GRI RESEARCH

Biological Sciences
The research category of Biological Sciences focuses on research pertaining to living organisms, environmental procedures and habitats. GRI scientists are creating specific datasets and tools which are helpful in understanding our ecosystem.





Aquatic Invasive Species- Habitat Suitability Modeling
GRI researchers are using Habitat Suitability Modeling which uses computer algorithms to manipulate data that create models to predict, control and narrow the expansive search area required for detection of new non-native species of likely avenues for the spread of existing plant populations. Researchers have found four ways to control aquatic invasive species. They include chemical, biological, physical and mechanical methods. These methods can control or eradicate invasive plant species in an area.
Email Contact





Coastal Ocean Color Trade Study
GRI scientists have created a system of unique data sets to enable a better understanding of environmental processes that occur in coastal environments. Coastal and inland waters and their environments were targeted for the initial mission due to their importance to various aspects of human activity and the inability of current systems to accurately sense these unique environments. This mission works in support of the planned GEO-CAPE satellite mission that monitors these environments and is critical for evaluating and understanding the spatial variations and dynamics associated with coastal environments.
Email Contact





Coastal Resiliency from Hurricane Impacts
Coastal wetlands provide a line of defense for coastal communities against hurricane impacts. The wetlands can reduce wind, wave, and surge energy which will in-turn reduce the damaging effects of hurricanes on coastal infrastructure and communities. Research has been developed to improve our understanding of coastal resiliency from hurricane impacts in regards to wetland areas. This was achieved by using integrated numerical modeling and in-situ observations and remote sensing techniques.
Email Contact





Cost Effective BMPs for Resilient Communities
This project developed a tool that will enable the development industry to design and build more resilient and sustainable communities through the inclusion of BMPs (Best Management Practices) in new commercial and residential construction.
Email Contact





Detecting Aflatoxin using Hyperspectral Imaging
Hyperspectral imaging is a way of seeing what is invisible to the human eye. GRI researchers are using this to detect biological and chemical toxins that contaminate crops. This is done by splitting the electromagnetic spectrum into many spectral bands, which expose hidden information invisible to the natural eye. The specific contaminant being studied is a fungal metabolite called aflatoxin. This lethal toxin is produced by a fungus called Aspergillus. It is a known carcinogen associated with liver and lung cancers in humans. Many external stresses cause the fungi to react but hot and humid weather conditions increase its production of aflatoxin that invades corn and other commodities. The goal is to help improve detection and accuracy.
Email Contact





Developing New Strategies for Management of Invasive Aquatic Plants
GRI is developing new strategies for the management of invasive aquatic plants through research at our mesocosm tank facility on the campus of Mississippi State University. We are evaluating new aquatic herbicides, combinations of existing aquatic herbicides, and applying management techniques based on a new understanding of plant species life history. These projects may be proprietary; and funded by private industry, federal, state, and local government agencies, and nonprofit foundations.
Email Contact





Development and Validation of Geospatial Tools to Optimize Implementation of Precision Conservation
Conservation programs under the Farm Bill provide economic incentives for agricultural producers to divert marginally profitable land from production to targeted conservation practices. The adoption of conservation practices may depend on the profitability of program participation, relative to full production. Spatially explicit yield data, combined with production budgets, commodity prices, and program eligibility criteria can inform producers regarding the economical optimality of production vs. conservation. The objectives of this research are to develop decision support tools within ArcGIS that identify opportunities for implementation of conservation programs on agricultural landscapes, measure profitability of alternative programmatic enrollments vs. whole field production, and predict wildlife population benefits of these alternatives. This research will help producers to make informed economic decisions regarding land usage for conservation programs and crop production, benefiting both the farmer and native wildlife.
Email Contact





Ecological Genetics of the Invasive South American Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum
Datasets have been developed of locations of C. cactorum and its host plants (pricklypear cacti, Opuntia species) in the United States and in Argentina, across the majority of the moth's native and North American range. Researchers have identified a steep environmental gradient correlated with separation of the genetic group used for biological control from other genetic groups in Argentina. We have so far found those genetic data to be a significant contributor to patterns in expected and realized habitat associations of the moth within Argentina and in the moth's non-native range. Currently, researchers are working to streamline the modeling process in order to more rapidly conduct analyses as additional genetic and/or environmental data become available. The aim of these studies is to evaluate potential environmental and biological mechanisms contributing to the invasion success of C. cactorum at a global scale, in order to better estimate the expected distribution of the moth in North America.
Email Contact





Enhanced Soils Mapping For Productive Capacity Assessments
This research uses geospatial technologies to create methodology used in defining soil management zones that address soil variability in distinct areas and identify the soil properties that limit crop production while increasing soil conservation. Determining appropriate soil management zones can lead to an increased profit by either increasing yield in areas of fields that are being underutilized or decreasing fertilization in areas of fields where maximum economic yield has already been attained. Moreover, robust and repeatable methodology for construction of management zones will provide an empirical basis for developing variable rate fertilizer prescriptions that optimize profitability and minimize off-site nutrient transport, thereby benefiting the producer, the public, and the environment.
Email Contact





Evaluation of Geospatial Tools to Map Dispersal of Invasive Aquatic Plants in Agroecosystems
This study validates new techniques of mapping and tracking the distribution and transport of invasive aquatic plants by using remote sensing technology to map known locations of these plants, sampling dispersal rates under normal and stormy weather conditions and modeling the output using ArcPro, and comparing these rates to those already recorded through GPS tracking. Gaining an understanding of how invasive aquatic weeds disperse through agricultural areas and creating a tool to reduce the negative effects these weeds have on agronomic crops is vital for the improvement in crop yields and the management of unwanted weed species invading otherwise healthy ecosystems.
Email Contact





FloodViz: Visual Analytics for Assessment and Interpretation of Simulated River Flooding
The FloodViz project involves the development and testing of visual analytics software to enable scientists and forecasters to better interpret and distribute hydrologic information. This software will be useful in the research community as an interpretation tool for river level and flood data. The tools developed serve as a useful platform for hydrologic forecasters within the National Weather Service to more quickly and accurately determine areas at risk for flooding and allow NOAA river forecasters to better visualize the extent of flooding. Additionally, these tools allow forecasters to relay more information to the emergency management community while issuing forecasts to help protect lives, property and the nation.
FloodViz Web Site Email Contact





GIS for Aquatic Plant Management
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become the new tool for information management, planning and presentation for invasive aquatic plant management programs and is critical in every component of the program.
Presentation Email Contact





Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCPO LCC)
GRI has partnered with the GCPO LCC to provide critical LCC research and computing capacity for LCC activities. As a research hub for the GCPO LCC, GRI has established over $4 million in cooperative agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund more than 20 different LCC research projects. This diverse research program includes exploration of ecosystem health, resilience to climate change and urbanization and interrelationships among species and their habitats.
Email Contact





Health and Productivity of Louisiana Salt Marshes
This study will allow the identification of hotspots of marsh degradation in Louisiana by evaluating marsh biophysical characteristics including distribution of chlorophyll content, green leaf area and green marsh canopy cover. This assessment of marsh health and productivity is due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images will be used to retrieve and map these characteristics across the coastal Louisiana salt marshes before and after the spill. The maps and tools produced from the study will be helpful to coastal managers across Louisiana as they evaluate and prioritize the marsh restoration effort which will take place due to the oil spill. Tangible map products will be generated for the first time that can quantitatively assess the effect of the restoration activities and speed of marsh ecosystem recovery.
Email Contact





Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) Tool
This research was implemented as part of an overall Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM). It looks at all indicators, such as tourism and recreation, climate change, fish populations and conservation and energy demands to evaluate ocean health. In the past, scientists, because of the limits of scientific knowledge and technology could only concentrate on individual segments and species of the ocean. The EAM approach using IEA management assessment tool allows them to combine data and look at the ocean as a whole. Research is being carried out at four sites in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Perdido Bay, Florida; Mississippi Sound, Mississippi; Barataria Basin, Louisiana; and Galveston Bay, Texas.
Email Contact





Integrated Pest Management Systems and Resistance Management Using Geospatial Technologies
This research has evaluated the use of remote sensing technologies to detect and predict spatial distribution of weed populations for the purpose of designing site-specific herbicide prescriptions and monitoring the spread of herbicide resistant weed species. Associated spatial technologies have been used to generate guidelines for creation of site-specific harvest-aid, plant growth regulator, and insecticide prescriptions. A unique contribution of this research has been the development of novel statistical models that more fully characterize geographic, topographic, hydrological, edaphic, and producer-induced sources of variation in yield than previously understood. The research also highlights the immense complexity of spatial data collection, management, geoprocessing, and integration for decision support in site-specific agriculture. Outcomes of this study may increase efficiency and profitability, reduce the threat of off-target movement of residual herbicides in runoff to surface and groundwater, and reduce herbicide usage through precision applications.
Email Contact





Invasive Species Program
GRI researchers actively study invasive plants that take over agricultural and natural areas, with expertise for studies ranging from regional impacts through use of remote sensing and GIS, to cellular and molecular studies of plant uptake, and genetic composition. GRI brings together multidisciplinary research teams comprised of university and government researchers to address diverse questions on the management of invasive species.
Our State Video Resources Email Contact





IPAMS - Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth
The Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South (IPAMS) is an integrated research and extension project to develop an invasive plant program for the Mid-South states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Research activities include conducting systematic regional vegetation surveys to assess the distribution of key invasive plants, developing models for predicting the occurrence of target species based on land use and cover, and evaluating the relative effectiveness of professional versus volunteer surveys.
IPAMS Web Site Email Contact





Levee Evaluation through Remote Sensing
GRI researchers are developing a means to use remote sensing to determine the strength of river levees through the utilization of airborne synthetic aperture radar for levee condition assessment and develop classification software. The team has set out to develop new methods and software to improve knowledge of levee conditions and help levee managers prioritize their efforts to inspect, test and repair levees.
LAT Software Page Email Contact





Linking Cultural, Biological and Economic Values into Wetland Programs: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' Pearl River Wetland Demonstration Project
This project aims to develop procedures for more reliably regenerating rivercane and for planting potential restoration sites in the Coastal Plain, and for maintenance of stands for cultural use by native peoples. We are assessing ecological factors associated with the establishment and maintenance of rivercane stands, developing methods for vegetative propagation of rivercane from rhizome segments, and attempting to transfer our findings directly to the Choctaw and other American Indian groups through local and regional symposia, workshops, and field days.
Email Contact





Opuntia (Pricklypear Cactus) and Cactoblastis Cactorum (Cactus Moth) Habitat Models and Population Genetics
A research group has worked to characterize habitat of southeastern U.S. Opuntia species throughout Mississippi, Florida, and southwestern Alabama. One goal of this research is to develop predictive models for locations of Opuntia species populations in the region. A related goal is to better understand what large-scale environmental factors may be influencing the spread of C. cactorum in North America. Recently, researchers have begun to incorporate genetic analyses into our environmental modeling research. Integration of ecological habitat models with C. cactorum genetic data is expected to help better understand mechanisms of host preference and environmental tolerance, and may eventually lead to the ability to track sources of new moth infestations in the United States or Mexico.
Email Contact





Providing Accurate Data for Field Monitoring of Peanut Production
Reliable yield monitors have been developed for a variety of crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton. Due to the nature of harvesting and threshing peanuts, however, the ability to provide accurate yield data has been rudimentary, at best. The objective of this research is to use a system for yield measurement previously developed at Mississippi State University and commercialized through MSTX Agricultural Sensor Technologies (MAST), LLC to compare management zones, buy-point and field weights from adjusted and raw yield data in peanuts. The results of this study will potentially allow peanut producers to evaluate inputs, manage pests, make better land-use decisions and perform economic analysis in peanut production.
Email Contact





Satellite Rainfall Applications for Surface Hydrology
GRI has evaluated results which examine how soil moisture states simulated by land surface models are impacted when forced with various precipitation datasets. These datasets are from a collection of Global Precipitation Mission satellite constellation configurations gathered over the continental United States.
Email Contact





Sediment and Mercury Path and Fate Modeling
Sediments are the main repository of mercury in the coastal Gulf of Mexico as well as the site of transformation of inorganic mercury to methylmercury, the more toxic form which is bioaccumulated in fish and enters into the food webs. This project develops methods which predict the path and fate of sediment and mercury in the Gulf coastal region from entry point to fish stocks.
Email Contact





Spatial Detection of Agri-terrorism
This GRI project develops and deploys an automated target recognition system that utilizes hyperspectral imagery to detect biological or chemical contamination of vegetation. The Automated Target Recognition - ATR - system is applied to the problem of BioSecurity, i.e. the detection of crop contamination via biological or chemical agents.
Email Contact





Spatial Variation and Temporal Trend of Water Quality
NGI conducted ground truth observations and standardize algorithms to produce and evaluate the spatial and temporal variations of water quality parameters in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM). The effort is aimed at improving the monitoring of the NGOM ecosystem based on remote sensing and understanding the dynamics of harmful algae blooms in the region.
Email Contact





UAS with MicroSense RedEdge Payload Help Monitor and Manage Forest Resortation
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) carry a multispectral senor that produce images that provides biologist and geographic information system specialists with changes in the woodlands and vegetation in almost real time. These systems also show the density and regrowth of woodland, marsh, and coastal areas. Mississippi State University’s Geosystems Research Institute is assisting the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GBNERR) and the U.S. Forestry Service with surveying the 4,200 acres that were burned during a large wildfire that reaches from southeast Jackson County into Alabama. These experts utilized the Altavian Nova Block III to inspect the area from 1,000 feet, and they deployed the MicaSense RedEdge. The MicaSense RedEdge has the ability to sense energy at five different wavelengths. Two of the five wavelengths exceed our vision in the Near Infrared Region (NIR) of the electromagnetic spectrum. The senor provides researchers with accurate data that projects the status of vegetation and stress of areas within the ecosystem. With this knowledge, researchers and specialists can aid in the revegetation of the burned woodlands and marsh of the GBNERR, the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge and neighboring lands.
UAS BLOG ASSURE EMAIL





UAV Research with NOAA
GRI scientists are using UAVs to assess the speed and rate of how rivers flow and rise and where the water goes, especially in flood type conditions. Partnering with NOAA, both are helping the U.S. to become a “Weather Ready Nation.” This effort can help prevent the loss of life and property before, during and after natural disasters, such as flooding, created by tropical storms and hurricanes. They are conducting research and gaining invaluable environmental and situational data along the lower Pearl River watershed, south of Bogalusa, Louisiana, all the way down to what is called the tidal plain.
Email Contact




Geosystems Research Institute  •  Contact GRI
Modified: May 17, 2016  •  WebMaster  •  Intranet