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FYRES: Research

FYRES students use total station to map topography of Castle Park dune

Dune Activity and Oriental Bittersweet at Castle Park Dune

Mentored by: Chris Maike and Kyle Whalley
Team: Gideon Berghuis, Luke Cousino, John Elenbaas, James Karsten, Jess Trojanowski

Project Description (from report abstract): The dunes along Lake Michigan are interesting sites for studying the interactions between invasive species and topography. This study explores the relationships between dune characteristics and the invasive species Oriental bittersweet on a 50-meter tall dune in Castle Park Preserve near Holland, Michigan. During the fall of 2011, the researchers investigated dune topography, activity, surface conditions and the locations of invasive species. Erosion pins and sand traps were utilized in the study to identify areas of dune activity, a total station was used to survey dune topography, and Trimble GPS units were used to map Oriental bittersweet. The Castle Park Dune is an active blowout with sand moving over the crest of the dune. More than 279 Oriental bittersweet plants were recorded, with most of them concentrated within 3 main areas on the leeward slope of the dune. The lee slope receives inputs of sand but is currently stabilized by the Oriental bittersweet. Management efforts to remove the Oriental bittersweet are underway, but our analysis of dune activity suggests the dune slope may become unstable without the plants. Dune managers could plant an appropriate native species in the place of the invasive species. Abstract (pdf).

Research Report: Whalley, Kyle, Chris Maike, Gideon Berghuis, Luke Cousino, John Elenbaas, James Karsten, Jessica Trojanowski (2012). “Interactions Between Dune Activity and Oriental Bittersweet on Castle Park Dune, Michigan.” FYRES: Dunes Research Report #3. Grand Rapids (MI): Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Calvin College. 17 p. Report (pdf).

Conference Presentation: Maike, Chris A., Kyle K. Whalley, Gideon E. Berghuis, Luke K. Cousino, John Elenbaas, James W. Karsten, and Jessica A. Trojanowski (2012). “Interactions between topography and Oriental Bittersweet at Castle Park dune, Michigan.” Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Alma College (Alma, MI), 2 March 2012. Abstract (pdf).

Research Information

This project is one of four FYRES research projects in 2011-2012.

FYRES 2011-2012 produced 4 research projects, 5 presentations (3 papers and 2 posters) at the Michigan Academy in March 2012, and 3 research reports.