The Ecology and Sociology of the Mission-Aransas Estuary : An Estuarine and Watershed Profile




Evans, Anne
Madden, Kiersten
Palmer, Sally

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The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is one of 28 national estuarine reserves created to promote the responsible use and management of the nation's estuaries through a program combining scientific research, education, and stewardship. The purpose of this document is to provide researchers and resource managers with an adequate basis of knowledge to further development of scientific studies and applied management investigations. This document describes the different physical ecosystem components, ecological processes, habitats, and watersheds of the Reserve.

The Mission-Aransas NERR is a complex of wetland, terrestrial, and marine environments. The land is primarily coastal prairie with unique oak motte habitats. The wetlands include riparian habitat, and freshwater and salt water marshes. Within the water areas, the bays are large, open, and include extensive wind tidal flats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, and oyster reefs. This site profile describes each habitat by their location, type, distribution, abundance, current status and trends, issues of concerns, and future research plans.

Research within the Mission-Aransas NERR seeks to improve the understanding of the Texas coastal zone ecosystems structure and function. Current research includes: nutrient loading and transformation, estimates of community metabolism, water quality monitoring, freshwater inflow, climate change and fishery habitat. Harmful algal blooms, zooplankton, coliform bacteria, submerged aquatic vegetation, and marsh grass are monitored through the System- Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). This document also describes the climate, hydrography and oceanography, geology, water quality, and endangered species within the Mission-Aransas



watershed profile

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