GCE scientists visit China

Network News Spring 2012, Vol. 25 No. 1

Principal Investigators and students from the Georgia Coastal Ecosystem (GCE) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program visited China for two weeks in August 2011 to explore potential collaborations with well-known wetland research groups in three Chinese cities. Traveling were Dr. Chris Craft, Ellen Herbert, and John Marton from Indiana University, and Drs. Steven Pennings and Hongyu Guo from the University of Houston. They were hosted by leading Chinese scientists, including Drs. Yihui Zhang (Xiamen University), Guanghui Lin (Tsinghua University), Baoshan Cui, Junhong Bai and Xiaowen Li (Beijing Normal University), Xiuzhen Li (East China Normal University) and Bo Li (Fudan University). Chinese graduate students Yanlong He (East China Normal University) and Qiang He (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) also played a major role as local guides.

At each location, the GCE scientists gave scientific and career development lectures, and interacted with Chinese faculty and graduate students about their research projects.

The LTER visitors toured the mangrove forests in the Zhangjiang Estuary near Xiamen, and tidal marshes of the Yellow River delta near Dong Ying (southeast of Beijing) and on Chongming Island (near Shanghai), and gained an appreciation for variation in coastal wetlands across a wide range of the Chinese coast. Of particular interest to the visitors were the stands of exotic Spartina alterniflora (native to the United States) at all three locations, the rapidly growing deltaic wetlands at the mouths of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, the high levels of aquaculture and fishing affecting Chinese estuaries and wetlands, and efforts to restore wetlands in these regions.

The Chinese hosts provided extraordinary hospitality to their U.S. counterparts. The trip was very productive, and researchers from both countries are eager to pursue additional steps to expand the initial contacts into full-fledged research collaborations.

The U.S. visitors thank the National Science Foundation for funding an international travel supplement to the GCE-LTER program, and their Chinese hosts for covering many expenses within China.