IN THIS SECTION
As the Hudson’s habitats change, scientists have prioritized exploring the presence, abundance, and behavior of fauna and flora through innovative methods, including eDNA and citizen science. They also want to study faunal assemblages and behavior to understand the impacts of changing habitats on different life stages. Back to top.
Non-native plants, fish, and invertebrates are altering the biodiversity and ecological functions of Hudson River habitats, leading to the loss of native species, ecological shifts, and changes in recreational use of the Estuary. Introduction of new non-natives continues, and where these are invasive, they compound the problems.
The Hudson River Research Reserve works with partners to facilitate fish and invertebrate research across a range of habitats and advance innovative methods for species identification.
- The American Shad Assemblage Study at our Stockport Flats site identified the area as key nursery habitat for shad and an important refuge for other fish and vegetation during large storms like Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
- At our Iona Island and Piermont Marsh sites, fish ecology studies have explored patterns of nekton habitat utilization in Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia marshes, developed new distribution records for the spotfin killifish, and compared invertebrate communities between marsh types.
Learn more about flora and fauna-related research focus areas (RFAs) and related resources in the RFA library.
Restoration & Stewardship
To support natural resource protection in these changing conditions, scientists want to explore the effects of accretion, erosion, and sea level rise on marsh resilience; test innovative approaches to wetland restoration; study species interactions in restoration sites; and model edge stabilization to further adaptive management. Back to top.
Sea levels have been rising at a rate of 2.87 mm per year at New York Harbor’s Battery tide station, and spatial models project the Hudson’s wetlands to change significantly over the next century. More powerful storms, heavier rainfall, and larger storm surge will flood coastal communities, compact marsh surfaces, and shift sediment flows and deposits in wetlands.
Research & Training
Our research, training, and monitoring programs collaborate to support habitat restoration and stewardship throughout the Hudson River Valley.
- The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project provides science-based recommendations, case studies, and data for shore zone management that enhances natural benefits while meeting protection needs.
- The 2016 Climate Change Resilience Webinar synthesized information about Hudson River tidal wetland migration pathways and Hudson Valley conservation strategies.
- The Piermont Marsh Storm Protection Study (2016–2020) explored how marshes protect the Village from storm-driven flood and waves.
- The Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Restoration Workshop faciliated knowledge sharing on the feasibility of restoring Vallisneria americana after a historic loss during 2011 storms.
Search restoration and stewardship related focus areas (RFA) and related resources in the RFA library.
The region’s scientists want to map the composition and distribution of submerged aquatic vegetation, tidal marshes, shallows, shorelines, and benthic communities; develop protocols to measure changes in cover, elevation, and plant productivity; and assess the ecological functions of Hudson River habitats, including their potential for blue carbon sequestration. Back to top.
Multiple consequences of climate change are predicted to impact the Hudson River’s globally unique freshwater tidal habitats. Where wetland elevations fail to keep pace with rising waters, these habitats will migrate or disappear. However, if properly managed, they could continue to provide significant benefits, including storm protection, water quality improvement, and carbon sequestration.
Mapping & Monitoring
Our monitoring program tracks habitats as they respond to changes in sea levels, sediment dynamics, and nutrient loads. This high quality baseline data provides a platform for us to collaborate with partners on research that meets the needs of natural resource managers.
- Collaborative mapping efforts have helped characterize critical changes in the region. Multiple habitat mapping projects are ongoing, characterizing shallow and benthic habitats, submerged aquatic vegetation, and tidal wetlands.
- Monitoring at our Tivoli Bays site evaluates the ecological impacts of sea level changes and increased storm surge on submerged aquatic vegetation and emergent tidal marsh habitats.
Search habitat research focus areas (RFA) and related resourcs in the RFA library.
Research Focus Area (RFA) Library
This library identifies resources, partners and current or past research projects supported by the Hudson River Reserve for each of the research focus areas identified at the 2020 Research at the Reserve Forum. That event brought more 80 scientists together to identify research gaps and opportunities to explore over the next five years. Back to top.
|RFA||Theme||Projects & Researchers||Resources||Partners||Keywords|
|Detect invasive species using eDNA||Species||Watts, NERRS eDNA; Miranda et al. 2015 American Eels eDNA Bronx River||Fisheries Data||HR Fisheries, DEC Forest, SUNY ESF||Invasive Species|
|Baseline fish biomass assessment in different river components||Species||Fisheries monitoring||Fisheries Data, Benthic Maps, HRNERR River Bottom Mapping Data||HREP, HR Fisheries - NYDEC||Fish|
|Migration & feeding behavior of Black drum (Pogonias cromis) & Freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)||Species||Fisheries monitoring||Fisheries Data||HREP, HR Fisheries||Fish, Mollusks|
|Larval fish abundance & condition||Species||Utilities fish survey, Yong Chen SUNY Stony Brook; Chris Nack Assemblages||SWMP water quality data||DEC Fisheries, Cornell, Hudson River Foundation, SUNY ESF, Greenway||Fish|
|Use of artificial reefs by fishes, crabs, & other nekton||Restoration||DeGasperis, Piermont Oyster||Piermont Oyster reef data||HR Fisheries, DEC Marine artificial Reef program||Fish, Mollusks|
|Re-survey spotfin killifish in remnant Piermont Marsh Spartina patens||Species||Yozzo & Ottman 2003 Spotfin Killfish distribution||Piermont Marsh Tidal Wetland maps||HR Fisheries, Cornell IRIS||Fish, Piermont|
|Fish assemblages to assess habitats, restoration, & Phragmites impacts||Species||Gays Point restoration, DeGasperis; Nack et al. 2015||Fisheries data, Habitat Mapping and Resilience, Tidal Wetland and SAV maps||HREP, HR Fisheries, Cornell IRIS||Fish|
|Expand eel monitoring & related student research||Species||Eel Project monitoring||Eel Project Data, Eel Project Presentation||HREP, Marist||Fish, Monitoring, American eel|
|Citizen science to identify fish using photography||Species||Fisheries Herring Monitoring||Fisheries Herring data||HR Fisheries||Fish, Methods, Citizen science|
|Study migratory behavior of Tessellated darter||Species||Duryea & Schmidt 1986, Feeding Biology at Tivoli Bay||Fisheries data; NERR fish monitoring||HR Fisheries||Fish, Tessellated darter|
|Essential access in tributaries for white sucker & Smallmouth bass||Species||Eel Project monitoring||Eel Project Data, Eel Project Presentation||HREP||Fish, White sucker, Smallmouth bass|
|Significance of species tributary spawning to total spawning||Species||Eel Project monitoring; Fisheries Herring Monitoring||Eel Project Data, Fisheries Herring data; Eel Project Presentation||HREP, HR Fisheries||Fish, Tributaries|
|Significance of Vallisneria returning; productivity & fecundity of different genotypes||Species||Perkins & Neel 2019; Carew & Englehardt 2018||Habitat Maps||HREP, Cornell IRIS, HRF||Vegetation, Restoration|
|SAV habitat model for future restoration efforts at multiple sites||Habitat||Gays Point restoration, DeGasperis||SAV maps, Habitat Mapping and Resilience, Habitat Mapping||HREP, Cornell IRIS, HRF||SAV, Modeling, Side channel restoration|
|Analyze SAV maps & data for differences between east & west side of river||Habitat||Carroll 2020||SAV maps||HREP, Cornell IRIS||SAV|
|Apply Sean Carroll methodology on SAV maps from 2018 data||Habitat||Carroll 2020||SAV maps, SAV hurricane recovery analysis||HREP, Cornell IRIS||SAV, Modeling|
|Conduct long-term biological monitoring for juvenile fish in SAV||Species||Fisheries monitoring||Fisheries Data; SAV maps||HR Fisheries, Cornell IRIS||SAV, Monitoring, Fish|
|Impacts of increasing upland, watershed, & shoreline erosion on sediment dynamics & tidal wetlands||Habitat||DaSH project||DaSH data, SET data, LDEO sediment cores||HREP, UMass, Cary, LDEO||Sediment, Climate Change|
|Link land use & lake data for past drought indications||Habitat||TBD||Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper||HREP||Sediment, Climate Change|
|Sediment data to see if precipitation increase is observable||Habitat||Pederson et al. 2005||Meteorological data from NERRS and Cary, UMass, LDEO and Cary Sediment cores||UMass, Cary, LDEO||Sediment, Climate Change|
|Studies on sediment flux & deposition for SAV understanding||Habitat||DaSH team; McKeon; Chang||SAV maps, SAV Volunteer Monitoring data, SSAM-1 SAV Monitoring data, TTS from SWMP data||HREP, Cornell IRIS, Greenway||Sediment, SAV, Modeling, Climate Change|
|Final resting for sediment from Hurricane Irene & Tropical Storm Lee||Habitat||Wall & Hoffman 2012; Ralston et al. 2013||Benthic Maps; NERR/HRECOS turbidity data, River Bottom Mapping||HREP, USGS, Woods Hole||SAV, Modeling|
|Sediment core data analysis gap in quality versus quantity||Habitat||DaSH project||LDEO sediment cores||UMass, Cary, LDEO||Sediment|
|Effect of deglaciation (isostatic rebound) on wetlands||Habitat||Peteet et al. 2007; Peteet 2011||LDEO sediment cores||LDEO||Accretion|
|Accretion rates through time via marsh core & accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) macrofossil dating||Habitat||Peteet et al. 2007; Peteet 2011; Chou and Peteet 2009; Sritairat et al. 2012||LDEO sediment cores||LDEO||Accretion|
|Assisted accretion, dredge material thin-layer deposition||Restoration||Fernald 2020 NSC Project||SET data||NYNJHEP||Accretion|
|Marsh resilience strategies: conserving locations for planned marsh migration||Restoration||Tabak et al. 2016; Scenic Hudson land protection||Scenic Hudson SLAMM||Scenic Hudson||Accretion, Marsh Migration, Sea Level Rise, Climate Change|
|Marsh resilience strategies: enhanced nitrogen removal||Habitat||TBD||TBD||HREP||Ecosystem Functions and Services, Water Quality, Climate Change|
|Accretion rate differences in short term SET data vs long-term cores (ecomposition & compaction)||Habitat||DaSH Project; Ralston et al. 2021||NERR SET data; LDEO sediment cores||UMass, LDEO, Cary||Sediment, Accretion, Sea Level Rise|
|Determine if marshes keep up with sea level & subsidence rates||Habitat||Orton, Storm Surge Barriers||NERR SET data; LDEO sediment cores||Stevens Institute, UMass, LDEO, Cary||Modeling, Marsh Migration, Sea Level Rise|
|Proposed gate storm surge barriers impacts, different closure durations, storm events, & sea level rise||Habitat||Orton, Storm Surge Barriers||Stevens Hydrologic model||Stevens Institute, US Army Corps of Engineers||Modeling|
|Functional importance of southern wetlands in northern river||Habitat||TBD||Tidal Wetland Maps||Cary, Hudsonia, Cornell IRIS||Ecosystem Functions and Services|
|Effect of increasing nitrogen on carbon lability & decomposition in marshes||Habitat||Timothy Morin, SUNY ESF; Peteet et al. 2020||LDEO Sediment cores, USCA Blue Carbon project||UMass, LDEO, Cary, SUNY ESF||Ecosystem Functions and Services, Water Quality|
|Best models for edge stabilization at Piermont. Examples from Jamaica Bay, ACE Basin, etc.||Restoration||Piermont edge stabilization project||Tidal Wetland Maps||Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica BAy||Erosion, Piermont|
|Edge erosion causes at Piermont. Examples from Jamaica Bay & Long Island||Habitat||Piermont edge stabilization project||Tidal Wetland Maps||Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica BAy||Erosion, Piermont, Water Quality|
|Habitat impact of permanently placed protection or stabilization structures||Habitat||Piermont edge stabilization project||Tidal Wetland Maps, Habitat Mapping and Resilience||HREP||Erosion, Piermont, Monitoring|
|Marsh-human interface, adjacent infrastructure relationships, & marsh value to humans||Habitat||Sheng, Marsh Value; Tabak et al. 2016||SLAMM, habitat and shoreline maps, SSAM-1 SAV Monitoring data, Sheng economic tool, Habitat Mapping and Resilience||HREP, Scenic Hudson, NSC, Greenway||Marsh Migration, Ecosystem Functions and Services, Restoration, Climate Change|
|Resuspension or release of heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn) & legacy contaminants in marsh sediments||Habitat||Peller and Bopp 1985; Benoit et al 1999||LDEO sediment cores||HREP, UMass, LDEO, Cary||Contaminants|
|Historical maps & imagery for marsh changes||Habitat||Miller et al. 2006||Tidal Wetland and SAV maps, Benthic Maps, River Bottom Mapping||HREP, Cornell IRIS||Marsh Migration, Sediment|
|Effect of land use overtime on sediment supply in wetlands||Habitat||Miller et al. 2006||Land use maps, Miller historic maps, Sentinal Site data||HREP||Marsh Migration, Sediment|
|Early accretion rates in Tivoli Bays when wetlands formed in 1850s||Habitat||DaSH project; Kelly McKeon NSF graduate fellowship project||Land use maps, Miller historic maps, UMass, LDEO, Cary sediment cores, sentinal site data||HREP, UMass, LDEO, Cary||Accretion, Tivoli|
|Impact on rare plants (Spartina & Lilaeopsis) by the encroachment of Phragmites in Piermont Marsh||Species||DeGasperis, Piermont Oyster||Tidal Wetland maps; Piermont vegetation data (DeGasperis)||Cornell IRIS||Vegetation, Invasive Species, Monitoring|
|Cause & mitigation options for grazing damage: deer, geese, crabs, other at Piermont Marsh||Habitat||NSC Wildlife camera proposal (Raposa) - TBD||Tidal Wetland maps; Piermont vegetation data (DeGasperis)||Cornell IRIS||Piermont|
|Management options to mitigate stresses on wetlands||Restoration||Sheng Piermont Marsh project||Piermont Marsh storm Protection||NYSERDA||Water Quality|
|Spatial variation of vegetation & nutrient levels impacting ecological communities||Habitat||Osborne et al., 2015||NERR nutrient data, Tidal Wetland maps||Cary, Cornell IRIS||Water Quality|
|Effects of nitrogen pollution & denitrification on marshes through time; N & N15 curves & core profiles||Habitat||Nguyen & Peteet 2010 Stable Isotope Analysis||LDEO sediment cores||UMass, LDEO, Cary||Water Quality, Contaminants|
|Full range of habitats & change, if interchange is redundant or unique, biogeochemistry relationship||Habitat||Tabak et al. 2016||SLAMM model, Tidal Wetland Maps, Habitat Mapping and Resilience||Scenic Hudson, Cornell IRIS||Modeling, Monitoring|
|Causes & impacts of interior ponding at Piermont Marsh||Habitat||HRNERR Sentinel Sites Monitoring||NERR SET data, Tidal Wetland maps||Cornell IRIS||Piermont|
|Long term vegetation community monitoring to evaluate biodiversity & change||Habitat||HRNERR Sentinel Sites Monitoring||NERR sentinel sites, Tidal Wetland maps||Cornell IRIS||Marsh Migration, Monitoring|
|Collaborate to map aquatic invasive species distribution||Restoration||Wei Fang, Pace University||NERR sentinel sites, Tidal Wetland maps||Lower-Hudson PRISM, mid-Hudson PRISM, NYSDEC Invasive SPecies Unit||Invasive Species|
|Round goby monitoring with new tools, techniques||Species||Watts NERRS eDNA||Fisheries monitoring||HR Fisheries||Invasive Species, Fish, Monitoring|
|Spiny water flea impact on alewives||Species||HR Fisheries Monitoring||Fisheries monitoring||HR Fisheries||Invasive Species, Fish|
|Aquatic fauna invasive species monitoring||Species||Wei Fang NSC Trapa proposal||NERR sentinel sites, Tidal Wetland maps||Lower-hudson PRISM, NYSDEC Invasive SPecies Unit||Fish, Invasive Species, Monitoring|
|Freshwater mussels survey||Species||Dave Strayer 1999||HREP, Cary||Mollusks|
|Upstream tributary land use & land cover impacts on flooding, stormwater runoff, & nutrient or sediment loading||Habitat||TBD||Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper||HREP||Sediment, Water Quality|
|Nitrogen sources & mitigation solutions||Habitat||TBD||NERR nutrient data||Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance||Water Quality, Piermont|
|Tide changes with Turkey Point tide gauge station||Restoration||Sentinel Sites Monitoring||Turkey Point water level station||NOAA||Water Level, Sea Level Rise, Climate Change|