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Home » ULM student awarded grant to study climate change and chenier forests

ULM student awarded grant to study climate change and chenier forests

ULM student awarded grant to study climate change and chenier forests

University of Louisiana Monroe biology major Nautica Jones loves Louisiana’s semi-tropical climate and its variety of ecosystems, from the marshes at the Gulf of Mexico to the pine-covered hills in the northern region of the state.

Jones’ interrelated interests in climate change and nature led her to write a research grant proposal to study one of Louisiana’s threatened terrains, the chenier forests.

Cheniers (French, chene meaning oak, [pronounced: shin’-yay]) are coastal live-oak forest communities that were historically expansive. These unique forested ecosystems are now reduced to remnant patches.

Jones’ “Reassessment of vegetation diversity in a relic Louisiana Chenier” was accepted by the Garden Club of America and funded with a $3,000 grant.

Working with her research mentor, ULM Assistant Professor of Biology Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Jones is investigating the effects of climate change and invasive species on the remaining chenier forests of southern Louisiana.

Jones’ interest in the impact of climate change on plant communities came after witnessing the disproportionate effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in minority areas – before and after the devastating storms.

“Plant communities are our greatest allies in the climate crisis,” said Jones. “However, access to green spaces and the resources necessary for their management are not equitably distributed, forming a barrier to the equitable adaptation of all humans to climate change.”

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