Coastal Environment

The Mississippi coast contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the United States.  The coastal region contains many different types of habitats such as pine forest savannas, barrier islands, coastal marshes, coastal flatwoods, and floodplains and terraces.  These habitats provide essential ecological services for the plants and animals that live within them.   Some of the ecological services are storm buffering capacity, nutrient cycling, and habitat for aquatic and terrestrial organisms.  Many species live in these habitats like grasses, sedges, pitcher plants, orchids, bald cypress, live oaks, raccoons, deer, otters, alligators, fish, turtles, and birds. 

As the coastal zone population continues to grow we need to make sure to protect the health of these valuable natural resources.  One way to accomplish this goal is to educate the public about watershed protection.  Watersheds receive water from upstream sources such as tributaries, ditches, parking lots, and all other water sources that drain down gradient after rain events.  More than half of America’s population lives within coastal counties.  The increasing urbanization of our coastal communities leads to the loss of habitats.  Therefore, as a society, we need to make sure that future housing and industrial development is performed in such a way that minimizes environmental impacts to our watersheds.  

The Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center conducts many education and outreach projects to address coastal environmental issues.  These programs and projects are listed below.  For more information please contact Dr. Eric Sparks at or 228-546-1025.

For more information, contact: Dr. Eric Sparks