Research Activities

The LowCountry Institute has developed partnerships with regional universities and state and federal organizations to create an exciting research program to address local issues. Spring Island (office location of LCI) has been used as an outdoor laboratory for a wide variety projects. Other research projects have focused on the greater Port Royal Sound watershed.

To date, LCI has provided $87,000 and the university partners have provided over $350,000 in support for these programs (1999-2008). Much of this research was also supported by a partnership between LCI and the Spring Island Trust, which has almost 20 years of experience of experimenting with the best ways to manage local habitats effectively, especially those that are in close proximity to residential areas.

research: example projects

Citizen Science Osprey Survey




An osprey perched with its catch. Photo by John Fisk.

In summer 2009, the LowCountry Institute partnered with the Sea Island Fly Fishers Club of Beaufort, Parris Island, and the Fripp Island Audubon Society to survey nesting osprey populations in the Port Royal Sound area.

Read more: Citizen Science Osprey Survey

Effect of Radio-Transmitters on Wintering Hermit Thrushes



The role of diet in limiting migratory birds during the non-breeding period is poorly understood in part due to the complexities of quantifying food availability and avian diet. We tracked overwinter changes in arthropod and fruit availability for the short-distance migratory bird, the Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus), in a mixed hardwood-pine forest the southeastern United States.

Read more: Effect of Radio-Transmitters on Wintering Hermit Thrushes

Port Royal Sound and Water Quality


Port Royal Sound is one of the most unique saltwater systems in the United States. As more people discover this ecological treasure, the potential for environmental degradation increases, threatening the landscape that drew people here to begin with. The LowCountry Institute is dedicated to protecting the greater Port Royal Sound watershed by using the best available science to inform citizens and local policy makers.


Read more: Port Royal Sound and Water Quality

Protecting Biodiversity at the Wildland-Urban Interface


The Low Country region continues to face developmental pressure as more people move towards the coast. As habitat fragmentation continues, The LowCountry Institute is interested in conserving biodiversity in residential and urban settings. Often using Spring Island as a laboratory, LCI researchers investigate ways to ensure habitats can support both people and wildlife.

Read more: Protecting Biodiversity at the Wildland-Urban Interface

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