Texas Onegulf Restore Center Of Excellence: Hurricane Harvey Decision-Support-Resilient Environments And Communities
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Texas Onegulf Restore Center Of Excellence: Hurricane Harvey Decision-Support-Resilient Environments And Communities

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    With winds in excess of 130 mph, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport and Fulton as a Category 4 storm on August 25, 2017. In the initial impact and torrential rain of the ensuing days, Harvey caused widespread destruction along the Texas coast, resulting in 103 confirmed U.S. deaths and an estimated $125 billion in damages – the second costliest hurricane ever, following Katrina. It will take us years, if not decades, to recover. Out of the disaster, however, emerges an opportunity to build back stronger, more resilient communities along the coast – communities that can better withstand the impacts of future events, and that are positioned to make a ‘developmental leap’ by mitigating risk while aligning economic development with recovery efforts. This project, Hurricane Harvey Decision-​Support -Resilient Environments and Communities, set out to examine recovery and resilience from this holistic perspective by forming and integrating experts, researchers and stakeholders across disciplinary fields and recovery aspects including ecosystems, urban areas, communities, organizations, society, and policy and law. The initial goal of the project was to provide a framework for recovery that outlines strategic recommendations​to improve resilience to future events by identifying gaps across and between recovery aspects, and then providing integrated recommendations to researchers and decision-makers to improve response, recovery, mitigation and data collection in subsequent events. To do so, interdisciplina​ry researchers would be to required to assess social, policy, legal and environmental impacts, linkages across them, and then use an enhanced, holistic understanding of impacts to evaluate the vulnerability and resilience of the Texas coast. Environm​ental Waterbody Impacts: The goal of the performed study was to compare the established baseline of the diversity and species composition in microbial communities across Galveston and Trinity Bays before August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas shores and asses the microbial recovery over the next 2 years. In order to achieve this goal, the collaborative team between UTMB and TAMUG performed regular sample collection and DNA sequencing of bay water samples. The genomic characterizatio​n of newly collected samples and comparison against previously collected baseline data represents a viable mechanism of assessment of the remediation efforts to predict long term environmental changes in the Gulf attributed to climate and Hurricane recovery efficacy. The project team was able to not only generate a novel set of samples that allows studying specific changes in microbial communities at the collection points but also build up and strengthen the analytical power of previously generated data. In addition to the analytical component, during the progress of the project resulted in the development of new high dimensional microbial network interaction technique. Raw sequencing data consisting of a total of 402 samples were uploaded to The National Center for Biotechnology Information Sequencing Read Archive (accession number: PRJNA545502). The methods manuscript is currently in the accepting stages of the BMC Microbiome journal, and the public version is available in the BioRxiv: Golovko G, Khanipov K, Albayrak L, Fofanov Y. Identification of Complex Multidimensiona​l Patterns in Microbial Communities. bioRxiv. 2019 Jan 1:540815. The developed approach will allow establishing a functional relationship between microbes using a pattern detection approach without assuming any model of the organismal dependency. While it has some biological limitations, it will allow the study of the unknown microbial community that has yet to be found and sequenced in the complex environmental samples. This approach will be applied to the data generated through the samples collected within the 4 year period, and results will be reported in the upcoming manuscript. Role of Coastal Bend Organizational Stakeholders in Resilience & Resilience: An in-depth survey of Texas Coastal Bend Regional Stakeholders was conducted to identify their views on problem sources, risk perceptions, planning goals, policy evaluations, resource allocations, and patterns of interaction across groups related to recent environmental stressors like Harvey.
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