ACER’s primary study site – The Chandeleur Islands

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ACER’s primary study site – The Chandeleur Islands
(Image credit: ACER)

Many of ACER’s field experiments are being conducted around the Chandeleur Islands. These uninhabited barrier islands lie about 60 miles east of New Orleans and 30 miles south of Biloxi, MS helping to protect eastern Louisiana from waves and storms. Landward (west) of the island chain lies Chandeleur Sound and seaward (east) lies the Gulf of Mexico.

The approximately 50 mile long island chain is a mixture of many coastal habitats, including sandy beaches, salt marshes with cordgrass, vegetated low dunes with black mangrove, groundsel bush and wax myrtle, seagrass beds with turtlegrass, widgeongrass and shoalgrass, and unvegetated sandy/muddy bottoms, as well as inland ponds and tidal creeks.

The Chandeleurs are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s 2nd oldest refuge. The refuge was created in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect migratory birds and the large colonies of nesting birds which use the islands, including the brown pelican, piping plover and many species of terns. They are also a renowned fishing spot.

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