-to-upland habitat within the longleaf pine ecosystem. As part of a collaborative project, I will be examining the performance of larval and juvenile amphibians before and after restoration of longleaf pine wetlands which have succeed due to fire suppression. Findings from this research will inform the management, restoration, and conservation of longleaf pine wetlands and the species that rely on them.
Environmental Engineering Sciences
University of Florida
My dissertation research is focused on the transport and fate of contaminants in coastal food webs. Using experimental and analytical approaches, I study how pathways for Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) biomagnification shift as predators undergo ontogenetic development. To do so, I study how age, prey network structure, and trophic position of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) influence their rate of PCB accumulation in Southeastern Georgia estuaries.
Travel Awards to the SWS 2015 Annual Meeting/Conferences
- Guidelines for SAC Student Travel Award to SWS Annual Meeting
- SAC Award Winners to SWS Annual Meetings
Travel Awards to Chapter Meetings & Other Conferences
- SAC Award Winners to Chapter Meetings and Other Conferences
- SAC Award Winners to ASB Meetings (no longer available)
SWS Diversity Program Undergraduate Mentoring Awards
The Society of Wetland Scientists South Atlantic Chapter is committed to encouraging the involvement of students and future generations of wetland scientists. We recently fostered the development of a new, student wetland group at Duke University. In addition, the "Wetlands Club" at the University of Florida continues to support a variety of activities to involve students in wetland related events. See below for more information on these student chapters.
- If you are interested in creating a SAC student association of SWS at your school, please contact the Chapter Chair.
Other Student News & Events
- Know of any news you would like to publish here? Email the webmaster.
University of Florida Wetlands Club
Wetlands Club | P.O. Box 116350 | University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-6350 | (352) 392-2424
President - Lauren Holian (email@example.com)
Vice President - Joshua Epstein
Treasurer - Wesley Anderson
Secretary - Jessica Hong
Fundraiser Chair - Haley Glaab
SEEP manager - Sean Sharpe
- Monitoring and maintenance of SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project);
- Adoption of Tumblin Creek for regular trash pick-ups;
- Field trips to local wetlands, including the UF's Marine Laboratory at Seahorse Key;
- Canoe trips to the Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River and Santa Fe Rivers;
- Organizing and attending guest lectures;
- Visiting local schools and assisting in school field trips that go to local wetlands or aquatic systems; and
- Participating with other organizations in various outreach efforts.
- 2011 Winners of the Sustainable Solutions Student Organization Award in Water Conservation from the UF Office of Sustainability
- 2012 Club of the Year for College of Agricultural and Life Sciences College Council!
Duke Student Association of Wetland Scientists (SAWS)
SAWS | Duke University Wetland Center | Nicholas School of the Environment
Box 90333 | Durham, NC 27708-0333 | (919) 613-8009
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Curtis Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
President - Adrian McInnis (email@example.com)
Treasurer - Morgan Rudd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Event Coordinator - Katie DiPrete (email@example.com)
Communications Coordinator - Sean Ireland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beaufort Representatives - Samantha Godwin (email@example.com) and Morgan Rudd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wetland Center Website and News: http://nicholas.duke.edu/wetland/
- Provide a meeting ground for students who are interested in wetland science, policy, and restoration.
- Organize wetland related speakers, seminars, and symposium events.
- Plan canoe trips to local wetlands such as the Black River cypress swamp and Eno River.
- Organize local stream clean-up events.
- Host fun events such as wetland themed movie nights.
- Collaborate closely with the Duke Wetland Center.
“His work improved the quality of life for millions of people who’ve probably never heard of him, as well as helped save thousands of fresh and salt-water species,” said Lynda Lewis of her brother, Roy R. “Robin” Lewis.
Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, a certified environmental professional and senior ecologist whose work was well known locally and internationally, died Sept. 24 at his home in Salt Springs. He was 74.
Lewis was a member of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, Society of Wetland Scientists and Ecological Society of America, and president of Lewis Environmental Services, Inc. Coastal Resources Group, Inc., among many other affiliations.
Please go to HERE to read Robin Lewis' full obituary.
South Atlantic Chapter 2015 Meeting
The South Atlantic Chapter Meeting was held on October 26-27 in Athens, Georgia at the University of Georgia's Flinchum's Phoenix Lodge, an intimate, scenic venue in Whitehall Forest along the Oconee River. Dr. Merryl Alber, Director of the NSF Georgia Coastal Longterm Ecological Research site, discussed coastal wetland research in Georgia for the plenary. Two days of contributed talks and posters addressed various aspects of freshwater and coastal wetland research across the Southeastern US, and elsewhere.
New board members announced at SWS 2015 Annual Meeting
Angelique Bochnak and Douglas DeBerry have been nominated as Chair and Chair-Elect of the South Atlantic Chapter.
Congratulations to our 2015 SAC research grant winners!
Wesley Anderson and Sean Sharp of the University of Florida were awarded research grants for the 2015 meeting.
SWS-SAC is excited for our return to in-person conferences, hosting our 2023 Conference in beautiful Georgetown, South Carolina at the Clemson University, Baruch Institute. This event will feature presentations by industry professionals, academics, and students on a range of wetland related topics! We will host a variety of networking opportunities including lunches and dinners.
If your company is interested in sponsoring this event, we still have a few sponsorship options available! Please see the registration page for sponsorship details through March 1, and contact Katie Bowes (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
We are accepting abstract submissions for the conference until February 1. Submit your abstract here.
South Atlantic Chapter Workshops & Conferences
If you are interested in helping to organize a wetland-related workshop or conference for the South Atlantic Chapter of SWS, please submit your request to a Chapter Officer.
Past Chapter Workshops & Conferences
- Summer 2017 - SWS Annual Meeting - Puerto Rico
- Fall 2016 - SWS-SAC/SCC Joint Meeting with GERS - Pensacola Beach, FL
- Fall 2013 - SWS-SAC/FAESS/FAEP 2013 Joint Conference, Wetland Resources and Regulations in a Changing World: What Have We Learned? - Tampa, FL
- Spring 2011 - SWS-SAC/MAC Joint Chapter Meeting, Wetlands, Water Resources and People - Reston, VA
- Fall 2008 - SWS-SAC/SCC Joint Chapter Meeting, Climate Change, Wetlands and Water Resources in the Southeast- Tuscaloosa, AL
- Fall 2006 - Conservation and Management Issues Affecting Amphibians in the SE - Palatka, FL
- Fall 2004/ Spring 2005 - SWS-SAC/SCC Joint Workshop
- Fall 2003 - Isolated Waters in the Southeastern United States: The Reality Versus the Regulatory - Savannah, GA
- Fall 2002 - "Behmouth" Wetland Restorations: Case Studies and Lessons Learned - Gainesville, FL
- Fall 2001 - The Dirt on Wetlands: Does Soil Organic Matter Enhance Ecosystem Function in Natural, Created and Restored Wetlands?
Field trips are a great way to explore and learn about natural areas in our region, spread local knowledge on local wetland systems, network with and make new friends, and have fun.
Several years ago, Will Conner from Clemson University led some Southern Coastal Field Trips to Hobcaw Barony and nearby wetland systems near Georgetown, SC. There were two days of field trips with the option of group dinners. There are also great field trips that are organized as part of wetland conferences and workshops, such as those like the one pictured here from an ACE basin kayak trip at the 2005 SWS Conference in Charleston, SC.
The Chapter is always looking for trip leaders and organizers, so if you have an idea for a field trip or would like to lead one, please contact our Chapter Officers.