Satellites, marshes are topics at lecture


Kyle Runion

Kyle Runion

Using satellites to understand s a lt marsh resilience and sustainability will be the topic on Thursday, Feb. 29, at the last lecture in the series hosted by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI.)

The lecture will be held at the Patton Center for Marine Science Education. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the lecture will begin at 7 p.m.

Kyle Runion, a graduate student fellow at UTMSI, will present his research findings in his talk titled, “Satellite-based Tools Detail Salt Marsh Resilience.”

“As a salt-marsh ecologist, my passion lies in understanding and preserving coastal ecosystems,” he said. “I am particularly intrigued by the intersection of my field with data science and environmental management, aiming to enhance coastal resilience.”

Runion said that by leveraging satellite-based tools, he seeks to merge traditional ecological knowledge with cutting-edge technology to monitor and analyze salt marsh dynamics. This interdisciplinary approach enables him to assess the impact of environmental changes on coastal ecosystems more comprehensively.

Salt marshes grow extensive root structures, and this below ground biomass is a key indicator of resilience to sea level rise.

“Here, I will share tools we have developed to estimate below-ground biomass across the landscape over the past decade, using satellite-based machine learning algorithms,” he said. “With these tools, we have revealed salt marsh vulnerability along the Georgia coast, and preliminary findings while building these tools in the Texas Coastal Bend show peculiar traits about our local ecosystems.”

UTMSI presents a free, eight-lecture series about the coastal environment and marine life each winter.

For more information and disability accommodations, call Adriana Reza at (361) 749-3152.

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