Grant Will Help AUNE Student Study Dune Plants on Cape Cod

Alexis Doshas, (MS Candidate) will study biological crusts on Cape Cod sand dunes with the help of an $8,000 grant from the Garden Club of America's Ecological Restoration Division.Alexis Doshas, (MS Candidate) will study biological crusts on Cape Cod sand dunes with the help of an $8,000 grant from the Garden Club of America’s Ecological Restoration Division.

Biological crusts consist of communities of bacteria, algae, lichen and other organisms. They’re found worldwide, including in temperate regions such as the Province Lands dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

This summer, Doshas will study the effect of biological crusts on the germination and seedling productivity of two types of dune plants – wavy hairgrass and northern bayberry. The crusts may be helpful to these types of plants, which slow erosion of the sand dunes.

The results of Doshas’ work could help improve management of the unique coastal ecosystem of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Doshas is a student in AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies. Her project is advised by environmental studies faculty member Rachel Thiet, and is one of several ecological projects in Thiet’s long-term research collaboration with Cape Cod National Seashore ecologists and managers.