GRI RESEARCH

Completed Research Projects
GRI is using remote sensing and hyperspectral imagery among other technologies to develop research activities in the different sectors of agriculture and natural resource management. GRI researchers examine areas such as invasive species, agri-terrorism, site-specific crop management, and the strengthening of our rivers' levee systems.





2017 Survey of Aquatic Plant Species in Mississippi Waterbodies
The state of Mississippi (MS) has significant water resources that, many times, are impaired by invasive aquatic and wetland plant species. These waterbodies can then act as source populations to introduce non-native vegetation to other waterbodies in the region. The likelihood of being a source population increases if the waterbody in question has a high frequency of boat traffic. Many times small waterbodies that have significant amounts of boat traffic are overlooked due to the size of the waterbody. To date, no statewide survey of small and medium sized (100





Adaptive Management of Flowering Rush Using the Contact Herbicide Diquat in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota 2016 - Final Report
Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus L.) is an emergent invasive plant that has invaded the Detroit Lakes area, specifically, Detroit Lake (Big Detroit, Little Detroit, and Curfman Lakes), Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa and Mill Pond (Becker County) since the 1960s. It is native to Europe and Asia and first entered the United States in 1928. Flowering rush has continued to be a problem in the Detroit Lakes system for the past three decades. However, applications of the contact herbicide diquat over the last six years have helped to control the spread and density of the plant. Although flowering rush has been in North America for over forty years, very little information is known about its biology, ecology, and management. Bellaud (2009) reports that it was first observed in North America in St. Lawrence River (Quebec) in 1897. Flowering rush is currently found in all of the southern Canadian provinces, and all of the states bordering Canada and the Great Lakes (NRCS 2013)





Adaptive Management of Flowering Rush Using the Contact Herbicide Diquat in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota 2016 - Interim Report
Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus L.) is an emergent invasive plant that has invaded the Detroit Lakes area, specifically, Detroit Lake (Big Detroit, Little Detroit, and Curfman Lakes), Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa and Mill Pond (Becker County) since the 1960s. It is native to Europe and Asia and first entered the United States in 1928. Flowering rush has continued to be a problem in the Detroit Lakes system for the past three decades. However, applications of the contact herbicide diquat over the last four years have helped to control the spread and density of the plant.
Document--Interim Report 2017





Cactus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network (CMDMN)
This website details the CMDMN program which relies on volunteers to monitor cactus populations and report observations. This is the first step of an Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) approach. The data will be used to support modeling efforts to better predict likely locations for new pricklypear cactus and cactus moth and help guide surveys.





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.





Control of Common Duckweed and Watermeal by a New Flumioxazin Formulation
Floating plants are increasingly becoming widespread problems in waterways in the southern United States. Nuisance problems are often exacerbated with increased nutrient inputs into waterbodies from point and non-point sources. Common duckweed (Lemna minor) and watermeal (Wolffia spp.) are two such floating aquatic plants that thrives in high nutrient environments. Infestations of these species can shade submersed aquatic plants and cause oxygen depletions in the water column (Parr et al. 2002) resulting in fish kills. Common duckweed and watermeal are also aesthetically displeasing to most land owners or pond managers. Herbicide applicators consider these species some of the most difficult aquatic plants to control. Currently, watermeal does not have management recommendations that produce consistent and predictable results. Additionally, floating plants are quite capable of re-colonizing a site rapidly after control efforts have been carried out as more plants may drift into the site due to water and wind currents. The purpose of this study was to verify the efficacy of liquid flumioxazin on common duckweed and watermeal as a foliar application.
Document





Control of Cuban Bulrush (Oxycaryum Cubense) through Submersed Herbicide Applications - Interim Report
Cuban bulrush (Oxycaryum cubense) is a perennial invasive aquatic plant species native to South America (Bryson et al. 1996) that is spreading across Florida and the Southeastern US (Anderson2007, Bryson et al. 1996, Lelong 1988, Thomas and Allen 1993, Turner et al. 2003, and Cox et al. 2010). In FL, and elsewhere, Cuban bulrush is known to form large floating islands (tussocks)that can block boat launches, impede navigation along river channels, negatively affect drainage canals, and degrade fishery habitat by lowering dissolved oxygen under the tussock (Mallison et al. 2001). Cuban bulrush is capable of outcompeting and displacing native and other invasive species for resources thereby disrupting ecosystem processes (Robles et al. 2007). Cuban bulrush is capable of sexual and asexual reproduction (Haines and Lye 1983). During initial colonization, it exists as an epiphytic species that utilize other aquatic plants or structures for habitat (Tur1971). However, once a plant mat has captured enough sediment from the water column in the root/rhizome network the species is capable of surviving independently of other structures as a floating tussock (Haines and Lye 1983). Portions of these tussocks can break off, float away, and start new infestations of Cuban bulrush elsewhere. Limited data exist concerning selective chemical control (herbicides) methods that are effective at controlling Cuban bulrush. To date, only one study examining the chemical control of Cuban bulrush has been published in a peer review journal (Watson and Madsen 2014). Watson and Madsen (2014) evaluated the efficacy of 10 foliar-applied herbicides to control Cuban bulrush but did not investigate selective or submersed control options. This work was conducted to investigate short and long-term selective submersed chemical control options for Cuban bulrush. Results reported here are only for the short-term portion of this study.





Control of Cuban bulrush (Oxycaryum cubense) through submersed herbicide applications --A final report to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Cuban bulrush (Oxycaryum cubense) is a perennial invasive aquatic plant species native to South America (Bryson et al. 1996) that is spreading across Florida and the Southeastern US (Anderson 2007, Bryson et al. 1996, Lelong 1988, Thomas and Allen 1993, Turner et al. 2003, and Cox et al. 2010). In FL, and elsewhere, Cuban bulrush is known to form large floating islands (tussocks) that can block boat launches, impede navigation along river channels, negatively affect drainage canals, and degrade fishery habitat by lowering dissolved oxygen under the tussock (Mallison et al. 2001). This work was conducted to investigate short and long-term selective submersed chemical control options for Cuban bulrush.





Control of Torpedograss (Panicum Repens) through Submersed Applications of Systemic and Contact Herbicides
Torpedo grass (Panicum repens) is an invasive plant species that is capable of surviving in terrestrial and aquatic settings (Sutton 1996; Smith et al. 2004; Toth 2007). In aquatic systems, the species causes problems by impeding boat access and drainage flow in waterbodies (Smith et al. 1993; Smith et al. 2004). If left uncontrolled, torpedo grass can shade out native submersed, floating, and emergent plant species that are beneficial habitat for native fauna (Hanlon and Brady 2005; Toth 2007) thereby causing ecological problems. Currently, the plant is distributed across the Southeastern US, California, and Hawaii. It is capable of aggressive range expansion in shallow water bodies where no management activities are occurring. Foliar applications of the herbicides imazapyr and glyphosate are typically used to control the species, however, these are non-selective systemic herbicides capable of drifting onto non-target species and damaging them (Hanlon and Langeland 2000; Shilling et al. 1990; Smith et al. 1993; Smith et al. 1999).





Data Software Development
GRI has developed software, a NetCDF-Java Toolbox for MATLAB, along with NOAA which would allow MATLAB users to standardize access to IOOS (Integrated Oceans Observing Systems)-compliant gridded data.





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.





Distribution and Management of Invasive Plant Species in the Ross Barnett Reservoir
The objectives of this research is to monitor and map invasive aquatic plant populations. Long term changes are recorded in the plant community of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and the management effectiveness of certain invasive plant species is assessed.





Earth Dams and Levees (EDLs) Sustainability
Research in using remote sensing to improve earth dam and levee sustainability has the potential to affect tens of millions of people who live or work behind levee-protected areas. MSU/GRI researchers in an international partnership are conducting research on multi-scale monitoring science to enable a sustainable future for the vast worldwide array of earth dam and levees. The research examines EDL critical infrastructure that provides flood protection, fresh water storage and renewable energy to developed and underdeveloped nations. This project is currently in year two and uses polarimetric and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to examine earth deformations at a very small scale.





Earth Science Knowledge Base
Under this project led by the Geosystems Research Institute, the NASA Applied Sciences Program has funded the Mississippi Research Consortium (MRC) to develop information technology that will facilitate searches for potential applications of NASA assets to various needs in the earth sciences community. In particular, it will help generate ideas for new ways to use NASA missions, research, and/or models in conjunction with operational decision-making processes (or decision support systems) to achieve a particular benefit to society. The main output of this work is the development of information technology that will facilitate that ability. The resulting system is called the Earth Science Knowledge Base (ESKB).





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.





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.





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.





Hurricane Debris Model
Based on GRI's researcher's experiences in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and other natural and man-made disasters, researchers have developed a plan for applications of geospatial technologies to disaster response and recovery, dealing primarily with data flow to and from emergency management personnel, especially for hurricane response.





Hurricane Landfall Estimation and Storm Surge
The storm surge of Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in Mississippi and Louisiana in 2005, was unprecedented for its elevation, area coverage, and levee breaches. Due to the storm surge, areas along the Gulf Coast were severely flooded and destroyed. GRI is addressing recent Mississippi and Louisiana storm surge issues using the finite element model ADCIRC. The research will facilitate answers to the sensitivity of the storm surge in Mississippi to wind profiles of major hurricanes, as well as to hurricane eye size and landfall estimation.





Inflow of Shelf Waters into the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay Estuaries in October 2015
The exchange of coastal waters between the Mississippi Sound (MSS), Mobile Bay and Mississippi Bight is an important pathway for oil and pollutants into coastal ecosystems. This study investigated an event of strong and persistent inflow of shelf waters into MSS and Mobile Bay during October 2015 by combining in-situ measurements, satellite ocean color data and ocean model predictions. Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) predicted high salinity shelf waters continuously flowing into the estuarine system, and forecasted low salinity waters trapped inside the estuaries which did not flush out until the passage of tropical cyclone Patricia





Inland Navigation: Environmental Sustainability
Inland Navigation: Environmental Sustainability provides the current state of environmental preservation procedures for inland waterways. It presents an overview of ecosystem sustainability procedures currently used. This technical report examines environmental considerations for construction, as well as operation and restoration of inland freshwater waterways in the continental United States, which includes the lower Mississippi and lower Columbia rivers. Topics include Hydrology and hydraulics; Sedimentation, dredging, and disposal; Water quality; Habitat (aquatic, terrestrial, wetlands); Migratory fish and birds; Historic preservation; and Restoration and environmental laws directed to waterway design and operation. This report is a valuable reference for those involved with waterway design and operations and will be of use as an educational text for the academic community.
Book





Invasive Aquatic Plant Control for Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge Reservoirs, Montana: An Adaptive Management Plan
Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge reservoirs are run-of-the river impoundments along the Lower Clark Fork River System in northwestern Montana. The dams that create these water bodies are owned and operated by Avista Utilities. The primary function of these reservoirs is for hydroelectric power generation, with flood control being a secondary purpose. To achieve the prescribed level of electrical output, daily dam operations and water discharge schedules are fairly consistent but are dependent upon daily and/or seasonal demands on the regional power grid. In addition to power generation and flood control, these reservoirs provide an important regional source of outdoor recreational activities, including boating and angling. The shallow water littoral zones have traditionally supported diverse stands of native aquatic plants, which provide considerable fish and wildlife habitat, and other beneficial ecological services. A brief overview of key physical properties of the reservoirs and status of the aquatic plant communities is provided below.
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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.





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.





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.





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.





Research to Support Integrated Management Systems of Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species and Bioinformatics
GRI is coordinating a multidisciplinary, multi-year research and outreach project with the U.S. Geological Survey Invasive Species Program and the National Biological Information Infrastructure to develop research and biological information products on aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, centered in the MidSouth region. We are developing directed, peer-reviewed research and informatics tools to enhance the management of invasive species: aquatic invasive plants, developing an integrated National Early Detection and Rapid Response Web site, research on the renegade biological control agent, cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum), continued support of the Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South (IPAMS), and the development of biological informatics resources in the areas of invasive species and pollinators.





Screening Mississippi River Levees Using Texture-based and Polarimetric-based Features from Synthetic Aperture Radar Data
This article reviews the use of synthetic aperture radar remote sensing data for earthen levee mapping with emphasis on finding the slump slides on the levees. Earthen levees built on the natural levees parallel to the river channel are designed to protect large areas of populated and cultivated land in the Unites States from flooding. One of the signs of potential impending levee failure is the appearance of slump slides. On-site inspection of levees is expensive and time-consuming, therefore, a need to develop efficient techniques based on remote sensing technologies is mandatory to prevent failures under flood loading. Analysis of multi-polarized radar data is one of the viable tools for detecting the problem areas on the levees. In this study, we develop methods to detect anomalies on the levee, such as slump slides and give levee managers new tools to prioritize their tasks. This paper presents results of applying the NASA JPL
Abstract Document





The Use of Early Detection and Rapid Response Protocol for the Control of Waterlettuce
Waterlettuce was identified growing in a small area of an impoundment (Powe Pond) located in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology, and Economic Development Park, Starkville, MS. As a result of this, a study was conducted to eradicate the waterlettuce population in the pond and survey and eradicate any plants that had escaped into the outflow creek using aquatic labeled herbicides.





Weather Research and Forecasting Modeling System
This research includes assimilation of NEXRAD radial winds in a regional mesoscale model and the use of Lagrangian models to estimate the transport and dispersion of gasses/particles over the Southeastern United States. It is our plan to provide daily plume (smoke) forecast information, as well as atmospheric wind and other conditions over the Gulf coast. Therefore, the information can be used to assess how the smoke due to burning oil over the Gulf of Mexico propagates in time.




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