There have been few (if any) studies of phenology of plants and animals within the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GBNERR) or Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge (GBNWR). There is limited information available about the phenology many taxa across the southeastern U.S.
Given changes in climate (e.g., temperature, precipitation, storm intensity, flooding, etc.) across this region, it is important for land managers to examine long-term trends in phenology of selected species of plants and animals to improve our ability to conserve these resources. Further, the stewardship team at GBNERR/GBNWR is working to restore longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna using several approaches including prescribed fire. The GBNERR/NWR phenology trail overlaps with areas where prescribed fire is being applied, so we have a unique opportunity to study the interplay between phenology and fire along the trail.
Overall, what we expect to learn about phenology at Grand Bay will help us better manage and conserve our natural resources in the future, so we are very excited about this opportunity to be a part of the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail.