Assateague Island National Seashore Climate Change

Assateague Island National Seashore Climate Change

Four diverse products designed for different audiences make up this project based on the effects of climate change on Assateague Island.

1. A comprehensive, interactive, web-based education module, Barrier Islands and Sea-level Rise, with curricula for middle school classrooms (teachers and students) about sea-level rise and its effect on Mid-Atlantic barrier islands such as Assateague. The audience is also the general public. Completed May 2012.

2. A printed Site Bulletin handout, Rising to the Challenge, for local officials and local citizens on the effects of climate change observed on the barrier island, and examples of what the Park is doing to adapt and mitigate the effects. The audience is also park visitors and park staff. Completed Dec 2012.

3. A printed Brochure handout, Assateague Island is Changing, for the Assateague Visitor Centers in Maryland and Virginia on the effects of climate change observed on the barrier island, and examples by the Park and for the visitor of adaptation and mitigation of these effects. The audience is both park visitors and park staff. Completed Dec 2012.

4. A collaborative journal article on climate change effects on Assateague Island morphology, habitats, and species. (manuscript Dec 2012)


Key Personnel

Jane Hawkey
Senior Science Communicator
Alexandra Fries
Program Manager
Kate Bentsen
Science Communicator
Heath Kelsey
IAN Director
Marcus Griswold
Water Resources Scientist
Jeff Allenby
Director of Conservation Innovation

Learn More



Climate Change Effects on Assateague Island's Inland Wetlands (GRAPHIC)

Climate Change Effects on Assateague Island's Intertidal Beach (GRAPHIC)

Climate Change Effects on the Dunes of Assateague Island (GRAPHIC)

Climate Change Factors and their Impacts on Assateague Island (GRAPHIC)

Climate Change Impacts on Assateague's Forest Ecosystem (GRAPHIC)

Effects of Climate Change on the Bay Subtidal and Mudflat Ecosystem on Assateague Island (GRAPHIC)

Effects of Climate Change on the Salt Marsh Ecosystem on Assateague Island (GRAPHIC)

The Widespread Effects of Climate Change on Assateague Island (GRAPHIC)


Clipboard (SYMBOL)


Adaptation to Climate Change (GRAPHIC)

Biodiversity for Climate Change (GRAPHIC)

Prepare for climate change (GRAPHIC)

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry) (SYMBOL)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium) (PHOTO)

The popular sport of surf fishing on Assateague Island (PHOTO)

Distichlis spicata (Coastal Salt Grass) (SYMBOL)

Surfer returns to the beach (PHOTO)

Hiker: overnight (SYMBOL)

Myrica cerifera (wax myrtle) (SYMBOL)


Saltwater Intrusion on Barrier Islands (GRAPHIC)

Relative Sea-level Rise (GRAPHIC)

Assateague Island and Natural Resources, USA (GRAPHIC)

Experiment for Thermal Expansion (GRAPHIC)

Sea-level Rise and Storm Surges on Barrier Islands (GRAPHIC)

USA: Barrier Islands on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (PHOTO)

Experiment Demonstrating Melting Ice (GRAPHIC)

Elevation and Living Shoreline (GRAPHIC)

Atmosphere Warming Changes (GRAPHIC)

Typha x glauca (White Cattail) (SYMBOL)

Monitoring Activities to Track Changing Habitats on Barrier Island (GRAPHIC)

Monitoring: beach topography (SYMBOL)

Monitoring: biologist bird-watcher (SYMBOL)

Monitoring: deer population count (SYMBOL)

Monitoring: salt marsh nekton survey (SYMBOL)

Monitoring: surface elevation table (SYMBOL)

Ardea Herodias (Great Blue Heron) (SYMBOL)

Amaranthus pumilus (seabeach amaranth) (PHOTO)

Amaranthus pumilus (seabeach amaranth) (PHOTO)

Cages protect seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) from grazing (PHOTO)

Crab Hole (PHOTO)

Dune Grass (PHOTO)

Dune Overwash (PHOTO)

Dune Overwash (PHOTO)

Freshwater forest (PHOTO)

Freshwater forest (PHOTO)

Ocean overwash area (PHOTO)

Plant Cage (PHOTO)

Plant Cage (PHOTO)

Sand dunes encroach upon forest and shrub zone (PHOTO)

Seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) under protective cage (PHOTO)

Skate egg case (PHOTO)

Vehicle tracks (PHOTO)

Fish school-2 (SYMBOL)

Fish school-3 (SYMBOL)

Ammophila breviligulata (American Beachgrass) (SYMBOL)

Hudsonia tomentosa (Beach Heath) (SYMBOL)

Cicindela dorsalis media (Eastern Beach Tiger Beetle) (SYMBOL)

Agrostis spp. (Tickle Grass) (SYMBOL)

Polychaete with white bristles (SYMBOL)


Kayaking: recreational (SYMBOL)

Concrete bollard (SYMBOL)

Vehicle: SUV (SYMBOL)

Sunbathing (SYMBOL)

Surf Fishing (SYMBOL)

Amaranthus pumilus (Seabeach Amaranth) (SYMBOL)

Civil Engineering: mosquito ditches (SYMBOL)

Maize/corn crop (SYMBOL)

Maize/corn stalk (SYMBOL)

Climate change: above average temperatures (SYMBOL)


Larus spp. (Seagull) (SYMBOL)

Cervus nippon (Sika Deer) : buck (SYMBOL)

Cervus nippon (Sika Deer) : doe (SYMBOL)


Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : eggs (SYMBOL)

Fish school-1 (SYMBOL)

Waterman (SYMBOL)

Ruppia megacarpa 1 (SYMBOL)

Ruppia megacarpa 2 (SYMBOL)

Paralichthys dentatus (Summer Flounder) : juvenile (SYMBOL)

Paralichthys dentatus (Summer Flounder) : larva (SYMBOL)

Hunter (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : female ventral view (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : male ventral view (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : ventral view adolescent female (SYMBOL)


Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak) with roots (SYMBOL)

Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) : buck (SYMBOL)

Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) : doe (SYMBOL)

Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) : fawn (SYMBOL)

Charadrius melodus (Piping Plover) 1 (SYMBOL)


Equus ferus caballus (Horse) : feces (SYMBOL)


Equus ferus caballus (Horse) 1 (SYMBOL)

Pinus virginiana (Virginia Pine) (SYMBOL)


Equus ferus caballus (Horse) 2 (SYMBOL)

Blue crab management (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : first crab (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : male dorsal view (SYMBOL)


Cynoscion regalis (Weakfish) (SYMBOL)

Charadrius melodus (Piping Plover) 2 (SYMBOL)

Crab boat (SYMBOL)

Limulus polyphemus (Horseshoe Crab) (SYMBOL)

Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine) (SYMBOL)


Paralichthys dentatus (Summer Flounder) (SYMBOL)

Quercus alba (White Oak) (SYMBOL)

Quercus alba (White Oak) leaves (SYMBOL)

Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak) (SYMBOL)

Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak) leaves (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : adult 1 (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : coupling (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : egg-bearing female (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : juvenile (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : megalopa 1 (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : megalopa 2 (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : zoea 1 (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : zoea 2 (SYMBOL)

Equus ferus caballus (Pony) 1 (SYMBOL)

Equus ferus caballus (Pony) 2 (SYMBOL)

Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle) (SYMBOL)

Morone americana (White Perch) (SYMBOL)

Spartina spp. (Salt Marsh Grass) (SYMBOL)


Rynchops niger (Black Skimmer) (SYMBOL)

Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) : adult 2 (SYMBOL)

Brevoortia tyrannus (Atlantic Menhaden) (SYMBOL)

Brevoortia tyrannus (Atlantic Menhaden) : juvenile (SYMBOL)

Anchoa mitchilli (Bay Anchovy) (SYMBOL)

Anchoa mitchilli (Bay Anchovy) : juvenile (SYMBOL)

Phragmites australis (Common Reed) (SYMBOL)

Phragmites australis (Common Reed) singular (SYMBOL)

Polychaete 1 (SYMBOL)

Polychaete 2 (SYMBOL)

Atmospheric nitrogen (SYMBOL)

Bank erosion (SYMBOL)

Concentration: high nitrogen and phosphorus (SYMBOL)

Inputs: nutrients 1 (SYMBOL)

Ruppia megacarpa with flowers (SYMBOL)


Chicken house (SYMBOL)


Ruppia megacarpa flower (SYMBOL)

Ruppia seed bank (SYMBOL)

Tractor 3 (SYMBOL)